You open your computer and hear several long and short beeps, and then it fails to start. The monitor fails to show anything on the screen, so it’s difficult to assess the problems through error codes.

I know that PC beeps indicate something wrong with the computer, but the tricky part is how to diagnose the problem just by listening to the beeps. I’ve done some research, and here’s what I found out.

pc beeps

What is considered a normal PC beep?

It’s normal for a PC to beep once upon startup. This is called a Power-On Self Test (POST). This usually indicates that the system has received power and is booting up and preparing the components for use.

How do you know if it’s an error beep?

It’s essential to know the type of error beep so you can apply basic troubleshooting and isolate the problematic component. You will know it’s an error beep if it’s two beeps, a long beep, or a series of long and short beeps. A black screen monitor will usually accompany this.

The first thing to identify is the type of computer, basically the brand or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) such as HP, Lenovo, or IBM. Why? This will be the basis of the beep code search you need to make.

Every manufacturer has a different beep error code, and it would be best to check their website for reliable information on beep codes. For instance, my computer is an HP, so I can simply check for error beep code and troubleshooting information on the HP website.

Basic troubleshooting

Even though every OEM has different beep error codes, there are basic troubleshooting methods you can follow. The problem might only be simple and can be resolved without calling a computer technician. Here are some of the techniques I tried:

  1. Check the keyboard for stuck keys that might be causing the beeping sound.
  2. The system could be overheating, so clean the dust vents and carefully vacuum the area around the heatsink. Place the computer in an area with proper ventilation and remove any objects blocking the vents.
  3. Ensure all power cables are plugged in and cords are inserted tightly into the ports.
  4. Disconnect all external devices (speakers, USB flash drives, etc.) and see if the beeping stops. If it does, there might be a problem with one of the external devices.
  5. Shut down the computer’s power, open up the casing, and remove and re-insert the internal components such as the memory card, sound card, and video card to ensure it is securely in place.
  6. If you have spare components (i.e., memory card, video card), remove and replace each of the components, then turn on the computer to isolate which ones work and which are causing the problems.

List down all the possible beep changes that you diagnose. If things become too complicated and nothing in the above methods works, it is time to throw in the towel and call a professional computer technician.


Perform basic troubleshooting with extra caution to make sure you won’t do further damage to the components. Do your beep code research and don’t forget to read the computer manufacturer’s manual.


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