Jump to content

Computer Error Beep Codes, Ever Wondered why your computer beeps ?


Recommended Posts

Beginners Guides: Computer Error Beep Codes


Since I'm the "computer expert" among my friends and family, I often get those late night phone calls and e-mails asking me what's wrong with their computer. I'll be honest. It does get quite frustrating and annoying at times when people start off with "What did I do?" I understand that they're only asking me because they trust I can do a good job, and they really don't have anyone else to turn to.

When I start fixing a computer, 99% of the problems I see are software related. Most of the time it is you, the user that wrecks, breaks, crashes, or kills your computer. Sorry, I have to be blunt about it, but it's true. New processors, hard drives, video cards, memory and motherboards are just inanimate objects we can lay blame to.

Most of the time the main problem with these broken computers I tend to are due to too many programs loading up at start up. All those little programs add up, and sometimes eat up all the system resources.

Every now and then though, I do see a hardware problem and the first thing I do when I turn the computer on is listen to how it beeps.

When the computer makes those funny sound via the system speaker, it's not doing it because it wants to be heard. The computer is trying to talk to the operator/technician and tell them what's wrong. In testing computer components to their limits for the six years, I find that almost all motherboards adhere to the IBM BIOS standard beep codes... I think a few OEM's have developed their own or use Phoenix or AMI beep codes, but for the most part motherboard manufacturers uses the IBM based ones because they are grandfathered in.

Beep Code: Description of Problem:

No Beeps Short, No power, Bad CPU/MB, Loose Peripherals

One Beep Everything is normal and Computer POSTed fine

Two Beeps POST/CMOS Error

One Long Beep, One Short Beep Motherboard Problem

One Long Beep, Two Short Beeps Video Problem

One Long Beep, Three Short Beeps Video Problem

Three Long Beeps Keyboard Error

Repeated Long Beeps Memory Error

Continuous Hi-Lo Beeps CPU Overheating

So as you can see, if your computer doesn't start up and starts beeping away like a mime you can start the process of figuring out what is wrong by stopping for a second and listening. From a single beep which tells you everything is okay, to three long beeps which indicate a keyboard error to the siren like Hi-Lo beeps that tell you the CPU is overheating - listening to your computer is good!

As you become more and more experienced with computers, friends and family will naturally start to bring sick computers to your door to fix. When that happens, or when your own machine suddenly stops working, try listening to it first and see if it tells you what's wrong. If you are able to diagnose the problem just by listening to it, you will surely impress all your computer friends!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Standard Original IBM POST Error Codes

1 short beep  Normal POST - system is ok

2 short beeps POST Error - error code shown on screen

No beep Power supply or system board problem

Continuous beep Power supply, system board, or keyboard problem

Repeating short beeps Power supply or system board problem

1 long, 1 short beep System board problem

1 long, 2 short beeps Display adapter problem (MDA, CGA)

1 long, 3 short beeps Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA)

3 long beeps 3270 keyboard card

IBM POST Diagnostic Code descriptions

100 - 199  System Board
200 - 299 Memory
300 - 399 Keyboard
400 - 499 Monochrome Display
500 - 599 Color/Graphics Display
600 - 699 Floppy-disk drive and/or Adapter
700 - 799 Math Coprocessor
900 - 999 Parallel Printer Port
1000 - 1099 Alternate Printer Adapter
1100 - 1299 Asynchronous Communication Device, Adapter, or Port
1300 - 1399 Game Port
1400 - 1499 Color/Graphics Printer
1500 - 1599 Synchronous Communication Device, Adapter, or Port
1700 - 1799 Hard Drive and/or Adapter
1800 - 1899 Expansion Unit (XT)
2000 - 2199 Bisynchronous Communication Adapter
2400 - 2599 EGA system-board Video (MCA)
3000 - 3199 LAN Adapter
4800 - 4999 Internal Modem
7000 - 7099 Phoenix BIOS Chips
7300 - 7399 3.5" Disk Drive
8900 - 8999 MIDI Adapter
11200 - 11299 SCSI Adapter
21000 - 21099 SCSI Fixed Disk and Controller
21500 - 21599 SCSI CD-ROM System

Phoenix BIOS Beep Codes

This BIOS emits three sets of beeps. For example, 1 -pause- 3 -pause 3 -pause. This is a 1-3-3 combo and each set of beeps is separated by a brief pause. Listen to this sequence of sounds, count them, and reboot and count again if you have to.

1-1-3 Your computer can't read the configuration info stored in the CMOS. Replace the motherboard.

1-1-4 Your BIOS needs to be replaced.

1-2-1 You have a bad timer chip on the motherboard. You need a new motherboard.

1-2-2 The motherboard is bad.

1-2-3 The motherboard is bad.

1-3-1 You'll need to replace the motherboard.

1-3-3 You'll need to replace the motherboard.

1-3-4 The motherboard is bad.

1-4-1 The motherboard is bad.

1-4-2 Some of your memory is bad.

2-_-_ Any combo of beeps after two means that some of your memory is
bad, and unless you want to get real technical, you should probably have the guys in the lab coats test the memory for you. Take it to the shop.

3-1-_ One of the chips on your motherboard is broken. You'll likely need to get another board.

3-2-4 One of the chips on your motherboard that checks the keyboard is broken. You'll likely need to get another board.

3-3-4 Your computer can't find the video card. Is it there? If so, try swapping it with another one and see if it works.

3-4-_ Your video card isn't working. You'll need to replace it.

4-2-1 There's a bad chip on the motherboard. You need to buy another board.

4-2-2 First check the keyboard for problems. If nothing, you have a bad motherboard.

4-2-3 Same as 4-2-2.

4-2-4 One of the cards is bad. Try yanking out the cards one by one to isolate the culprit. Replace the bad one. The last possibility is to buy another motherboard.

4-3-1 Replace the motherboard.

4-3-2 See 4-3-1
4-3-3 See 4-3-1

4-3-4 Time of day clock failure. Try running the setup program that comes with the computer. Check the date and time. If that doesn't work, replace the battery. If that doesn't work, replace the power supply. You may have to replace the motherboard, but that is rare.

4-4-1 Your serial ports are acting up. Reseat, or replace, the I/O card. If the I/O is on the motherboard itself, disable them with a jumper (consult your manual to know which one) and then add an I/O card.

4-4-2 See 4-4-1, but this time is your Parallel port that's acting up.

4-4-3 You math coprocessor is having problems. Run a test program to double-check it. If it is indeed bad, disable it, or replace it
Low 1-1-2 Your motherboard is having problems

Low 1-1-3 This is an Extended CMOS RAM problem, check your motherboard battery, and motherboard.

AMI BIOS Beep Codes

1  Short Beep  	One beep is good! Everything is ok, that is if you see things on the screen. If you don't see anything, check your monitor and video card first. Is everything connected? If they seem fine, your motherboard has some bad chips on it. First reset the SIMM's and reboot. If it does the same thing, one of the memory chips on the motherboard are bad, and you most likely need to get another motherboard since these chips are soldered on.

2 Short Beeps Your computer has memory problems. First check video. If video is working, you'll see an error message. If not, you have a parity error in your first 64K of memory. First check your SIMM's. Reseat them and reboot. If this doesn't do it, the memory chips may be bad. You can try switching the first and second banks memory chips. First banks are the memory banks that your CPU finds its first 64K of base memory in. You'll need to consult your manual to see which bank is first. If all your memory tests good, you probably need to buy another motherboard.

3 Short Beeps Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow that diagnosis above.

4 Short Beeps Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow that diagnosis above. It could also be a bad timer

5 Short Beeps Your motherboard is complaining. Try reseating the memory and rebooting. If that doesn't help, you should consider another motherboard. You could probably get away with just replacing the CPU, but that's not too cost-effective. Its just time to upgrade!

6 Short Beeps The chip on your motherboard that controls your keyboard (A20 gate) isn't working. First try another keyboard. If it doesn't help, reseat the chip that controls the keyboard, if it isn't soldered in. If it still beeps, replace the chip if possible. Replace the motherboard if it is soldered in.

7 Short Beeps Your CPU broke overnight. Its no good. Either replace the CPU, or buy another motherboard.

8 Short Beeps Your video card isn't working. Make sure it is seated well in the bus. If it still beeps, either the whole card is bad or the memory on it is. Best bet is to install another video card.

9 Short Beeps Your BIOS is bad. Reseat or Replace the BIOS.

10 Short Beeps Your problem lies deep inside the CMOS. All chips
associated with the CMOS will likely have to be replaced. Your best bet is to get a new motherboard.

11 Short Beeps Your problem is in the Cache Memory chips on the motherboard. Reseat or Replace these chips.

1 Long, 3 Short Beeps You've probably just added memory to the motherboard since this is a conventional or extended memory failure. Generally this is caused by a memory chip that is not seated properly. Reseat the memory chips.

1 Long, 8 Short Beeps Display / retrace test failed. Reseat the video card.

Award Bios beep Codes

Beep Codes 

The only AwardBIOS beep code indicates that a video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot initialize the video screen to display any additional information. This beep code consists of a single long beep followed by two short beeps. Any other beeps are probably a RAM (Random Access Memory) problems.

Screen Error Messages

The following messages are examples of messages including errors detected by the BIOS during POST and a description of what they mean and/or what you may do to correct the error.

BIOS ROM checksum error - System halted
The checksum of the BIOS code in the BIOS chip is incorrect, indicating the BIOS code may have become corrupt. Contact your system dealer to replace the BIOS.

CMOS battery failed
The CMOS battery is no longer functional. Contact your system dealer for a replacement battery.

CMOS checksum error - Defaults loaded
Checksum of CMOS is incorrect, so the system loads the default equipment configuration. A checksum error may indicate that CMOS has become corrupt. This error may have been caused by a weak battery. Check the battery and replace if necessary.

CPU at nnnn
Displays the running speed of the CPU.

Display switch is set incorrectly

The display switch on the motherboard can be set to either monochrome or color. This message indicates the switch is set to a different setting than indicated in Setup. Determine which setting is correct, and then either turn off the system and change the jumper, or enter Setup and change the VIDEO selection.

Press ESC to skip memory test
The user may press Esc to skip the full memory test.

Floppy disk(s) fail

Cannot find or initialize the floppy drive controller or the drive. Make sure the controller is installed correctly. If no floppy drives are installed, be sure the Diskette Drive selection in Setup is set to NONE or AUTO.

HARD DISK initializing
Please wait a moment
Some hard drives require extra time to initialize.


Cannot find or initialize the hard drive controller or the drive. Make sure the controller is installed correctly. If no hard drives are installed, be sure the Hard Drive selection in Setup is set to NONE.

Hard disk(s) diagnosis fail
The system may run specific disk diagnostic routines. This message appears if one or more hard disks return an error when the diagnostics run.

Keyboard error or no keyboard present
Cannot initialize the keyboard. Make sure the keyboard is attached correctly and no keys are pressed during POST. To purposely configure the system without a keyboard, set the error halt condition in Setup to HALT ON ALL, BUT KEYBOARD. The BIOS then ignores the missing keyboard during POST.

Keyboard is locked out - Unlock the key

This message usually indicates that one or more keys have been pressed during the keyboard tests. Be sure no objects are resting on the keyboard.

Memory Test:
This message displays during a full memory test, counting down the memory areas being tested.

Memory test fail

If POST detects an error during memory testing, additional information appears giving specifics about the type and location of the memory error.

Override enabled - Defaults loaded
If the system cannot boot using the current CMOS configuration, the BIOS can override the current configuration with a set of BIOS defaults designed for the most stable, minimal-performance system operations.

Press TAB to show POST screen
System OEMs may replace the Phoenix Technologies' AwardBIOS POST display with their own proprietary display. Including this message in the OEM display permits the operator to switch between the OEM display and the default POST display.

Primary master hard disk fail
POST detects an error in the primary master IDE hard drive.

Primary slave hard disk fail
POST detects an error in the secondary master IDE hard drive.

Resuming from disk, Press TAB to show POST screen
Phoenix Technologies offers a save-to-disk feature for notebook computers. This message may appear when the operator re-starts the system after a save-to-disk shut-down. See the Press Tab & message above for a description of this feature.

Secondary master hard disk fail
POST detects an error in the primary slave IDE hard drive.

Secondary slave hard disk fail
POST detects an error in the secondary slave IDE hard drive.

POST Codes

POST Codes are hexadecimal codes generated by the BIOS during the POST operation. These codes may be monitored on a special hardware "POST card" which displays them using a two digit alphanumeric display.

ISA POST codes are output to port address 80h.

EISA POST codes are typically output to port address 300h.

Macintosh Start-up tones

Modern Macs beep when they fail there POST, the beeps will depend on the model but here are the standard codes.

Error Tone. (two sets of different tones) Problem with logic board or SCSI bus.

Start-up tone, drive spins, no video. Problem with video controller.

Powers on, no tone. Logic board problem.

High Tone, 4 Higher Tones Problem with SIMM.

Edited by cro-man
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...