BIOS Beep Codes and what they mean

When your computer has a problem that won’t let it start up properly, the first thing you will hear is warning beeps. This could be because of hardware or sometimes due to the BIOS itself.

Knowing what these beeps mean can help a long way in identifying the problem. But unfortunately, these beeps codes are not standardised. So a beep code of a particular brand BIOS may mean something different than the same beep code of another brand. However, there are two popular BIOS vendors – AMI and Award and chances are pretty good that the BIOS in your computer is one of these. If it is not, please refer to the motherboard manufacturer’s or the BIOS vendor’s manual for details. To make things difficult, motherboard manufacturers may modify the beep codes to suit their convenience. So the meaning of the beep codes that I have listed here should be right for you but there is no guarantee. Here are some common beep codes and their meanings:

AMI BIOS (American Megatrends Inc.)

1 Beep: RAM Failure
2 Beeps: Parity Circuit Failure
3 Beeps: Base 64K RAM Failure
4 Beeps: System Timer Failure
5 Beeps: Processor Failure
6 Beeps: Keyboard controller or gate A20 failure
7 Beeps: Virtual mode exception error
8 Beeps: Display memory read/write failure
9 Beeps: BIOS’ ROM checksum failure
10 Beeps: CMOS shutdown register read/write error
11 Beeps: Cache memory error
Continuous Beeps: Video/Memory problem
Other Beeps: Check Motherboard manual

Award BIOS

Award has the least number of documented beep codes. They prefer to display an error message on the screen. Beep codes are used only if the BIOS can’t access the display subsystem.

One long beep: Memory problem
One long and two short beeps: Video error
One long and three short beeps: Video error
Continuous beeps: Video/memory problem
Other beeps: Check the motherboard manual

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