My Computer is Haunted!

Ok folks. I have had no luck searching for this particular issue just because of the weirdness of the search terms, but you’re my only hope! I think my computer is haunted. I have a five-year-old Vostro 460 sitting on my desk at work. I work alone in a little farm museum. There is nothing in particular hooked up to my computer–a little dell monitor, a couple of logitech speakers that you can sometimes hear the radio out of if you turn them all the way down, a USB mouse and keyboard.

Here’s the issue: when I stand up from my chair to leave my office, my computer makes the exact same beep it makes when I unplug a phone from the USB. How would my computer know I’m standing up? There is nothing electrically that could send that signal to the computer. My chair is a standard office chair. And yet, every time I stand up it beeps. It’s like there’s a proximity sensor that is going off, or a camera motion sensor, but I have neither of these!

Could my chair be sending a static electricity discharge that travels from my desk to the USB port on my computer that’s at the exact frequency to signal a removal? This is driving me completely 'round the bend!


In theory human body capacitance can affect a circuit by either subtracting or adding a tiny bit of charge when you approach or depart. This is why streetlights on the verge of failure sometimes turn off or on when you come near. But this seems hugely unlikely for a computer. I suppose no unknown USBs are plugged into any ports on the back?

Nothing is plugged into any of the other USB ports. Just the keyboard and mouse.

And kb/mouse work properly in the immediate aftermath of this occurrence?

Oh, are there USB ports at the front of the system? They might be hooked to an internal connector on the mobo that’s loose and goes funky from the vibration of you getting up? No idea if internal ports disconnecting make the same noise as “regular” ones, though. . .

When did this start happening? Abruptly one day, or has it always been this way? I ask because I’m almost starting to think someone is punking you.

Yes 4 ports on the front. Nothing plugged in but I haven’t checked the internal connectors.

I just started noticing it was doing it a few months ago. The farmers who volunteer here are incapable of punking anyone. Most of them don’t own computers!

Have you tried unplugging all of your devices and then repeating the process of standing up? If you don’t hear the noise, it could be that you just have a device in a loose port and even just shifting the floor under the PC by standing up is making the connections in the port stop touching. Plug them in one at a time until you identify the bad port or the bad device (it could be the USB end on a mouse or keyboard that’s bad, too) and replace or use a different port as needed.

I have a motion sensor in the room that is wired into the front door alarm, and the computer is connected to the internet through a wireless card. Could the motion sensor be sending out some kind of signal to the wireless card when it registers a motion?

Update: Just covered the motion sensor and it still beeps when I stand up, so the motion sensor doesn’t have anything to do with it. I’ll try disconnecting the front USB hub.

Did you try plugging the mouse/keyboard into other ports, like the front ports?

Yes after Armando mentioned it I tried plugging them into the front ports, but it still made the sound. And shaking the desk doesn’t seem to make anything go off so I’m not so sure it’s a loose wire. I think it’s time for a new computer. :)

That’s a pretty bizarre occurrence. :)

How about opening up the Device Manager and see if any category blips as you stand up?

I suppose it doesn’t beep when the computer is powered down? That would be a prank toy in your chair making a computerlike beep…

Have you performed the proper libations to your computer’s machine spirit?

Just turn off the speaker, or unplug it.

Yeah, I know, I’m taking all the fun out of it…

In true horror movie fashion, unplugging the speaker will have no effect on its ability to beep.

Run…just run, now!

What a freakish thing. My usual advice to run malwarebytes (or whatever) is completely not helpful here.

So in theme with the tangent this problem suggests how about this. Does this PC have a camera on it? If so have you tried disabling it in device manager, if so what about putting black-nasty sticky over it (or a square of electricians tape). Now onto the weird part, have you ever been involved in something that might be connected to or be of interest too security agencies, and no don’t answer this, just think about it.

That all sounds crazy right? Ok well if you have no camera on this PC it probably isn’t this, and more likely just some weird electronic circuitry em field interference thing, even if that is just a rare and not common thing. I would suggest lining the PC in lead, but that seems a bit bonkers, you could try having in some kind of box, just to add a layer between you and it and see if it still does this freakish beep?

/tinfoilhat off

Hmm call a Priest to do an exorcism?

We need a video!

Also, if you stand up realllly slowly, at what point in standing up does it beep?

Another suggestion (my missus help this one, better than my previous suggestions). Is this PC wifi connected to the internet? if so have you a wired cable around you could physically run to the PC to test if it still beeps when you get up? She is thinking maybe you are interfering in the wireless signal and maybe you have a setting that beeps when that signal is lost/weak etc?

It doesn’t beep right away. I stand up, and it beeps when I move three feet to the left as I’m leaving my desk. Sometimes it beeps a second time when i’ve gone around the desk and am leaving through the office door, but not every time. No there is no camera on the computer! Nothing is showing up on the device manager. I’ll see if I can record it on video!