The beeps are commonly referred to as beep codes. They provide an indication, usually about state of some hardware.
A beep code is the audio signal given out by a computer to announce
the result of a short diagnostic testing sequence the computer
performs when first powering up (called the Power-On-Self-Test or POST
). The POST is a small program contained in the computer's Basic
Input/Output Operating System ( BIOS ) that checks to make sure
necessary hardware is present and required memory is accessible. If
everything tests out correctly, the computer will typically emit a
single beep and continue the starting-up process. If something is
wrong, the computer will display an error message on the monitor
screen and announce the errors audibly with a series of beeps that
vary in pitch, number and duration (this is especially useful when the
error exists with the monitor or graphic components). The beeping
sequence is really a coded message (beep code) designed to tell the
user what is wrong with the computer.
There is no official standard for beep codes; audio patterns vary
according to the manufacturer of the computer's BIOS program. If an
error message is beeped on startup, the user must first determine what
kind of BIOS the computer is running (Phoenix or AMI are the most
popular) and use that information to look up the particular beep code
sequence that is being sent. BIOS information and beep code
interpretations can be found in the manual that comes with the
computer and on the manufacturer's Web site.
So, to understand it, the first thing you need to do is find out what BIOS you have (this can be achieved by reading the manual. If you don't have one, the manufacturer usually keeps an electronic copy on their site. Also see How can I find out what motherboard is in my computer?
Now, the beep codes:
AMI BIOS beep codes
Below are the AMI BIOS Beep codes that can occur. However, because of the wide variety of different computer manufacturers with this BIOS, the beep codes may vary.
Beep Code Descriptions
1 short DRAM refresh failure
2 short Parity circuit failure
3 short Base 64K RAM failure
4 short System timer failure
5 short Processor failure
6 short Keyboard controller Gate A20 error
7 short Virtual mode exception error
8 short Display memory Read/Write test failure
9 short ROM BIOS checksum failure
10 short CMOS shutdown Read/Write error
11 short Cache Memory error
1 long, 3 short Conventional/Extended memory failure
1 long, 8 short Display/Retrace test failed
AWARD BIOS beep codes
Below are Award BIOS Beep codes that can occur. However, because of the wide variety of different computer manufacturers with this BIOS, the beep codes may vary.
Beep Code Description
1 long, 2 short Indicates a video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot initialize the video screen to display any additional information
Any other beep(s) RAM problem.
If any other correctable hardware issues is found the BIOS displays a message.
IBM BIOS beep codes
Below are general IBM BIOS Beep codes that can occur. However, because of the wide variety of models shipping with this BIOS, the beep codes may vary.
Beep Code Description
No Beeps No Power, Loose Card, or Short.
1 Short Beep Normal POST, computer is ok.
2 Short Beep POST error, review screen for error code.
Continuous Beep No Power, Loose Card, or Short.
Repeating Short Beep No Power, Loose Card, or Short.
One Long and one Short Beep Motherboard issue.
One Long and Two Short Beeps Video (Mono/CGA Display Circuitry) issue.
One Long and Three Short Beeps. Video (EGA) Display Circuitry.
Three Long Beeps Keyboard or Keyboard card error.
One Beep, Blank or Incorrect Display Video Display Circuitry.
Macintosh startup tones
Error Tone. (two sets of different tones) Problem with logic board or SCSI bus.
Startup tone, drive spins, no video Problem with video controller.
Powers on, no tone. Logic board problem.
High Tone, four higher tones. Problem with SIMM.
Phoenix BIOS beep codes
Below are the beep codes for Phoenix BIOS Q3.07 OR 4.X
Beep Code Description and what to check
1-1-1-3 Verify Real Mode.
1-1-2-1 Get CPU Type.
1-1-2-3 Initialize system hardware.
1-1-3-1 Initialize chipset registers with initial POST values.
1-1-3-2 Set in POST flag.
1-1-3-3 Initialize CPU registers.
1-1-4-1 Initialize cache to initial POST values.
1-1-4-3 Initialize I/O.
1-2-1-1 Initialize Power Management.
1-2-1-2 Load alternate registers with initial POST values.
1-2-1-3 Jump to UserPatch0.
1-2-2-1 Initialize keyboard controller.
1-2-2-3 BIOS ROM checksum.
1-2-3-1 8254 timer initialization.
1-2-3-3 8237 DMA controller initialization.
1-2-4-1 Reset Programmable Interrupt Controller.
1-3-1-1 Test DRAM refresh.
1-3-1-3 Test 8742 Keyboard Controller.
1-3-2-1 Set ES segment to register to 4 GB.
1-3-3-1 28 Autosize DRAM.
1-3-3-3 Clear 512K base RAM.
1-3-4-1 Test 512 base address lines.
1-3-4-3 Test 512K base memory.
1-4-1-3 Test CPU bus-clock frequency.
1-4-2-4 Reinitialize the chipset.
1-4-3-1 Shadow system BIOS ROM.
1-4-3-2 Reinitialize the cache.
1-4-3-3 Autosize cache.
1-4-4-1 Configure advanced chipset registers.
1-4-4-2 Load alternate registers with CMOS values.
2-1-1-1 Set Initial CPU speed.
2-1-1-3 Initialize interrupt vectors.
2-1-2-1 Initialize BIOS interrupts.
2-1-2-3 Check ROM copyright notice.
2-1-2-4 Initialize manager for PCI Options ROMs.
2-1-3-1 Check video configuration against CMOS.
2-1-3-2 Initialize PCI bus and devices.
2-1-3-3 Initialize all video adapters in system.
2-1-4-1 Shadow video BIOS ROM.
2-1-4-3 Display copyright notice.
2-2-1-1 Display CPU Type and speed.
2-2-1-3 Test keyboard.
2-2-2-1 Set key click if enabled.
2-2-2-3 56 Enable keyboard.
2-2-3-1 Test for unexpected interrupts.
2-2-3-3 Display prompt Press F2 to enter SETUP.
2-2-4-1 Test RAM between 512 and 640k.
2-3-1-1 Test expanded memory.
2-3-1-3 Test extended memory address lines.
2-3-2-1 Jump to UserPatch1.
2-3-2-3 Configure advanced cache registers.
2-3-3-1 Enable external and CPU caches.
2-3-3-3 Display external cache size.
2-3-4-1 Display shadow message.
2-3-4-3 Display non-disposable segments.
2-4-1-1 Display error messages.
2-4-1-3 Check for configuration errors.
2-4-2-1 Test real-time clock.
2-4-2-3 Check for keyboard errors
2-4-4-1 Set up hardware interrupts vectors.
2-4-4-3 Test coprocessor if present.
3-1-1-1 Disable onboard I/O ports.
3-1-1-3 Detect and install external RS232 ports.
3-1-2-1 Detect and install external parallel ports.
3-1-2-3 Re-initialize onboard I/O ports.
3-1-3-1 Initialize BIOS Data Area.
3-1-3-3 Initialize Extended BIOS Data Area.
3-1-4-1 Initialize floppy controller.
3-2-1-1 Initialize hard disk controller.
3-2-1-2 Initialize local bus hard disk controller.
3-2-1-3 Jump to UserPatch2.
3-2-2-1 Disable A20 address line.
3-2-2-3 Clear huge ES segment register.
3-2-3-1 Search for option ROMs.
3-2-3-3 Shadow option ROMs.
3-2-4-1 Set up Power Management.
3-2-4-3 Enable hardware interrupts.
3-3-1-1 Set time of day.
3-3-1-3 Check key lock.
3-3-3-1 Erase F2 prompt.
3-3-3-3 Scan for F2 key stroke.
3-3-4-1 Enter SETUP.
3-3-4-3 Clear in POST flag.
3-4-1-1 Check for errors
3-4-1-3 POST done - prepare to boot operating system.
3-4-2-1 One beep.
3-4-2-3 Check password (optional).
3-4-3-1 Clear global descriptor table.
3-4-4-1 Clear parity checkers.
3-4-4-3 Clear screen (optional).
3-4-4-4 Check virus and backup reminders.
4-1-1-1 Try to boot with INT 19.
4-2-1-1 Interrupt handler error.
4-2-1-3 Unknown interrupt error.
4-2-2-1 Pending interrupt error.
4-2-2-3 Initialize option ROM error.
4-2-3-1 Shutdown error.
4-2-3-3 Extended Block Move.
4-2-4-1 Shutdown 10 error.
4-3-1-3 Initialize the chipset.
4-3-1-4 Initialize refresh counter.
4-3-2-1 Check for Forced Flash.
4-3-2-2 Check HW status of ROM.
4-3-2-3 BIOS ROM is OK.
4-3-2-4 Do a complete RAM test.
4-3-3-1 Do OEM initialization.
4-3-3-2 Initialize interrupt controller.
4-3-3-3 Read in bootstrap code.
4-3-3-4 Initialize all vectors.
4-3-4-1 Boot the Flash program.
4-3-4-2 Initialize the boot device.
4-3-4-3 Boot code was read OK.
AMI UEFI beep codes
Beep code Description Debug code
No beep Bad CPU No debug code
No beep Bad memory 45
3 long beeps Without memory 53
No beep(no power) Without CPU No debug code
5 long beeps Without VGA card Beeps at”d6”, then show "0d"