Why Does My Computer Make a Humming Noise Every Time I'm Online?

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A low level of humming noise is common in most computers due to the movement and operation of the internal components. When your computer starts making a new humming noise when you're online or an existing hum changes, it can indicate a more serious problem. By addressing the cause, you can identify serious issues before they become irreversible problems.

Fans

  • Computers come with built-in fans that are designed to cool down the internal components. Fans often make a soft hum, but a fan that is broken, loose or out of alignment can cause a louder or sharper humming sound. Fans are crucial to the operation and stability of your computer; a broken fan can lead to overheating and component damage. Cleaning the fans with compressed air can clear up problems that occur due to dirty fans. Using the computer with a cooling pad or on a hard surface -- as opposed to carpet or a bed -- can also promote better airflow and reduce the load on the fans.

Monitor

  • Occasionally, your monitor may make a humming noise when you're online. If the sound comes from the monitor and not the CPU, track a pattern of behavior. If the sound happens only when you stream video online, for example, you may not be using the correct video mode. If the monitor is set to use a higher resolution than it can support, the humming noise may be due to overwork. Reducing the resolution can solve the problem.

RAM

  • Your random access memory, more often called RAM, allows your computer to temporarily store and access memory. When you lack enough RAM to handle the tasks you're performing on the Internet, your hard drive may kick into gear and cause a humming sound; this happens particularly when you're uploading or downloading files. Adding more RAM or closing unnecessary programs and processes while you're online can solve the problem.

When to Get Support

  • Humming noises coming from your computer are usually due to a physical problem. If you have advanced computer knowledge and are confident opening up the case to make adjustments, you may be able to solve the problem at home, although you should check your warranty before attempting it. Otherwise, bringing the computer in for service is a wise choice. A problematic hard drive or fan can cause serious, costly issues if left unchecked.

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  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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