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How do I stop a Dell E6400 laptop from beeping

Posted on 2011-02-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a Dell E6400 laptop that makes an annoying beeping noise.

Below are two links as examples for what it is doing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzNesO-4tkk&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9fLCRWlw4s

I've tried:

http://laptops.promo.web.id/how-can-i-stop-this-annoying-beeping-sound-on-my-dell-laptop

and

 http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3517/t/19285804.aspx

Neither worked.  It is driving me crazy.  Dell has had me go thru the Diagnostics and they found nothing.  I'm stuck, and going crazy (is especially embarassing when I am in front of a client).  The only thing that seems to work is to close the laptop and shake it like an etch-a-sketch for about 10-15 seconds (almost releasing a stuck key it seems, even though there is no stuck key).

Please help.
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Question by:mmathews34
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by:akahan
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The first thing to figure out is whether it's something Windows is doing, or something hardware related.  Does it do it before Windows has booted up, or if you boot off a Linux (or other bootable) disk?
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by:mmathews34
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It has not done it before Windows has booted up or off another bootable disk.  But I scarely shut it all the way down (when I travel, to and from work I put it in sleep mode) and can't recall if I have booted off another disk before).

It definitely seems to have something to do with a stuck key as the beeping will sometimes stop after what sounds like a key fluttering and will not come back again until I close the lid again.  I should also disclose that after Dell did their diagnositics check, they did send me a new keyboard.  That was replaced and didn't help.  When I called Dell back to report this, the rep was rude and wanted me to run thru the full diagnostics again, so I brought it to EE.
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by:akahan
akahan earned 167 total points
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The first step is to figure out whether it's something Windows (or some program you have installed) is doing, or whether it's strictly hardware based.  It would be helpful if you could boot up from something other than Windows (for example, a Linux CD) and see if it still beeps.

It sure sounds like either Windows, or something that you have installed, though.
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by:jamietoner
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If the beeping starts before windows loads it could be a bad controller where the keyboard has already been replaced.
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by:nobus
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did you disable windows sounds?  that way you could test if it is actually a windows sound.
then you can start looking
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by:mmathews34
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Yes; I have disabled windows sounds and it still does it.
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by:nobus
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does it do it all the time, or only when using certain programs?
if all the time, it can be  a hard problem; you can test if it does it also when running from a live Knoppix cd  :

ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.4.4CD-2011-01-30-EN.iso
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by:akahan
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You should be able to disable the speakers completely by plugging a pair of headphones or earbuds into the headphone jack.  If you do this, do you still get the beeping?
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by:mmathews34
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yes.....still beeps (out loud) when speakers are muted and headphones are in.
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by:akahan
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This is definitely not a Windows issue.  Are you absolutely sure that the beeping is coming from the speakers, and that it isn't, for example, the hard drive chirping?
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by:mmathews34
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No - I never said it was coming from the speakers.  Seems to be the lower, left-hand side of the keyboard, so may be the hard drive?  See the videos below (is exactly what it is doing).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzNesO-4tkk&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9fLCRWlw4s

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by:akahan
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OH, and you don't have a cel phone sitting near the laptop do you?
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by:mmathews34
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There is a cell phone in a holster on my hip (so, about 2 feet away).  Though I can't say for certain, I am almost certain it beeps randomly even when there is not a cell phone in the proximity.
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by:nobus
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you could test with another disk..
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by:akahan
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The front left, where the noise is coming from, is where your hard drive is on that model, I think.  You could try removing it, and replacing with another hard drive, to see if another drive would also chirp.
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by:nobus
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is that not what i posted?
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by:akahan
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Yep; you type faster than I do.
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by:phototropic
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It sounds like what you are hearing is the laptop's system bell.

To test, try disabling it.  To do that, you must stop the beep service:

http://support.microsoft.com/?id=838671

Follow method 2.

Good luck!
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by:mmathews34
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Thank you phototropic - I have tried this solution and have not heard the beeping yet.  Since it is random, I would like to hold off on confirming this is the fix for a little while longer.  Will follow up in the next day, or if the beeping starts up again sooner.
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by:phototropic
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OK. Give it a while and see what happens.

Many people report this problem, and turning off the beep service will usually sort it.
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by:mmathews34
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Beeping started up again this morning.....seems to always happen within 5 minutes of restart, and then ramdomly after that.

One of the solutions suggested was to put in a new hard drive and see if that does the trick.  Because of my limited time and expertise, I'm not sure I have the skills to do this (and a spare HD to use).

Any other suggestions?
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by:phototropic
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Check to see if the beep service is re-enabling on restart.

Did you stop the beep service ( net stop beep) or did you turn off the beep service ( sc config beep start= disabled ) ?
If you stop it, it will turn back on with the next reboot.  If you turn it off, it should stay turned off until you turn it back on again.

 
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by:phototropic
phototropic earned 166 total points
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A full overview of how to gain control of the beep service is given here:

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/turn-off-the-annoying-windows-xp-system-beeps/

Note once again that "disabling" the beep service is not the same as "turning off" the beep service.
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by:mmathews34
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I turned off the beep service  previously (sc config beep start= disabled).  This morning, after reading your posts, I went into the directions above to check this again and when I right click on the Beep in the Non-Plug and Play Drivers, it it only gave me the option to "Uninstall" and not "disable".  I also went into the driver and in the "startup" field, it was listed as "disabled" already and the status was "stopped".

Does this mean I had it configured correctly and it shouldn't beep?
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by:akahan
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"Does this mean I had it configured correctly and it shouldn't beep?"

It sure does. If it's still beeping, then the beep service was not the issue here.
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by:phototropic
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So, is it still beeping?
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by:mmathews34
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Yes - not sure if you went to the links I posted early on exactly what it is doing.  It is still randomly beeping like that.
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by:phototropic
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If it still beeps with the beep service turned off, it must be a sound emanating from the hdd itself.

If that is the case, the only way to stop it would be to replace the drive.
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by:mmathews34
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Does anyone have a "best practices" paper that can give me steps to perform to do this and install a new hard drive myself (to back up my data and then restore?  I am on Vista, using Office 2007 and am a BIG user of Outlook for mail, calendar and tasking)?

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nobus earned 167 total points
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use a cloning prgram like paragon : http://www.paragon-software.com/free/
and clone your disk to the new disk - connected via usb
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Author Closing Comment

by:mmathews34
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Thank you for your help.  I do not have the time or expertise to try this final solution (and am frustrated there seens to be no other way to turn off this chirping), but I understand this is not the experts problem and feel I should award points.  Therefore, I'm awarding points to the 3 that were engaged throughout the process.  Thank you again for your support.
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by:nobus
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sorry we could not help better..
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