Computing

Computer Beep Codes You Should Know

computer beep codes


Have you ever experienced incessant beeps while trying to boot up your computer? If you have, then you know the frustration that comes with it.

These beeps are indicative of some sort of problem with your PC’s hardware components. To understand this problem, you need to translate these beeps into what is known as computer beep codes.

These beep codes vary from one Basic Input/Output (BIOS) System to the other and there is an array of them for each BIOS.

Why Does Your Computer Beep?

The entire concept of beeping sounds that your computer makes is related to its start-up.

So, what happens is that before your processor sets up every tiny bit of data for your PC to start, it runs a Power-On Self-Test (POST). This test ensures that your PC’s hardware is error-free and it can boot up smoothly. It is a silent process so you don’t usually notice when it takes place.

However, if something is not right, POST prompts the computer to warn you. If the problem is minor, you will hear a soft beep along with an error message, explaining the problem.

On the contrary, if the error is a big deal, say there is a problem with any of the hardware components, then instead of telling you that through an error message, your PC starts making beeping sounds through the motherboard.

What to Do When Your Computer Beeps?

If your computer fails the POST test and makes a beeping sound with an error message, then all you have to do is read that message, and search its solution on the internet or report it to your computer’s manufacturer, whether it is HP, Dell, or any other.

In the worst-case scenario, when there is no message along with the beeps, what then?

Firstly, decipher the pattern of the beeps you are encountering, whether it is only one beep or more, whether the beeps are high or low in tone, and whether the beeps are long or short.

Once you have translated these beeps into a specific beep code, you then need to look up the beep codes of your motherboard’s manufacturer on the internet. Once you find the beep code you are looking for, read its description to be able to troubleshoot the problem.

Fortunately for you, below, we have outlined the beep codes along with what each of them means, for the most commonly used BIOS.

BIOS Beep Codes

AMI

The AMI BIOS is one of the most well-known BIOS. Since the BIOS under discussion is integrated into computers of many different brands, the codes listed below may vary.

Beep Code Description

 

1 short beeps DRAM has failed to refresh.
2 short beeps Failure in Parity Circuit.
3 short beeps Failure of Base 64 K RAM.
4 short beeps Failure of System Timer.
5 short beeps Process failure.
6 short beeps Error in Keyboard Controller Gate A20.
7 short beeps Error in Virtual mode exception.
8 short beeps Display memory Read/Write test failure.
9 short beeps Failure in ROM BIOS checksum.
10 short beeps Error in CMOS Battery.
11 short beeps Error in cache memory.
1 long beep, 3 short beeps Failure in Conventional/Extended memory.
1 long beep, 8 short beeps Failure in Display/Retrace test.
Two-tone siren The low fan speed of CPU/Voltage level issue.

Award

As is the case with AMI, due to its use in a wide variety of computer brands, the beep codes listed below may vary.

Beep Code Description

 

1 long beep, 2 short beeps Problem with the video card as a result of which a blank screen appears.
1 long beep, 3 short beeps Unable to detect video card/outdated video card (reseating it might help.)
Beeps repeating endlessly RAM problem.
Repeated high frequency beeps while PC is running Overheating of Processor.
Repeated beeps alternating high & low frequency Problem with the CPU/Possibly damaged CPU.

Dell

All Dell beep codes are of the same length. These beeps, however, always occur as a set of 3 beeps, with pauses in between each beep(s). These pauses are represented in the form of dashes (“-“) in the table below.

For instance, 1 – 1 – 2 means “Beep – Beep – Beep Beep”. The beep codes in the following table are used by Dell-OptiPlex systems. Other Dell systems make the use of LEDs to convey the error messages.

Beep Code Description

 

1 – 1 – 2 Failure in Microprocessor register.
3 – 2 – 4 Failure in Keyboard controller test.
3 – 3 – 1 NVRAM power loss.
3 – 3 – 4 Failure in Video memory test.
3 – 4 – 1 Failure in Screen initialization.
4 – 2 – 2 Failure in Shutdown.
4 – 4 – 4 Failure in Cache test.

IBM

Below is the list of some of the most usual beep codes. Again, due to the wide use of this BIOS in different computer brands, these codes may vary.

Beep Code Description

 

1 short beep POST successful.
2 short beeps POST unsuccessful with an error message on the screen.
Continuous beep A problem with the power supply/motherboard/keyboard.
Repeating short beeps A problem with the power supply/motherboard/keyboard.
1 long and 1 short beep A problem with the motherboard.
1 long and 2 short beeps A problem in Graphics Card (Mono/CGA video error).
1 long and 3 short beeps A problem in Graphics Card (EGA video error).
3 long beeps A problem with Keyboard or keyboard card.
1 beep, blank or incorrect display. A problem in video display circuitry.

Macintosh

Beep Code

 

Description
1 beep, repeating every 5 seconds RAM is not installed.
Two sets of 3 short beeps with 5-second pause in between RAM has failed the data integrity check.
1 long beep while power button is being pressed EFI ROM update in progress (applicable on computers manufactured before 2012).
Two sets of 3 long beeps separated by 3 short beeps EFI ROM error/ Mac is in EFI ROM recovery mode.

Phoenix

The following table comprises the beep codes for Phoenix BIOS Q3.07 or 4.x. Similar to Dell, there will be pauses in between consecutive beeps in each code.

Beep Code

 

Description
1-1-1-1 Unconfirmed beep code. Reseat RAM chips or replace RAM chips as a possible solution.
1-1-1-3 Verify real mode.
1-1-2-1 Get CPU type.
1-1-2-3 Initialize system hardware.
1-1-3-1 Initialize chipset registers with initial POST values.
1-1-3-2 Set in POST flag.
1-1-3-3 Initialize CPU registers.
1-1-4-1 Initialize cache to initial POST values.
1-1-4-3 Initialize I/O.
1-2-1-1 Initialize power management.
1-2-1-2 Load alternate registers with initial POST values.
1-2-1-3 Jump to UserPatch0.
1-2-2-1 Initialize keyboard controller.
1-2-2-3 BIOS ROM checksum.
1-2-3-1 8254 timer initialization.
1-2-3-3 8237 DMA controller initialization.
1-2-4-1 Reset programmable interrupt controller.
1-3-1-1 Test DRAM refresh.
1-3-1-3 Test 8742 keyboard controller.
1-3-2-1 Make ES Segment register 4 GB.
1-3-3-1 Autosize DRAM.
1-3-3-3 Clear 512 K base RAM.
1-3-4-1 Test 512 base address lines.
1-3-4-3 Test 512 K base memory
1-4-1-3 Test CPU bus clock frequency.
1-4-2-4 Reinitialize the chipset.
1-4-3-1 Shadow system BIOS ROM.
1-4-3-2 Reinitialize the cache.
1-4-3-3 Autosize cache.
1-4-4-1 Configure advanced chipset registers.
1-4-4-2 Load alternate registers with CMOS values.
2-1-1-1 Set initial CPU speed.
2-1-1-3 Initialize interrupt vectors.
2-1-2-1 Initialize BIOS interrupts.
2-1-2-3 Check ROM Copyright notice.
2-1-2-4 Initialize manager for PCI Options ROMs.
2-1-3-1 Check video configuration against CMOS.
2-1-3-2 Initialize PCI bus and devices.
2-1-3-3 Initialize all video adapters in the system.
2-1-4-1 Shadow video BIOS ROM.
2-1-4-3 Display Copyright notice.
2-2-1-1 Display CPU type and speed.
2-2-1-3 Test keyboard.
2-2-2-1 Set key click if enabled.
2-2-2-3 Enable keyboard.
2-2-3-1 Test for unexpected interrupts.
2-2-3-3 Display prompt Press F2 to enter SETUP.
2-2-4-1 Test RAM between 512 and 640 k.
2-3-1-1 Test expanded memory.
2-3-1-3 Test extended memory address lines.
2-3-2-1 Jump to UserPatch1.
2-3-2-3 Configure advanced cache registers.
2-3-3-1 Enable external and CPU caches.
2-3-3-3 Display external cache size.
2-3-4-1 Display shadow message.
2-3-4-3 Display non-disposable segments.
2-4-1-1 Display error messages.
2-4-1-3 Check for configuration errors.
2-4-2-1 Test real-time clock.
2-4-2-3 Check for keyboard errors.
2-4-4-1 Set up hardware interrupts vectors.
2-4-4-3 Test coprocessor if present.
3-1-1-1 Disable onboard I/O ports.
3-1-1-3 Detect and install external RS232 ports.
3-1-2-1 Detect and install external parallel ports.
3-1-2-3 Re-initialize onboard I/O ports.
3-1-3-1 Initialize BIOS data area.
3-1-3-3 Initialize extended BIOS data area.
3-1-4-1 Initialize floppy controller.
3-2-1-1 Initialize hard disk controller.
3-2-1-2 Initialize local bus, hard disk controller.
3-2-1-3 Jump to UserPatch2.
3-2-2-1 Disable the A20 address line.
3-2-2-3 Clear huge ES segment register.
3-2-3-1 Search for option ROMs.
3-2-3-3 Shadow option ROMs.
3-2-4-1 Set up Power Management.
3-2-4-3 Enable hardware interrupts.
3-3-1-1 Set time of day.
3-3-1-3 Check key lock.
3-3-3-1 Erase F2 prompt.
3-3-3-3 Scan for F2 keystroke.
3-3-4-1 Enter CMOS setup.
3-3-4-3 Clear in POST flag.
3-4-1-1 Check for errors
3-4-1-3 POST is done, prepare to boot the operating system.
3-4-2-1 One beep.
3-4-2-3 Check password (optional).
3-4-3-1 Clear global descriptor table.
3-4-4-1 Clear parity checkers.
3-4-4-3 Clear screen (optional).
3-4-4-4 Check virus and backup reminders.
4-1-1-1 Try to boot with INT 19.
4-2-1-1 Interrupt handler error.
4-2-1-3 Unknown interrupt error.
4-2-2-1 Pending interrupt error.
4-2-2-3 Initialize option ROM error.
4-2-3-1 Shutdown error.
4-2-3-3 Extended block move.
4-2-4-1 Shutdown 10 error.
4-3-1-3 Initialize the chipset.
4-3-1-4 Initialize refresh counter.
4-3-2-1 Check for forced flash.
4-3-2-2 Check HW status of ROM.
4-3-2-3 BIOS ROM is OK.
4-3-2-4 Do a complete RAM test.
4-3-3-1 Do OEM initialization.
4-3-3-2 Initialize interrupt controller.
4-3-3-3 Read in bootstrap code.
4-3-3-4 Initialize all vectors.
4-3-4-1 Boot the flash program.
4-3-4-2 Initialize the boot device.
4-3-4-3 Boot code was read OK.

Conclusion

Now that you have a concrete knowledge of computer beep codes for each BIOS, you should be able to identify any problem concerning your BIOS and your hardware.

However, if you were unable to find the beep code you were looking for above, you can resort to external ways of troubleshooting.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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