So, my main laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1720. I’ve had it for about a year and a half, and the whole time, I’ve noticed a little static noise in the background when using headphones. It’s not constant, but kind of a little whiny morse code sound. Bugged me, but I never was able to find a fix. Because the problem is much less pronounced when running Linux than it is when running Windows, I figured it had something to do with crappy audio drivers for Windows.
I managed to fix it yesterday. Because of the nature of the fix, I don’t think the audio drivers have anything to do with the problem. I don’t know why the problem is so much worse under Windows… I’m going to guess it has to do with the graphics card being more active when Windows is running. But who knows?
Yesterday, I came across this page on Yahoo! Answers which hints at a fix, but doesn’t really tell you what it is. Then I found these forums with a bunch of people complaining about the problem. Inspiron 1520, 1521, and 1721 (and maybe 1525?) users also seem to have the problem. More machines may have a similar problem as well. Lots of threads seem to indicate that there is no solution, but finally, this one points out exactly what it is. So, I went ahead and tried it myself, and it worked wonderfully.
Anyway, I decided to document the fix, so here it is with pictures. Again, I have an Inspiron 1720, so these pictures are for that machine. I believe the Vostro 1700 is pretty much the same. Inspiron 15xx machines can be fixed in a similar manner, but there will be differences as to where the screws are and so forth. To perform this fix, you’ll need a small Phillips screwdriver, a flat-head screwdriver or small knife, and some electrical tape. Be warned, you have to pretty much take the computer all the way apart to get to the headphone jack on the inside, which is where we need to get. The whole thing (disassembly, fix, and reassembly) took me a little less than an hour. Note that I am not responsible if you somehow manage to break your computer or anything else while following these instructions.
Continue reading Dell Inspiron 1520/1521/1720/1721 headphone static background noise – FIX