Is your computer making a beeping sound when it starts up…and then not actually booting up? No, you’re not crazy, your computer is actually beeping, and the sound may be coming from inside your computer, not from your speakers.
These beeps are called beep codes and are used by the BIOS (the software that runs your computer’s hardware) during POST (an initial test to make sure your computer is OK to start with) to report certain initial system errors .
If you are hearing beep codes after turning on the computer, it usually means that the motherboard has encountered some type of problem before it can send any type of error information to the monitor. The beeping, then, is a way of letting you know of a problem when the computer is unable to display an appropriate error on the screen.
Follow the steps below to determine what computer problem the beep code is representing. Once you know what’s wrong, you can work to fix the problem.
How to fix problems with beep codes
Figuring out why your computer is making beeping sounds should only take 10-15 minutes. Solving that problem you identify is another task entirely and could take anywhere from a few minutes to hours, depending on what the problem turns out to be.
- Turn on the computer or restart it if it is already on.
- Listen very carefully for the beep codes that sound as the computer begins to boot up.
Reboot your computer if you need to hear the beeps again. It probably won’t make any problem you’re having worse if you restart it a few times.
- Write down, in any way that makes sense to you, what the beeps sound like.
Pay close attention to the number of beeps, whether the beeps are long or short (or all the same length), and whether or not the beeps repeat. There is a big difference between a “beep-beep-beep-beep” code and a “beep-beep” code.
I know this may all sound a bit crazy, but it is important information that will help determine what problem the beep codes are representing. If you’re wrong, you’re trying to solve a problem your computer doesn’t have and ignoring the real one.
- Next, you’ll need to find out which company made the BIOS chip that’s on your computer’s motherboard. Unfortunately, the computer industry has never agreed on a uniform way to communicate with beeps, so it’s important to get this right.
The easiest way to find out is by installing one of these free system information tools, which will tell you if your BIOS is made by AMI, Award, Phoenix, or another company. If this doesn’t work, you can open your computer and take a look at the BIOS chip on the computer’s motherboard, which should have your company name printed on or next to it.
Your computer’s manufacturer is not the same as the BIOS and your motherboard’s is not necessarily the same as the BIOS, so don’t assume you already know the correct answer to this question.
- Now that you know the BIOS manufacturer, choose the troubleshooting guide below based on that information:
- AMI Beep Code Troubleshooting (AMIBIOS)
- Troubleshooting Award Tone Code (AwardBIOS)
- Phoenix Beep Code Troubleshooting (PhoenixBIOS)
- Using the beep code information specific to those BIOS manufacturers in those articles, you’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s wrong that’s causing the beep, whether it’s a RAM issue, a video card issue, or some other issue. hardware.
More help with beep codes
Some computers, even if they have BIOS firmware made by a particular company, like AMI or Award, further customize their beep-to-problem language, which makes this process a bit frustrating. If you think this might be the case, or are just concerned that it might be, almost every computer manufacturer publishes their list of beep codes in their user guides, which you can probably find online.
See How to Find Technical Support Information if you need help digging up your computer’s manual online.
Still don’t know what the codes mean? See Get More Help for information on how to contact me on social media or by email, post in support forums, and more.