It is very bothersome to work with my Windows 10 laptop when there is a constant light flashing in my face. Is there a way to either edit the registry or the BIOS to stop the hard drive activity light from flashing?

I own a Dell Inspiron 5000 Series with an Intel Core i5 if that helps.

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    Sadly this is not possible unless you flash a custom BIOS, which is very dangerous and hardly practical. – iBug Mar 11 '17 at 2:31
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    BIOS is BIOS and is not related to Windows 10 whatsoever. Windows 10 has no BIOS – phuclv Mar 11 '17 at 9:33
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    Windows 10 is an operating system (OS), BIOS is basic input/output system. It's built into every computer's motherboard and it's the first program that starts when you press the power button. BIOS initializes hardware and boots OS. It may also act as a middleware between OS and hardware. – gronostaj Mar 11 '17 at 12:10
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    If it bothers you so much, you are likely far too close to your screen and/or using your laptop in the dark, both things which you should avoid. Perhaps consider a more healthy working environment. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 11 '17 at 15:24
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit I watch movies on my computer and definitely like to watch them in the dark. There are some work environments where low light helps or is preferred by many, such as audio and/or video production. Having flashing lights around that are not flashing a tempo or delay time can be very annoying in audio production. – Todd Wilcox Mar 11 '17 at 16:11

TL;DR Tape over it.

Disregarding whether that's a good idea or not*, the easiest way to 'disable' the LED is most likely to open up your laptop case and unplug the LED ribbon cable. Barring that as a possibility, the next most practical solution would be place tape (or an aesthetically pleasing sticker) over the LED.

While it may be theoretically possible to modify chip firmware somewhere on your motherboard to disable the LED, there won't be any easy way to do so in a software setting expressly because the engineers designing computers, for various reasons* believe that to be a bad idea.

*See e.g. http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/how-to-disable-the-hard-drive-led-through-windows.239562/page-2#post-3236374

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    Black magic marker would work, too. – SDsolar Mar 11 '17 at 4:21
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    In most laptops the LED doesn't even have a cable. It is usually soldered directly to the motherboard. In most desktop systems it usually has a cable that can safely be disconnected. – Tonny Mar 11 '17 at 11:59
  • @Tonny Many desktops have a ribbon cable for the LED and/or a small PCB that serves the LED(s) and power button and other buttons. So in those cases you could only defeat the LED by also defeating the power button, which probably wouldn't be useful. I have seen fly wires in PCB-ribbon cable design between the PCB and LED that could be cut. – Todd Wilcox Mar 11 '17 at 16:08
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    @SDsolar: Permanent marker is still relatively see-through and has not worked for me in the past (I don't like blinking lights when I'm trying to sleep). A better solution would be liquid white-out, which is opaque. If that's too ugly, put a bit of permanent marker over the white-out. – user483996 Mar 11 '17 at 19:31
  • @ToddWilcox "Business" desktops/towers seem to be very fond of the mini-PCB behind the front-panel that holds all the switch & LED stuff and has a undocumented proprietary cable going to the non-standard connector on the motherboard. Most other cases it is usually the standard 12-pin ATX motherboard connector with either a ribbon-cable and header going to the front-panel or individual wires. (Power & reset switch, HDD & power LED and speaker.) – Tonny Mar 11 '17 at 20:12

I hope you don't think this is a silly answer, but I've seen people's laptops with black tape stuck over the lights. This is just another option for you, and seems to be effective.

Also, any good laptop engineer 'should' be able to permanently disable this light by breaking the electrical circuit on the motherboard.


This question is timely, after the discovery that it was possible to acquire user names and passwords by capturing the blinking HDD light patterns of an air-gaped computer, (obviously this takes a lot of work, but it appears to be possible). https://www.wired.com/2017/02/malware-sends-stolen-data-drone-just-pcs-blinking-led/ Another way to cover pesky blinking lights is fingernail polish, these days you can pick it up in nearly any color, matching most any computer casing you will find.


I am assuming that the HDD light is on what Dell calls the "Status-Light Board"

It is possible to remove or disconnect the Status-Light Board from the computer. Disconnecting it would cause the light to not function, but you may lose other functionalities.

See page 54 of this document for instructions on how to remove the board.

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