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PC911 > How-To > Miscellaneous > Troubleshooting Boot Problems

Diagnosing beeps

 

The computer beeps several times

If you hear several beeps from the PC speaker, it means that the computer failed its power-on self test (POST) because a problem was detected. The POST is a procedure that tests several components such as power, BIOS, CPU, memory, and video. Only if all those tests pass, the computer will then allow the operating system to load. But if one or more of these tests fail, beeps indicate a problem and the boot process is halted. These errors are a little more difficult to troubleshoot.

To diagnose the problem, listen to the beeps carefully and write down the sequence. Is it one long beep? Is it several short beeps? How many? Once you have the beep sequence documented, you need to find out what it means. What BIOS do you have? When you first turn on the PC, look at the top of the first screen to find out. Common BIOS types are Award, Phoenix, and AMI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Award:

1-2-2Indicates a video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot initialize the video screen to display any additional information
Any other beepsMost likely a RAM problem

You can find more detailed information about Award error messages on Award's web site.

Phoenix:

1-2-2Indicates a video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot initialize the video screen to display any additional information
1-2-2-3BIOS ROM Checksum
1-3-1-1Test DRAM Refresh
1-3-1-3Test Keyboard Controller
1-3-4-1RAM Failure
1-3-4-3RAM Failure
2-1-2-3Check ROM Copyright Notice
2-2-3-1Test for unexpected interrupts
1-3-4-3RAM Failure

You can find more detailed information about Phoenix error messages on Phoenix's web site.

AMI:

1 beepRefresh failure
2 beepsParity error
3 beeps Base 64K memory failure
4 beepsTimer not operational
5 beepsProcessor error
6 beeps8042 - gate A20 failure
7 beepsProcessor exception interrupt error
8 beepsDisplay memory read/write failure
9 beepsROM checksum error
10 beepsCMOS shutdown register read/write error
11 beepsCache memory bad

You can find more detailed information about AMI error messages on AMI's web site.

If you get beep errors, you should try to think what happened right before they started. Did you add a new piece of hardware? If so, it might be faulty or not installed right. Remove it, then try again. If everything is fine without the hardware, try to reinstall and configure the hardware again. If that does not help, try exchanging it and see if that corrects the problem. If the error persists, narrow it down systematically. Remove everything but the CPU, memory, keyboard, and video card, then boot again. Does the error still occur? If not, then add one piece of hardware and try again. Repeat until one new component causes the error and you now know who the culprit is. If yes, then reseat your CPU, memory and video card and try again. If the error still happens, try replacing the CPU, video card and memory one by one to see if one of them is the troublemaker. If that does not help, you could have a bad motherboard. Check the motherboard carefully for any signs of damage. Also check for shorts, a metallic object could have found its way onto the motherboard, or the motherboard is not installed correctly and touches the case somewhere.

Page 1: Computer boot problems
Page 2: This page
Page 3: System hanging after POST
Page 4: POST running OK but Windows not starting

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