Friday, April 02, 2004

What do those beeps mean?


One question I am frequently asked is: "What do those beeps my computer makes, when it is starting up, mean?" The answer to that question is both simple and complicated at the same time.

Those beeps are called the BIOS beep code. It is an audible code that may beep in a specific pattern to indicate what the problem may be with the system. When the computer system is starting to boot up it performs a "Power On Self Test" or the "POST." At the completion of the POST if there are no problems detected there is usually a short beep and the operating system is loaded.

During the POST, if there is a problem starting the system there may be a visual error message on the display as well describing the problem. If the problem is happening before the video is initialized than the BIOS will play audible beeps to let you know there is a problem. The beep codes can be difficult to determine what they mean. You need to listen carefully for the beeps to determine what the pattern may be.

AMI and Award are the most common BIOS' at this time. They are writing the BIOS for most motherboard manufacturers as well as custom BIOS' for the majority of computer manufacturers. Below is a list of some of the most common AMI and Award BIOS beep codes. Depending on the type of BIOS you have or the brand of your computer there may be different beep patterns.

However, manufacturers of motherboards and the BIOS companies usually have copies of the code for your specific motherboard and BIOS.

Click here for the explanations of both BIOS codes.


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