Why Do USB Ports Make Noise? (4 Reasons and How to Fix)
Everyone is familiar with using a USB Port to plug in various devices for different functions. It’s one of those innate activities that you just do and forget about it.
Things, however, could get spooky when random noises just start from the USB port and are now a source of worry.
While the noise directly from the port may not be enough, the notification sounds are another headache since it becomes almost impossible to ignore the noises.
There are many causes of noise from your USB ports. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Coil whine
- Dirty USB power
- Damaged USB port
- Incompatible USB cable with the port
Let’s go over the causes of why your USB port may be making that disturbing sound and tips on fixing them.
1. Coil Whine
The technical definition for this problem is the disturbing noise made from the emission of an electronic component as power runs through a cable attached to it. Your USB cord is not the only culprit, but other electrical cables are implicated.
However, because your USB cord is credited into the USB port, the high-powered components in a PC like the power supply and graphics card can make vibrations more audible.
It becomes worse for anyone with high sensitivity to high-frequency sounds.
Asides from the vibrating noise it makes, there’s nothing else to worry about a coil whine in your PC. It’s just the result of the electrical current being passed through the USB port to the graphics card, generating a disturbing sound.
You should be worried if the sound is no longer a buzzing sound but more of a high-pitched whistling sound whenever you plug in your USB cord into the port.
How to fix: this is a hardware issue and can’t be solved with a mere software or driver update. It’s physical contact with your graphics card. Here are some tips to working it out:
- Dampen the noise by changing the case entirely. There are different cases in the market with higher dampening material, like a higher-density fabric or foam. This process is time-consuming but can be easier if you already know how to change the graphics card.
- Take the PC to a hardware store for a replacement of the graphics card. However, be careful to ensure that it is only the card and not the power supply.
2. Dirty USB Power
An electronic device comprises thousands, if not millions of circuits, carrying electricity in different ways. Such current migrates through the walls and eventually links with the power lead of the USB port of most electronics with sensitive sounds.
The circuits in computers, hard drives, sound devices, and others all generate noises. As electrical current travels, so also the flow of electricity.
When high, the power flow will deliver large noises to the USB port and generate a significant noise that may be manageable initially but will become terrible to the ears in the long run.
How to fix: it is essential to regulate the amount of power through the USB ports. Although they work on electricity, many may lose their effectiveness because of the high power voltage.
You can get a power regulator or plug your electrical devices into an output that regulates the flow of electricity. The more regular the flow of electricity, the better the USB port will control the power level and reduce the noise.
3. Damaged USB Port
As with all electrical compartments, USB ports have a shelf life.
Their inner parts may fall apart and develop minor faults with continuous use.
Since USB ports are designed initially to transport power between the external device and the internal power supply, you may begin to hear little noises or just a scratching sound.
At this point in PCs, the disturbing notification of an incompatible USB cord has been attached. You probably wonder how it started, but the continuous usage will wear out the inner parts.
The noise becomes more intense as the port loses its efficiency in managing power supply and carriage.
How to fix: the only option is to replace the USB port. An experienced hardware engineer can replace the faulty port with a better one.
NB: If you’re trying to change the port on your PC, you should consider contacting customer support of the computer model.
Most USB ports are directly connected to the motherboard, and any mistake and the motherboard will be damaged.
4. Incompatible USB Cord with the USB port
A USB cord can be only a culprit in the incessant noise your USB port makes at times.
Lots of modern USB cables run the power supply alongside the data lines. Often, these lines are not supposed to collide with each other, and when they do, they cause signal issues.
Other designs show the USB cables are not supposed to generate power to be passed through the external metal casing.
If the current leaks through the casing to the linings of the USB port, there could be a reaction involving vibrations.
The reactions are a primary reason for the incompatibility, a significant case of ground loops.
How to fix: replace the cable with a different one. As there are different cables of varying quality, you should test different USB cables till you get the one that offers you better data transfer and manages the current supply.
Other Fixes for USB Port Noise
Some of the fixes listed above could be technical and require the assistance of a certified hardware engineer. Here are some fixes you can try out yourself:
- Using the device manager. If the noise is from the USB port on your PC, navigate to the device manager by clicking the start icon and typing “device manager” in the search button.
The next tab that shows lists all the USB devices and ports. Navigate to the faulty port and right-click.
You can either update or uninstall the device. Now restart the PC so it can reinstall itself.
- You can also turn off the USB notification sounds by right-clicking the speaker icon in your notification menu.
Click on sounds, navigate to the program events and click on device connect. When it shows, scroll through the drop-down menu, select the “Windows Hardware Insert,” and choose ‘None.’
This should silence the noisy USB notification.
USB ports are fast becoming a part of most electrical devices and gadgets.
It is a fast way of transferring data or powering your devices. However, long-term usage can lead to faults, including the generation of unwanted noises that could distract you.
These noises may not bother you but could soon become a source of worry.
This article describes some of the common causes of USB port noises and sounds and how you can stop them.
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