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.
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.
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.
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...