How to fix intermittent buzzing in Dell Inspiron 1525?

My daughter dropped her Inspiron 1525 running Vista and had to replace the hard drive and reload all drivers and software. We've got it back to where everything works except for an audio glitch. It's not a static sound, and it's not consistent. It will be normal for a few seconds, and then for a few seconds will be an irritating buzzing sound.

Here's what we know for certain:
•      The sound is an intermittent hum or feedback buzz.
•      It exists whether the audio is from a headset or from the speakers.
•      The problem did not exist before the new hard drive installation, but exists now.
*       We have used the latest recommended drivers from the dell.com site.
•      Others with Inspirons have the same problem.
•      Some have fixed the situation by strategically inserting a piece of tape.
•      Even after removing a lot of screws, she is unable to remove the back of your PC or get to any relevant hardware.

QUESTION: Can this still be a driver issues, or is it most likely electrical feedback? For reference, here are the related known fix procedures she has been unable to replicate.

Reference (from other sites):
I just solved my headphone jack static problem using this method. I unscrewed the three screws on the bottom of the left side of my 1520, pried the casing open about 8mm, and used a credit card to push up the metal flap above the headphone jack. Put everything back together, started up the laptop with headphones in my ears, and to my surprise, there was no static. I thought I had broken the jack until I started playing a song and it was crystal clear.
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Think I found a much simpler way to solve the noise problem. I noticed that if I partially unscrewed the bottom screw right underneath the headphone jack and pushed up on it with a screwdriver the "staticy" noise goes away. So then I (partly) opened up the machine and started poking around. I determined that the metal "panel" on the underside of the top of the latop is the culprit.

I was able to fully fix the problem simply by bending up a metal "flap" that hangs down and touches the metal housing of the headphone jack. I left the rest of the headphone PCB totally unshielded. There is still a little bit of hiss, but the static and other weird noises are totally gone!

To get in there all I needed to do was to lift up the laptop lid about 1/2 inch, so there is no need to go to all the trouble of completely taking apart your laptop.
bobfoAsked:
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Brian PringleConnect With a Mentor Systems Analyst II, SCM, ERPCommented:
At first, I was thinking that this was a speaker problem, as this laptop is prone to the speaker separating from the surround -- especially when dropped.  But, since it started after replacing the hard drive, the drive itself is probably causing the issue.  

Where did you buy the drive?  Did you buy it online?  If so, take it to a local computer repair shop and ask them to try another drive in the computer to see if the problem goes away.  If it does, send the drive back for a replacement.  

The repair shop will charge a diagnostic fee, but it would be worth having them look at it, especially since they could just put another drive in real quick and give you an answer rather quickly.
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bobfoAuthor Commented:
Your initial assessment is possibly still on-target. Because the drop crashed the prior hard drive, the PC drop and hard drive replacement can be considered roughly the same event.

The hard drive was a SSD purchased online through Dell. I plan a trip to a local laptop repair shop once the computer gets here from the other end of the country. In the meantime, you consider this a hardware, not driver issue. Can a partially separated speaker cause a feedback loop that is audible through the headphone jack?
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bobfoAuthor Commented:
An update from my daughter. The problem may be limited to the headphone jack:

1. It is an intermittent buzz, but not really predictable. It goes off every second or two, but stays buzzing for a random amount of time (anywhere in between a half second and about 6 seconds).

2. It exists with any set of external audio devices plugged into the headphone jack (speakers, headphones, etc) but the built in speakers are fine. The sound is still present when the volume is muted or on 0
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MarkCommented:
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Brian PringleSystems Analyst II, SCM, ERPCommented:
I don't think that it is a speaker issue, since it is also happening through the headphone jack.  But, it could be a short on the sound card portion of the motherboard.  It would almost definitely be a hardware issue, but the only way to know for sure would be to try another hard drive to see if that is causing the problem.

Diagnostic for a laptop is usually about $25 an hour.  It would be worth having it checked out, rather than spending a lot of time trying to figure it out without having the other parts handy to try.
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bobfoAuthor Commented:
Good advice for the next step
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