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What is a BIOS Beep Code?

When you power on a computer the BIOS immediately takes control of the computer and performs the P.O.S.T (Power On Self Test). At the end of the POST the computer will play an audible 'BEEP' through either the PC's internal speaker of through speakers attached to the sound card (if you have a built-in sound chip). If the POST completed successfully without detecting any problems with then system will play a single short beep to let you know the test is complete and the computer will continue to startup and load the operating system.

If during the POST the BIOS detects a problem it will normally display a visual error message on the monitor explaining what the problem is. However, if a problem is detected before the BIOS initializes the video card, or a video card is not present or not detected then the BIOS will play several 'BEEPS' through the speaker to let you know there is a problem. Depending on the type of the BIOS you have the BIOS may play beeps in a specific pattern to indicate what the problem is, or play the same beep a number of times indicating the problem. It is very important that you pay close attention to the number and/or pattern of the beeps your computer plays on startup.

Below is a table of the most common AMI, Phoenix and Award BIOS beep codes.


  • 1 Beep - Memory Refresh Failure (check memory)
  • 2 Beeps - Memory Parity Error in first 64KB block (check memory)
  • 3 Beeps - Memory Read/Write Error in first 64KB block (check memory)
  • 4 Beeps - Motherboard timer not functioning (possible motherboard replacement)
  • 5 Beeps - Processor Error (may need replacement Processor)
  • 6 Beeps - Gate A20/keyboard controller failure (possible motherboard replacement)
  • 7 Beeps - Processor Exception Interrupt Error (may need replacement Processor)
  • 8 Beeps - Display Memory Read/Write Failure (reseat or replace video card)
  • 9 Beeps - ROM checksum Error (replace BIOS chip or motherboard)
  • 10 Beeps - CMOS shutdown Read/Write error (possible motherboard replacement)
  • 11 Beeps - Bad Cache Memory - test failed (replace cache memory)


Phoenix BIOS beep codes are a series of beeps separated by a pause, for example:
beep --- beep beep --- beep --- beep beep would be 1-2-1-2
  • 1-1-4-1 - Cache Error (level 2)
  • 1-2-2-3 - BIOS ROM Checksum
  • 1-3-1-1 - DRAM Refresh Test
  • 1-3-1-3 - Keyboard controller test
  • 1-3-4-1 - RAM Failure on address line xxxx (check memory)
  • 1-3-4-3 - RAM Failure on data bits xxxx of low byte of memory bus
  • 1-4-1-1 - RAM Failure on data bits xxxx of high byte of memory bus
  • 2-1-2-3 - ROM copyright notice
  • 2-2-3-1 - Test for unexpected interrupts


There are 2 main beep codes for the Award BIOS:
  • one long beep and two short beeps - Video error (reseat or replace video card)
  • two short beeps - Non-Fatal Error (reseat RAM, check other components)

More on BIOS beep codes or numeric codes see the manufacturer's website:

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