Laptop Whine Killer

Background: Lenovo’s W510 laptops produce two kinds of high-pitched noises. One of those is especially prominent and irritating. It appears mainly when the laptop is running on battery power in a near-idle state.

Solution: Searching on the Internet produced this 2-year old thread on Lenovo’s support forums.
The only working solution to this embarrassing whine was to start an audio playback, so that the CPU would not enter a deep power-saving state. The other alternative was to disable power management in BIOS. Disabling power management is not desirable as it negatively affects battery consumption, while silent sound playback has almost no negative impact.
I put together a small system tray program, which does just that – it will play an embedded silent 1-second long WAV file in an indefinite loop. This will effectively stop the whine at the cost of a slightly shorter battery life. The effective CPU usage while running the suppression is less than 0.1%.
The program can automatically sense if your laptop runs on AC power and disable the whine suppression loop. This feature is not enabled by default as there is still some whine present when on AC power. It is possible to adjust the settings from the system tray context menu.

[Download]
[Source code]

Version history:
1.00 – 03.07.2012 – Initial release.
1.01 – 04.07.2012 – Save automatic detection setting state to the registry. Improve power state detection reliability.
1.02 – 04.07.2012 – Allow only one instance of running application.
1.10 – 25.04.2013 – Added an option to auto-launch the program together with Windows.

The icon used in this program comes from Icon Archive.

16 thoughts on “Laptop Whine Killer

  1. Wow you should get a refund and keep the machine. for this. πŸ™‚ we buy laptops for their quiet operation not for whistling sensation.

  2. Thanks! Works very well in silencing the Core 2 Duo in my HP 6910p. Plus CPU usage is never greater than 1%.

  3. He he. The whistling sensation is indeed spectacular, somewhat akin to the whistling symphony you could hear from a dialling modem in the olden days, only a little bit quieter. πŸ™‚

  4. Glad it helped on that model as well. I don’t understand the motherboard designers, who would let something like this pass for so many years without changing the hardware design!

  5. This app works okay, and is a good means of not voiding one’s warranty. I think an alternative means of doing this is by disabling states higher than C3 as described in this method:

    http://superuser.com/a/268913

    This is because the C4 state typically drops the current required by the processor and causes coil noise in the processor’s power supply circuitry from the harmonics created by this sudden drop. The downside to this method is of course that the processor cannot reduce it’s current to a sleep state and causes the battery to drain faster. There are usually hardware methods of fixing this by replacing or supplementing the supplies passive components, but they require soldering to surface mount components (e.g):

    http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/T400-T500-and-newer-T-series/T510-i5-540M-terrible-whine-noise/m-p/306472#M33988

  6. Wow!! Amazing! Own a W510 for two years, and that whining often bugged me (when I was working with radio off). Now -with Laptop Whine Killer- this problem ist solved! IΒ΄m also very glad that it has so little impact on CPU usage!

    ThereΒ΄s still very little OTHER sound, but that comes from HD, which is hard to hear. But that high-pitched noise is definetely gone (switched Laptop Whine Killer on and off several times).
    Aaaaa… so good for my ears! No distraction from a whining piece of hardware anymore!

    I thank you very, very, very, (…) much!!! πŸ™‚

  7. You are welcome! πŸ™‚
    It’s always great to know when my work comes in useful for others.
    Incidentally, I now have W530, and it does not whine “natively” πŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: DIY/SOLVED! Laptop Battery Power Noise | Vote for David

  9. did not work on a Lenovo T420s πŸ™
    well, it was worth a try

  10. Hi Stanislav,

    Why does Jotti Malware scan using the scanner VBA32 detect “Trojan.MSIL.gen.16” ?

  11. This is just amazing, I own w510 for at-least 4 years now. And this software works like a charm!!!

  12. Didn’t work on my T400 which started coil whining when I upgraded to a faster CPU, but thanks anyway…

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