Stop Your PC from Making Random USB Noises

Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Featured

We’re all familiar with the Connect/Disconnect noise Windows makes when you connect and disconnect USB devices. But things get a little spooky when you hear the random USB noises for no reason. You’re just working on your computer when suddenly and inexplicably, the USB noises go haywire for a few seconds, connecting and reconnecting, while you wonder what demons possessed your computer. This tutorial includes tips that can help you exorcise these phantom USB noises.

Using Device Manager

This is the quick-and-easy method (though not as robust as the tool mentioned later). If it does work, then it’ll save you the hassle of third-party software.

When you start hearing the USB noises:

  1. Quickly open the Start menu.
  2. Type device manager and hit Enter.
  3. This lands you in the Device Manager window. Drag the bottom of the window down to make it as tall as possible, then expand the options for all the things attached to your USB ports (keyboards, mice and other pointing devices, Bluetooth, human interface devices and so on).
  4. With all the necessary device lists expanded, keep an eye on it and see if anything keeps disappearing and reappearing from the lists as your PC makes the sounds.
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Device Manager

If you manage to spot the misbehaving device, do the following:

  1. Right-click it. (You may need to go to “View -> Show hidden devices” first if it keeps disappearing, as it’s disconnecting.)
  2. Click “Update Driver.” If that fails, it may be worth uninstalling it (right-click the device -> Uninstall), then reinserting it into your PC so that it can reinstall itself.
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Device Manager Uninstall

Alternatively, if you want to do a complete reinstall of all your USB controllers, you can do so easily by following the below steps:

  1. While in Device Manager, expand “Universal Serial Bus controllers.”
  2. Right-click all the options that have “Host Controller” in them and uninstall them.
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Device Manager Uninstall Host
  1. Reboot your PC, and your USB controllers will reinstall on your PC automatically.

Even if everything seems to be working fine, a new Windows update could result in driver issues yet again. If the random USB noises started after a Windows update, updating the driver or uninstalling and reinstalling is usually the best option to stopping the noise.

USBDeview

If the random USB noises are too unpredictable to track in Device Manager, or if the noise has stopped by the time you get to Device Manager, then it’s time to try out this great little tool.

USBDeview, from the excellent Nirsoft, tracks your USB devices more accurately – seeing whether or not they’re connected, when their drivers were created, and most importantly, the last time they were plugged in or out of your PC. The tool is still being actively updated and even supports Windows 11. If you’re having trouble finding the download link, scroll until you’ve almost reached the bottom of the page. The links are just above the available languages.

Once you’ve installed USBDeview, open it to see a list of all your USB devices (by default it shows all of them – connected or not).

Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Usbdevview

Ideally, you should open it soon after hearing the mysterious USB noises, as when you click the “Last Plug/Unplug Date” column, the culprit device (i.e. the most recent device to have been plugged/unplugged from your PC) will appear at the top.

You can then uninstall the device directly through USBDeview by following the steps below:

  1. Right-click the device.
  2. Select “Uninstall Selected Devices.”
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Usbdevview 1
  1. Unplug your device and plug it back in after a few seconds. Hopefully, it’ll reinstall without haunting you with endless connect/disconnect sounds.

You can also use the tool to check power output. This helps to see if your USB port is working.

Turn Off USB Notification Sounds

Most of the time these annoying USB jingles aren’t a sign of anything severe and may just be momentary driver clashes or lapses in the device’s power that won’t have any effect on your actual usage of them. If the device responsible for the sounds seems to be working fine but continues to make noises after you reinstalled it, then instead of replacing it, you can just turn off the notification sounds for USB devices.

  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the notifications tray at the far right of the taskbar.
  2. Click “Sounds” in Windows 10. If you’re trying to stop USB noises in Windows 11, select “Sound Settings.” Under “Advanced,” select “More Sound Settings.” The remaining steps are the same for Windows 10 and 11.
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Sound Advanced
  1. Select the “Sounds” tab.
  2. Under “Program Events,” select “Device Connect.”
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Sound Device
  1. In the “Sounds” drop-down menu, scroll to the top of the list and select “(None).”
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises Sound Device None 1
  1. Repeat the process for the “Device Disconnect” option under “Program Events.”

This is also the area where you can change and customize Windows sounds, including the startup sound.

Try a New USB Port

Sometimes random USB noises could be a sign of a failing USB port or a failing device. For instance, a damaged USB drive may connect and reconnect randomly. Also know whether disconnecting a USB drive while it’s in use can damage it. If a port is failing, the issue will happen no matter what device you plug in.

Rule out the port by plugging in other devices to see if the problem continues. If not, the port is likely fine.

Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises New Port
Image source: Unsplash

Test individual devices by plugging them into other USB ports. If the random USB noises continue, it’s either the device or the driver. If possible, try your device on another PC to further test whether the device is failing.

Avoid USB Hubs

In most cases, USB hubs are wonderful ways to increase the number of USB ports. However, they fail just like any other type of hardware. From a single port being damaged to the cable powering it, anything can happen. If you are using a USB hub, you may be able to stop USB noises by disconnecting from your device.

Once disconnected, test each USB device individually by connecting it directly to your Windows PC. If you don’t have any issues with the individual USB devices, the issue likely lies with your hub.

Try System Restore

If it’s a software issue with Windows and not a hardware problem, restoring your system to an earlier point may solve the problem. System restore points are usually only created automatically before installing software or making major system changes. For instance, you may notice a restore point listed before a major Windows update. You can create your own restore points at any time, though.

System Restore doesn’t delete your files but will remove apps, updates, and system changes that occurred after the restore point was created. To restore your system:

  1. Open Start and type recovery. Choose the “Recovery (Control Panel)” result.
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises System Restore
  1. Select “Open System Restore.”
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises System Restore Select
  1. Click “Next,” then check “Show more restore points.” This lets you view all available restore points.
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises System Restore Points
  1. Select a restore point and click “Next.” If you want to see what programs will be affected before you proceed, click “Scan for affected programs” first.
  2. Close all open files and programs. Click “Finish” to confirm you want to restore and wait for the process to complete.
Stop Your Pc From Making Random Usb Noises System Restore Points Confirm

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any specific USB devices that cause more random noises than others?

Outside of just failing hardware in general, generic brands, such as those that tend to be incredibly cheap, fail more often than their name brand counterparts. They are also more often the cause of random USB noises.

Sadly, scammers and low-quality brands sell USB drives and even faulty SD cards at insanely low prices. The devices usually don’t have the advertised capacity or speed and fail quickly. Spending a little more actually saves you money. You can also just wait for store holidays like Black Friday to stock up on name brands like SanDisk, Samsung, Kingston, Lexar, and PNY.

Can viruses cause random USB noises?

Yes. More often than not, it’s the device or the port. However, malicious apps cause all sorts of weird problems, including USB noises and other sounds. The idea is to make you think something else is wrong with your PC.

You can use the built-in Windows Defender or a third-party antivirus to keep your PC safer from malware. If you suspect you have a virus and your antivirus app might be compromised, try this guide on removing a virus without an antivirus tool or use Microsoft Safety Scanner, a standalone antivirus tool.

How long do USB devices and ports last?

For USB devices, lifespans vary greatly from device to device. For things like flash drives and external hard drives, you can expect anywhere from a 3- to 20-year lifespan when used carefully. This means not dropping them, connecting and disconnecting them gently, and storing them within the temperature limits. You can see how SSDs, HDDs, and USB flash drives compare to see the different lifespans.

For any device with a USB cable, the device itself could last for years, such as a keyboard. But, if the cable is damaged, the device can no longer connect to your PC.

USB ports can wear out over time. The exact lifespan varies based on how rough you are with them. Constantly plugging in devices with too much force and jerking them out at angles will damage the port. I personally have USB ports on older PCs that are still working over 15 years later, and this is with connecting/disconnecting a USB drive almost daily.

Image credit: Pixabay All screenshots by Crystal Crowder.

Crystal Crowder
Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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