How Do I Stop Random Talking on a Computer?
By Dan Stone
No, your computer is not trying to communicate with you: that random talking coming from your computer is either a pesky advertising technique or a sound hardware issue. Uninvited computer sounds disrupt your quiet work environment and interrupt other content you've deliberately chosen to view. Before you can stop the random talking, you need to figure out where it's coming from, so you can return to your senses.
Small Page Players
You probably activated a small video advertisement player hanging out on a Web page when the random talking starts a few seconds after you've clicked a link. Auto-play advertisements are the most hated digital ad tactic, according to digital marketing site Digiday. Small page players can be difficult to track down because people tend to browse with multiple page tabs simultaneously open and the ad can be hiding out anywhere on any page. If the video features minimal movement it can be difficult to locate so you can press the "Pause" button. The Google Chrome browser features a tiny speaker icon on the window tab to indicate which window is playing audio to help round down your search for silence.
Pop-Under Advertisement Windows
Pop-under advertisements are the pop-up advertisement's shady younger brother that's always up to no good. Instead of having the decency to announce its presence to you front-and-center like a pop-up ad, pop-under ads launch underneath the browser window and hide out in the background. Pop-unders are supposed to be less bothersome than pop-ups because the viewer doesn't see the ads until closing the browser window. However, pop-unders become a real nuisance when teamed up with auto-play ads. Most modern browsers have built-in controls to block pop-under windows: They are classified as pop-up windows in the Settings.
You've Got Malware
There's money to be had in Web advertising -- although the print industry begs to differ -- which attracts some of society's unsavory characters who design malware that forces additional advertisements onto your computer. Unexpected pop-up windows and concealed pop-under windows that play random sounds are signs of a malware infection. Fortunately, most malware infections are easy enough to clear out by running full system anti-virus and anti-malware scans after booting into Safe Mode. Try running one updated anti-virus scan and as many different anti-malware scans as needed until the problem goes away (see Resources).
Picking up Local Radio
Pat yourself on the back and weep if your computer speakers constantly play random talking when there aren't any open programs or the computer itself is off. You've managed to assemble the perfect storm to pick up broadcast radio. Chances are, you're picking up AM radio, if you're hearing talking instead of music and you probably live within a few miles of a broadcast tower. The problem is not with the computer itself, but rather with the speakers. Computer speaker wires that aren't properly shielded can act like antennas and pick up broadcasts. Resolve the problem by either replacing the cables with better-shielded ones or fold the cables to decrease hypothetical antenna exposure space.
- Digiday: The Most Hated Digital Ad Tactic
- Slate: Google Just Fixed One of the Most Annoying Things About Browsing the Web
- PC Magazine Encyclopedia: Definition of: Popunder Ad
- Computer Hope Jargon: How Do I Stop Pop0-up or Pop-under Internet Ads
- Business News Daily: 6 Signs Your Computer Has Been Infected and 4 Ways to Fix It
- Malware Tips: Remove Random Audio Ads in Background (Virus Removal Guide)
- Seattle Times: Computer Speakers Capturing Radio Signal
Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.