The seemingly random beeps your computer makes each time it boots up are actually a set of codes used by the computer's BIOS (Basic Input Output System) to identify the operating status of system hardware. When a piece of hardware on your system is not performing up to specifications, you can use these BIOS beep codes to identify the issue with your system. Unfortunately, the BIOS beep codes are not universal and will therefore depend on your motherboard manufacturer and BIOS version.
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The Power-On Self Test (POST) of any computer runs just after the BIOS initialises and runs a complete systems check of all hardware before continuing the boot process. By listening to the POST beeps, a seasoned computer technician can identify any issues with a machine. Unfortunately, since BIOS beep codes are not standardised, you will need to look up your specific beep codes if you do not have the codes for your system memorised.
AMI Beep Codes
One to three short beeps signifies a memory error involving RAM or DRAM. This is a part of the initial boot process and is likely something to do with your system's memory, either through installation or hardware failure. Four beeps signifies a failure in your system timer, while five beeps signifies a CPU failure. Both of these errors means you will likely have to replace your system's processor. Six to 11 short beeps signify an error with hardware integrated into the motherboard and will likely mean that your motherboard needs a replacement.
Award Beep Codes
The Award BIOS system is a little less complicated when compared with the AMI system of codes. One long beep and two short signifies an error with the video card. Any repeating beeps signifies an error with the system memory. Lastly, any alternating and repeating high and low beeps signifies an error with the CPU. While these error codes may seem a bit broader than their AMI counterparts, the fixes are relatively similar and require either a processor or motherboard replacement.
IBM Beep Codes
Two short beeps from any IBM BIOS will produce an error message that can be read on the screen. No beeps, continuous beeps, or repetitive short beeps means there is a power supply or motherboard error. One long beep and two or three short beeps means that there is an error with the system's video adaptor. Three long beeps means that there is a general keyboard error that may deal with the connection or the keyboard itself.
Phoenix Beep Codes
Phoenix provides a more complex and comprehensive set of beep codes than any other BIOS manufacturer. With a Phoenix BIOS you can literally identify just about any hardware error from the beep codes alone, though you will need a reference guide to do so. Any motherboard running a Phoenix BIOS should come equipped with a reference guide for interpreting the BIOS beep codes for your system.
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