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Problem booting computer; strange BIOS beeps

Posted on 2003-10-22
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Last Modified: 2008-03-17

Hi,
Yesterday, I was applying some patches to software on my computer, and then was told I would have to reboot in order to apply the changes in the registry.

Upon rebooting, my computer failed to load up. Immediately, it beeped twice, than paused, then it continued to beep (short millisecond beeps) continuously and will not stop beeping until I turn the computer off. Upon hitting the reboot button again, the computer immediately loads the CMOS settings screen and a message appears on the side bar saying something along the lines that my computer failed to boot due to incorrect settings in the frequency timing. I checked this setting and it is at the default of 133.

I tried turning my computer off for several hours to see if it that would help (I leave my computer on for several days at a time without rebooting and therefore felt it could have just overheated, but unlikely)

I checked a page on BIOS error codes and can't find anything for repeated short beeps.

Does anyone else know about this type of error?

Thanks,
Sleepdemon
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Question by:sleepdemon
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Expert Comment

by:qfren
ID: 9604594
hi:

BIOS ERROR SIGNALS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When the computer beep:

Your computer is trying to indicate the source of an error if it does
not want to boot and emits nothing but beeps instead.Here, we explain
the meanings of the most important BIOS signals:

For motherboard with:

AMI BIOS:
---------
One beep: Defective or incorrectly installed RAM
Six beeps: Gate A20-usually indicates a defective keyboard.
Eight beeps: Defective or incorrectly installed video card.
Eleven beeps: Checksum error.Check the battery on the motherboard.

Award BIOS:
----------
One long beep: Memory error.Modules not properly positioned in slots of
motherboard
One long beep,two short beeps:Video card malfunctioning or defective.
One long beep,three short beeps: Defective or not connected keyboard
(indicates  video card error starting with BIOS version 4.5)

Continuous beep:Memory or video card not detected

Phoenix BIOS:
-------------
One beep,one beep, four beeps:BIOS malfunction
One beep, two beep,one beep:Defective motherboard
One beep,three beeps,one beep: Memory problems, modules incorrectly
installed.
Three beeps,one beeps, one beep: Defective motherboard
Three beeps,three beeps,four beeps:Defective or incorrectly installed video card.

q
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Assisted Solution

by:qfren
qfren earned 250 total points
ID: 9604603
hi:

try to reseat VGA card or ur RAM,
Run a RAM memory test  www.memtest86.com or www.simmtester.com



Bare Bones Troubleshooting
=======================================

Remove everything that is installed or connected to your computer so the only things remaining in the case are:

Motherboard, processor, and cooling fan
Graphics card
One stick of RAM
One hard drive
One CD ROM drive

No sound card, no network interface card, no modem, no extra hard drives or CD ROM drives. Especially important is not to have more than one memory stick, and it should be a minimum of 128MB. Connect up the monitor, the keyboard and the mouse and power up the machine.
Go into the BIOS settings and look for a setting for the basic BIOS default configuration.

Reboot and let see....
Once you have the basic operating system in place it's a simple matter to start adding back in the extra memory, drives, and devices that were stripped out initially.

Add the pieces back one memory stick, one hard drive, one network interface card at a time and test the system for proper operation after each addition.


q
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Accepted Solution

by:
AlbertaBeef earned 250 total points
ID: 9611365
More info on beep codes:

AMI BIOS
1 beep Refresh failure
2 beeps Parity error
3 beeps Base 64K memory failure
4 beeps Timer not operational
5 beeps Processor error
6 beeps 8042-gate A20 failure
7 beeps Processor exception interrupt error
8 beeps Display memory read/write failure
9 beeps ROM checksum error
10beeps CMOS shutdown register read/write error
11beeps Cache memory bad

Award BIOS
1 short system boots successfully
2 short CMOS setting error
1 long 1 short DRAM or M/B error
1 long 2 short Monitor or display card error
1 long 3 short Keyboard error
1 long 9 short BIOS ROM error
Continuous long beeps DRAM error
Continuous short beeps Power Error
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Author Comment

by:sleepdemon
ID: 9612262

Ok, so I tried reseating the video card and memory chips... and nothing changed. I then proceeded in removing all hardware from the system and putting them back in one by one. This still did not resolve the problem.

According to AlbertaBeef's post, it looks as if it is probably a power supply error ("Continuous short beeps Power Error"). I've also come to this conclusion based on some websites that I have been looking at recently.

So if it really is a power supply problem, then that makes me feel a lot better. I was concerned that perhaps maybe it was something a lot more expensive than that. I think I probably would have started crying if it was the motherboard (I just replaced it less than a year ago)

The problem is... I've never changed a power supply before. I have one from an old Pentium computer. how would I go about making the switch? Would there be an issue with compatibility? And how can I prevent this from happening again? Would a UPS power supply help?

Sleepdemon
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Expert Comment

by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9612440
Changing a power supply is fairly easy -  but I wouldn't use an old one if this is a reasonably new PC.  Your old power supply from your pentium is probably not up to the task of a P4 or Athlon system if that's what you have.  Invest the $$ at www.pricewatch.com and get a nice 300w power supply starting at $12u.s. including shipping.

http://www.pricewatch.com/1/297/2636-1.htm

To change it, carefully unplug the internal power supply connectors from the motherboard and the devices.
Next, remove the retention screws holding the power supply to the back of the case.
Remove the old psu.

Reverse the process to hook it up.

It's pretty much that easy.  My 13 year old is comfortable doing this, so you should be fine.
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Author Comment

by:sleepdemon
ID: 9612566
Ok, well I am pretty sure that it is not a power supply problem now. I took out the power supply and put it in another computer of mine and it works fine.. so yes, maybe this will be an expensive resolution :)

I was able to find the motherboard manual online (it's an ASUS Cu4VX-E with Intel PIII-900 mhz CPU). And it has an Award BIOS. According to the manual, it appears to be a video card problem. I have already tried to unplug the video card and plug it back in, and that didn't work. So it's possible that the Video RAM is corrupt. I am going to try and find anothe video card to plug in and see if this fixes the problem (I have only had this video card for a year, too - it's an ATI Rage Pro 128).

*Crossing my fingers*

Sleepdemon
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Author Comment

by:sleepdemon
ID: 9612602
Ok - I switched the video card with an old one I had lying around (SiS brand). It's weird because the chipset indicates that it's an AGP card but it doesn't fit in the AGP slot.

Anyway, it fixed part of the problem. I am no longer getting the 1 long beep, 2 short beep problem, but I am still getting the continuous short beeps. And now I am getting error messages during bootup - well, atleast it's something.

A screen appears that I've never seen before (like I don't get the memory check or anything like that). Right away, I get an error that reads:

BIOS ROM Checksum error

Keyboard error or no keyboard present

Detecting floppy drive A media....
Drive A error....System Halt.


What would you say this is?
Has the CMOS gone bad? Am I totally screwed here?
And now that the original video card is definitely part of the problem, is it completely garbage or is it salvageable?

*sigh*

Sleepdemon

 
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Expert Comment

by:qfren
ID: 9612629
hi:
>>And now that the original video card is definitely part of the problem

hv u try this card in another system? or try others card at ur own pc?

>>Detecting floppy drive A media....
Drive A error....System Halt.

what is ur first boot devices?try to set ur first boot devices to Hardisk in BIOS if u set it to floopy currently......


q
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Author Comment

by:sleepdemon
ID: 9612708

Hi qfren,
I don't have another system that has an AGP slot, so I can't try the card in another system.

My first bootable device is the floppy, but I can't get into the CMOS settings screen because it doesn't even get that far. It appears the error I am getting is happening before it even checks memory and storage devices on the system

I did a search and there are other people out there that have had the exact same problems. Although I haven't found any particular discussion that has proven to resolve the problem, it seems everyone is suggesting that to correct the problem, you have to flash the BIOS.

I am going to go back to my motherboard manufacturer's site and see if I can get any information on flashing the BIOS with a bootable disk. If not, I may have to purchase a new chip. And I have no idea if I can even replace it (I am not very proficient with these kinds of things)

Sleepemon
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Author Comment

by:sleepdemon
ID: 9616617

Well, I made a boot disk and put the new BIOS update from my manufacturer (Asus) as well as the AFLASH.EXE update utility on the disk. I created an autoexec.bat file to run the utility with the proper switches.

Amazingly enough, it didn't even run the disk - when I rebooted, it automatically loaded Win2k as normal, but I was using an old SVGA card and needed to install the driver, and then reboot again. Before rebooting, I put back all of the RAM and then reset the computer. When it rebooted, it continued with the CMOS checksum error again.

My attempts for the system to boot from the Floppy disk is not working. It doesn't even read it.

It appears that maybe I'll have to purchase a new chip. None of the computer shops in my area are co-operating. They want to take their sweet old time. I contacted a company aclled BIOSUPGRADES.COM and they have the updated BIOS chips available. With product and shipping, it will cost me $75 USD. And I'll have to wait about 7 days for it to arrive. So either way, it will be awhile before I can get this system up and running again.

I just wish there was any easier way. The rep from BIOSUPGRADES.COM told me that atleast if I could boot from the floppy, they could even just email me the BIOS update file and I could flash it myself. But I can't get that far.

Anyone else have any experience with this?

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Expert Comment

by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9618417
OK, why would you consider $75 USD for just a bios chip when you can purchase a new motherboard for that??  Or less . . .

http://www.pricewatch.com/menus/m2.htm

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Author Comment

by:sleepdemon
ID: 9678440
AlbertaBeef and qfren -
Although my problem has yet to be resolved, I have awarded each of you 250 points to close the question - as a token for the help you have provided.

I will most likely end up having to purchase a new motherboard as this one seems to be causing too many problems at this point.

Thanks,
Sleepdemon
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Expert Comment

by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9678705
thx, and best wishes.
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Expert Comment

by:qfren
ID: 9679137
thanks...good luck... :>)
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