How to Diagnose Computer Beeps

By Candace Benson

When your computer boots up, the Basic Input-Output System (BIOS) performs an all-systems Power On Self-Test (POST). The POST tests your computer's most important components, including the motherboard itself, the system's memory and the video card. If the computer deviates from its standard beep, it may indicate a very serious problem with your computer, or it may simply indicate that you need to replace a system fan or a memory stick. BIOS beep codes vary according to manufacturer.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

Step 1

Start your computer. Pay attention to the number of beeps and the length of the beeps. There are short and long beeps. Write down your observations.

Step 2

Write down the BIOS type if this information is on your screen. Consult your computer documentation if you don't know what type of motherboard you have. Visit your computer manufacturer's support website for your computer model if you purchased a pre-built machine.

Step 3

Look up your BIOS manufacturer (AMI, Award and Phoenix, for example) at a BIOS beep code website such as 5StarSupport, PC Hell or PC Guide (see Resources).

Step 4

Match the your computer's beep code with the beep code listing for your BIOS manufacturer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you determine the code's meaning, you'll still need to repair the computer. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may wish to fix the problem yourself, contact your computer manufacturer if the computer is still under warranty, or contact a computer technician.
  • Do not perform repairs on your computer unless you are comfortable opening your computer and have the proper tools and equipment to prevent electrostatic damage.
  • Do not perform repairs on your computer if your computer is still under warranty.