Computers that have more than one beep when powered on usually have an error. Beeping sounds that originate from the motherboard, rather than through the speakers, are caused by errors. By listening for the number and type of beeps, an error can be diagnosed. All HP computers share a common set of beep codes, while some HP computers have an additional set. To analyse beep codes, one must know the computer's BIOS manufacturer. This information can be found by pressing F2 at start-up.
Basic HP beep codes
There are three basic beep codes common to all HP computers. These codes can be heard after powering on a computer. When listening for beeps, keep in mind that a single short beep that occurs while a computer is booting is normally just an indication that the boot process was successful. The first HP beep code to be aware of is a single short beep followed by a single long beep; this code indicates a problem with the computer's memory. Two short beeps followed by a long beep indicates a video card problem, and three short beeps followed by a long beep is a warning of a processor problem.
Beyond the basic single short beep and single long beep code for memory problems, some HP computers have a more specific set of codes to diagnose faulty memory. HP computers with a AMI BIOS may beep one, two or three times during the boot process if the computer's memory isn't working correctly. HP computers with a Phoenix BIOS use a four-beep code set, with the following beep code representing memory problems: two beeps followed by two beeps followed by four beeps followed by one beep.
A computer's processor is responsible for translating and directing data to the computer's main components. If a processor is improperly seated, faulty or incompatible with a computer's other parts, it will cause an error beep while booting. Computers with AMI BIOS will beep anywhere from four to seven times if a processor is creating a problem when the computer is turned on. HP computers that use Award BIOS systems will have a single beep that plays until the computer is powered off when it experiences a processor error.
There are almost unlimited potential beep code combinations in computers, as some beep codes errors may be resolved only to be followed by a new beep code. Checking the basic beep codes related to memory and processors can help diagnose common computer failures. Memory can be removed and replaced to rule out potential problems. Processors should be checked for proper seating and all computer fans should be verified to be in working order. Sometimes lack of air flow within a tower will cause beeping, because parts may fail to operate due to overheating. Replacing components that create error codes will restore function to the computer and end beep code errors.