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When I start my really old computer, it continuously and regularly emits long beeps- what does this mean?

intel brand motherboard, the copyright is 1996, really don't know much else about the computer.

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Does the computer start at all? Does your monitor display anything? Are you able to boot into your operating system? –  TataBlack Dec 20 '09 at 19:45
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3 Answers

A motherboard may use the computer speaker to emit a number of beeps (long, short, or a combination of the two) to alert the user of some hardware problem.

It may be a fan which stopped working, a card badly inserted, a failing RAM module, and so on.

You should try to find the exact model of your motherboard, and then search the Internet for its manual - in the "Troubleshooting" section there will probably be a list of "beep" combinations, together with their meaning.

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Short answer - Long Beep = Computer buggered.

Technical answer - If it continuously emits long beeps (repeatedly) it is usually down to a short / motherboard problem such as a card or module has become dislodged - down to inconsistent power.

If you want to read about different types of beeps, I recommend this page.

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While this thread is pretty old and somewhat dead - I thought I'd drop my .02 in the bucket.

On a PC with a Phoenix BIOS, I've had this problem happen because I had a broken keyboard plugged in. So it CAN be something simpler than a totally hosed computer. I swapped out a different keyboard and it booted up just fine.

The beep code page William referenced is helpful - though it doesn't have anything on what I specifically experienced...

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