Your Dell Inspiron 531 desktop computer issues a number of beeps as it boots up to indicate that it has conducted routine self-diagnostics and found everything functioning properly. If the computer emits a series of beeps without any additional indication of start-up, the computer has encountered a problem during its self-checks and cannot boot correctly. Various factors can cause this problem, ranging from simple loose wiring to complete hardware failure.
Remove Newly Added Hardware
Newly added hardware or accessories can sometimes conflict with already installed programs and components, causing functionality problems in the computer. If you've recently added a new piece of hardware, disconnect the device and reboot. If your computer starts normally, the new device was the problem. Seek updated drivers for the device, or check for the most recent operating system updates to help correct this problem.
Count the Beeps
If your Dell computer does not boot, the beeps it emits are designed to alert you to the problem encountered. Three beeps, for example, indicate a possible motherboard failure, while two beeps refer to a RAM memory module problem. Knowing the problem helps steer you toward a possible solution.
Consult Owner's Manual
Since the beeps of a non-booting computer indicate the problem preventing booting, Dell provides a convenient “Beep Code” reference sheet in your owner's manual. This chart provides the meaning behind each beep code, from a single beep up to a series of six. The BIOS on your computer could produce its own beep code, typically in a series of beeps with a pause between. The codes and meanings differ depending on the motherboard found in your system, so consult Dell's support webpages for more help.
In some cases, your Dell may not boot properly simply due to loose components or wiring. If you receive a beep code, shut down your computer and open up the tower. Inspect all wires and components to make sure everything is seated properly and securely, and all cables are connected properly. Remove the RAM modules and reseat them to ensure a proper connection. Clean any dust or debris that may have accumulated inside with canned air or a soft cloth.