A computer that is having trouble booting will often emit a series of beeps through the internal speaker. These beeps are meant to relay information to the user about what type of problem is preventing the computer from booting. Here are a few of the most common beep codes and the type of problem they indicate.
1 Short Beep
A single beep is normal for most BIOS versions and means that the computer is booting properly. This beep is intended as an indication that everything is working correctly.
1 Long Beep, then 2 or 3 Short Beeps
These beep codes indicate a problem with the video card. Turn off the computer and check that the video card is seated properly in its slot, or replace the card if necessary.
1 High-Pitched Beep, then a Low-Pitched Beep
This error often repeats and indicates a problem with the CPU. Turn off the computer and make sure the CPU is properly installed and that the heat sink is working properly.
Repeating High-Pitched Beep
This beep code is usually a warning of a CPU that has overheated. Turn off the computer immediately and check that the heat sink is working properly. A CPU that continues to overheat could cause damage to itself and other components.
Other Beep Codes
Most other beep codes indicate some type of problem with the RAM. Turn off the computer and check that the RAM sticks are seated properly in their slots. Also make sure that the RAM sticks match, as some motherboards require matching sticks to work properly. Lastly, try replacing the RAM to see if it resolves the problem, as malfunctioning RAM sticks could be the culprit.
Once you have a better understanding of the beep codes your computer may emit, you will be better prepared to deal with any problems that arise. Bookmark this list for future reference so that you can refer to it when your computer is giving you a beep code.