If your computer fails during the power-on-self-test (POST), the BIOS beep codes may be your only clue to finding the problem. But if you don’t know what to listen for, you might as well be listening to the song of an African swallow. To make deciphering your computer’s beeps a little easier, we compiled a list of common BIOS beep codes from AMI, Award, Phoenix, Dell, and we recently added HP and IBM to the list. Here’s a brief explanation of what you’ll find in our BIOS beep codes list download.

An introduction to BIOS beep codes
When you power on your computer, the motherboard’s basic input/output system (BIOS) first detects the computer’s internal hardware configuration. It then performs the POST, which executes several diagnostic tests that check the basic functionality of the power supply, motherboard, CPU, I/O Bus Controller, RAM, keyboard, and video components. If the computer passes the POST, it will usually return a single, short beep or two short beeps, depending on the BIOS manufacture. If the POST detects any problems, it will halt the boot process and return an error message either visually on the screen and/or audibly through a series of beeps.

Unfortunately, there is no official standard for beep codes. Depending on the BIOS manufacturer, a keyboard controller failure could be three, four, five, or six beeps. While this document lists common BIOS manufacturer beep codes, you should always consult your motherboard’s documentation, the manufacturer’s Web site, and the BIOS manufacturer’s Web site for a definitive beep code list for your particular BIOS. The information contained in this download was gathered from various BIOS manufacturers’ Web sites.

AwardBIOS beep codes
Here’s an example of how we’ve listed the beep codes in our download. Notice that we also included a link to the manufacturer’s Web site.

AwardBIOS beep codes
Number of beeps Problem Description Troubleshooting Recommendation
1 long & 2 short Video error Check the video card.
Any other beeps RAM problem Reseat the RAM or replace with known good chips.

Major PC manufactures
For those major PC manufacturers that use a variety of motherboards and BIOS configurations, we’ve provided links to beep code pages for multiple PC models.

Download our updated BIOS beep codes list
You can download our updated BIOS beep codes list by following this link or by clicking on the Downloads link in the navigation bar on the left of this page. TechRepublic has many useful documents, templates, and applications available for download, so be sure to check out our other offerings.

Our updated BIOS beep codes download is available both as a Microsoft Word document and an Adobe PDF file. To increase download speed, we have zipped these two files together into one file named Bios_beep_codes_list2.zip. You will need an unzip utility such as WinZip or PKZIP to expand the zipped file. You will also need either Microsoft Word or the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view each respective document. You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader here.