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What do the beep codes mean?

True story – We had a local customer whose computer was beeping constantly through its PC speaker, even though it seemed to be working perfectly. Our customer happened to be a retired navy man who knew Morse code very well. After a couple hours of listening to the beeping he found two Morse code messages that he believed we overlaid on top of one and other. According to our customer, the messages were “Why aren’t you listening to me” and “Can’t you hear me.”

While we would never doubt the sincerity of one of our customers, typically BIOS beep codes are pretty simple to figure out. Use the charts below to learn what your computer is trying to tell you when it seems to be beeping uncontrollably.

IBM BIOS BEEP CHART:

BEEPS
ERROR DESCRIPTION
1 Short
Completely normal, no errors detected.
2 Short
Initialization Error, DMA, ROM, Floppy, Serial or Parallel
1 Long, 1 Short
Motherboard malfunction
1 Long, 2 Short
Video card malfunction or problem with video RAM
1 Long, 3 Short
Video card malfunction
No Beeping
Bad power supply or system board (or no PC speaker hooked up)
Continuous Beeping
Bad power supply, processor, or system board
Repeating Short
Bad power supply, processor, or system board

AMERICAN MEGATRENDS (AMI) BEEP CHART

BEEPS
ERROR DESCRIPTION
1 Beep
Memory timing error
2 Beeps
Mismatched memory parity
3 Beeps
Memory malfunction
4 Beeps
Motherboard malfunction
5 Beeps
Bad CPU
6 Beeps
Keyboard controller error
7 Beeps
General exception error
8 Beeps
Video memory error
9 Beeps
Bad ROM checksum
10 Beeps
CMOS error
11 Beeps
Bad cache RAM

AWARD BIOS BEEP CHART

BEEPS
ERROR DESCRIPTION
1 Long
Memory malfunction
1 Long 2 Short
Video malfunction
1 Long 3 Short
Video/motherboard malfunction
Continuous Beeping
Memory or video malfunction
Other Beeps
Bad system RAM
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