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An Understanding of What Computer Beep Codes Mean, and What How to Recognise Them

A beep code is an audio signal given out by a computer to announce the result of a short diagnostic testing sequence the computer performs when first powering up, a process called the Power-On-Self-Test( 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.

The system BIOS is found on a Read Only Memory (ROM) chip on the motherboard used by the computer during the start-up routine (boot process) to check out the system and prepare to run the hardware tests.  This is because ROM retains information even when no power is being supplied to the computer.

There are several ways to recognize computer beeps when booting/starting your computer, computer beeps can be recognized when you hear one or a more series of computer beeps indicating that your computer had an issue. When you hear one short beep, know that your computer is normal and indicates that your system is booting/starting up. Each series of beeps corresponds to a different issue and points to a different problem area within your computer. Once confirmed, then one can go through with the  troubleshooting steps to diagnose the issue. However, because of the wide variety of different computer manufacturers with this BIOS, the beep codes may vary in the number of times they beep to indicate a problem. 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 a coded message (beep code) designed to tell the user what is wrong with the computer.

The table below shows a few Dells beep codes with their related issue.

Beep codes


1 beep code

The ROM is either corrupted or has failed to work.

2 beep codes

RAM (Read Access Memory) is not detected

3 beep codes

Motherboard Failure

4 beep codes

RAM failure

5 beep codes

CMOS battery failure

6 beep codes

Video card failure



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