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Constant background noise from PC

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Help please...

I have a 10 year old PC that runs Windows 98. I'm planning to buy - from UK - a completely new high-spec PC to run Windows XP or Vista and high spec enough so that I won't have to think of replacing for another 10 years !!

However, before 'splurging' my money - I wonder if someone could throw some light on a weird phenomenon on my PC ?

There is - always has been since we moved here to France - and regardless of whether I'm on or off-line - a background noise along the lines of 'hiss, hiss, tick, tock, hiss, screech, tick, hiss, hiss, screech, tock....... !! Rather like putting on a radio that isn't quite tuned into a station and you just get the background 'hiss' - but a heck of a lot worse. 

It makes listening to the radio on my PC just about impossible, and although I can play ABBA, Holsts 'Mars' from the Planets or the 1812 Overture at top volume to drown out the background hiss - it does make listening to 'The Lark Ascending' totally impossible !!

My PC is set up with a filter on the phone plug socket. The phone cable is then plugged into a Belkin 6 way surge protector; this was bought shortly after we bought the PC so it's a UK model - with UK sockets; into this 6-way surge device are the plugs for the sound system, screen,  printer, scanner, mouse and a USB 6 way Belkin port thingy...

Now all these items are UK based, plugged into a french electrical and telephone system. The electric supply is the 12 Kw/Volt/Amps  (whatever !!)...but you clever bods will know exactly to what I'm referring.

I'm wondering if there is a 'conflict/discrepancy' between the 2 systems which is causing all this background noise. If so - any suggestions as to what might solve the problem ?

It's like a lot of things in life - put up with irritations for so long but when you want to replace something you want to make sure you get rid of all the other annoying things at the same time. Like decorating a room....slap a coat of paint on becomes 'whilst we're doing this can we change that door, and knock that wall down, and..and...and..!!!

Look forward to any advice - regards - Chessie

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Where is the 'noise' coming from?, your speakers?, if so turn them off unless you need sound for a specific reason i.e. music from a C.D. or the computer.
It sounds (no pun intended) to me that the jackplug connection from your speaker(s) to your soundcard is loose or dirty.



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I might not have explained this too well, and also made assumptions ...

The noise is ONLY heard when the loudspeakers on the sound system are switched on. Yes, there is a degree of 'hum' from the PC but that's normal, very quiet and doesn't cause problems.

The noise comes from the speakers...

We are also on ADSL - have been for last 3 (?) years - but the noise was apparent before ADSL.

Regards - Chessie

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Are the speakers mains powered? Are they powered from the PC mains socket?

Nevertheless, I think it is far more likely to be something to do with the sound card, the connections or even the speakers themselves than anything resulting from the power supply or internet/phone connection.

Your PC is frankly getting pretty ancient by PC standards, even living on borrowed time, and I feel confident that a new one will not have the same problem.

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A ten-year old PC is a 'door-stop...............[:D]

As regards the noise it could be feedback............try a mute of the microphone setting in control panel and see if that works.

When you're looking at new PCs don't forget to have a look at an iMac, as OX Leopard simply knocks Vista into a cocked hat.

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If it were going 'tock, hiss, screech, tock, screech, hiss, hiss, hiss, tock, tock, screech' then I might have been able to help but I'm afraid

'hiss, hiss, tick, tock, hiss, screech, tick, hiss, hiss, screech, tock'

is a new one on me [:D][:D][:D]

Had to get that plug in didn't you Bugsy, you definitely have been on your 'Road to Damascus' [:P] [:D]

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Your speakers will most likely have a volume control and maybe also tone controls.....

Unless you need really loud volume try turning the volume control on the speakers to about the half-way position.  Then on your PC double click on the speaker icon on the taskbar along the bottom.  This will bring up Windows sound software – make sure the sliders for any “unused” inputs are turned down.

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Couple of things I've experienced with this sort of thing:

Firstly, if your speakers have their own power source, does the socket have an earth connection connected to it? We ran some speakers on an extension lead that was only 2 core (ie no earth connection) and this caused a hum.

Secondly, on my main desktop pc, this is connected to my surround sound system and used to hum. Then I double clicked on volume icon and muted cd output and the hum disappeared. As I never use CDs anymore (only mp3's) for me, this solved the problem.

Perhaps either of these solutions can be of help to you.

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