How to Diagnose Computer Beeps

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.

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The BIOS is stored in a chip on your motherboard.

Step

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

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

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

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