Annoying noise that started after I dropped my laptop

by on January 9, 2009

Q: I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop that I dropped from about 3 feet onto the carpet. The laptop boots up fine and everything works, but I hear a constant high pitched noise. What could be causing this noise and what can I do about it?

A: I’m sorry to learn that you dropped your laptop. Although the high pitched noise that you are hearing could be coming from almost any device inside your laptop, I feel that it makes the most sense to focus on your laptop’s moving parts as well as all parts of your laptop that are related to sound.

The source of your high pitched noise might be a broken built-in microphone and/or broken built-in speakers. I recommend that you use the control panel in Windows to mute all of your laptop’s microphones and speakers. If the high pitched noise continues even after you have muted microphones and speakers, you should concentrate on your laptop’s moving parts. Moving parts which are common inside today’s laptops include: hard drives (where files are stored on your computer), fans (used to keep your computer from overheating), and optical drives (where CDs and DVDs go). Since you say that your laptop is working correctly except for the noise, my educated guess is that your hard drive is undamaged. The parts in your laptop’s optical drive should be moving only when there is a disc inside.

It seems to me that the most probable causes of your laptop’s high pitched noise are fan related. There might be a broken fan in your laptop. It is also possible that some other part of your computer has shifted position, and is now obstructing one of your laptop’s fans. In my opinion, repairing fan related damage in laptops is a task best left to computer repair professionals.

Tip: You may have purchased some sort of product protection plan with your laptop, which could allow you to get your laptop repaired for free — even after your computer’s normal warranty has expired.

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