How Do I Fix 4 Beeps on Startup?


So you’ve booted or turned on your PC or notebook PC. However, it won’t load Windows and at startup, you keep hearing 4 beeps before it shuts down on its own. What’s going on? How do you fix this?

Quick Answer:

“The system clock/timer IC has failed or there is a memory error in the first bank of memory” is what four beeps mean. When things go wrong, you can reset the CMOS. Then try again to restart.

Computer Beeps 4 Times On Startup (Why This Happens)

  • Troubleshoot The Beep Codes.
  • Find Out The BIOS-Chip Brand.
  • Learn What The Beep Code Means.
  • Fix The Issue.
  • Reseat The RAM Sticks.
  • Replace The RAM Sticks.
  • Reseat Expansion Cards.
  • Replace Expansion Cards.

It’s a nightmare scenario to end up having your notebook or desk PC not working when booted up, only to hear those dreaded 4 short beeps. On that note, what are those 4 beeps at startup supposed to signify and how are you supposed to address them?

How Do I Fix 4 Beeps on Startup?

Getting 4 beeps on startup typically (but not always) means you have a “System Timer Failure”. PCs or laptops with such issues mostly require an overhaul. It could mean different things depending on the brand of BIOS your desktop PC or laptop has.

This could mean, for example, that you might need to replace things like one of your RAMs, the power supply, the PC case, the HDD, or even the CPU fan. The 4 beeps on startup is a board issue.

How to Specifically Troubleshoot This

To troubleshoot this, you need to remove the RAM from their slots then clean them. Use compressed air to blow the slots free of dust then use a pencil eraser to clean the contacts on the RAM. You can clean the RAM then reseat them.

Do so one by one to tell which ones are bad and which ones are good if you have multiple RAM sticks. Indeed, there are times when even this isn’t enough to save your RAM, thus necessitating replacement.

If it’s an issue with the video cards, make sure they’re correctly seated on their slot. If that doesn’t fix the issue, get them checked out by a technician.  If your peripheral controllers have gone bad you can only replace them.

If putting in new RAM won’t solve the problem then perhaps the motherboard itself has gone bad altogether.

The 4 Beeps Issue by BIOS Brand

4 beeps mean different things depending on the brand of your PC’s BIOS. Check the manual or the label on your BIOS to get its specific brand then refer to the list below.

AMI (American Megatrends)

The AMI BIOS is manufactured by American Megatrends. Multiple motherboard makers use this BIOS chip brand. If you get 4 beeps on the AMI BIOS, this indicates an issue with the clock IC or motherboard timer.

It could also indicate a RAM module issue, particularly the one located on the first bank of memory or any of the expansion cards. Or all of them, even.

Dell

The BIOS made by Dell for Dell computers also has the 4 beeps code. This indicates that your RAM is bad, which is a similar issue with the AMI BIOS.

AST

4 beeps on an AST BIOS chip PC means it’s a bad keyboard or bad keyboard controller as well. A long beep followed by 3 short beeps indicates that your video adapter’s memory has failed.

Mylex

As for the Mylex brand of BIOS, 4 beeps means the keyboard or the controller IC on the motherboard has experienced failure.

Q & A

How to Find and Fix Beep Codes

  • Power on the computer, or if it’s already on, restart it.
  • When the computer starts up, pay close attention to the beep codes that it makes.
  • Write down how the beeps sound in any way that makes sense to you.

What do 4 beeps on a Dell computer mean?

4 beeps indicate a Memory Read / Write failure. Try re-seating the Memory module by removing and reinserting it in the slot.

How do I reset my RAM?

Why is my Dell XPS beeping?

This article takes you through the beep codes for the Dell Inspiron, Vostro, OptiPlex, and XPS computers. XPS Desktops.

Repetitive Beep CodeError DescriptionSuggested Next Step
4RAM read/write failure.Troubleshoot the Memory.

Why is my Dell computer beeping when I turn it on?

In case hardware components are working well, your computer or notebook may give a single beep and it will continue to boot your Windows operating system. Also, if hardware components (graphic card, RAM, CPU, motherboard, CMOS, or others) are not working well, your computer will generate beep codes, which you can hear.

Why is my Dell beeping?

This article is a guide to the various diagnostics Beep Codes used by the various Dell Notebook PCs.XPS Notebooks.

Beep CodeError DescriptionSuggested Next Step
6Video card/chip failureRun the Dell Diagnostics
7Central Processing Unit (CPU) FailureRun the Dell Diagnostics
8LCD FailureContact Technical Support

What do 5 beeps on a computer mean?

Five short beeps mean there has been a processor error. A damaged expansion card, the CPU, or the motherboard could be prompting this AMI beep code. Start by reseating the CPU. If that doesn’t work, try reseating any expansion cards.

Why does my computer keep beeping and won’t turn on?

A computer will beep and refuse to boot if new hardware is installed incorrectly. The hardware may be incompatible with the motherboard if it is correctly installed and still creating POST errors. For example, Intel boards beep twice in POST if the CPU is incompatible.

Things to Consider

When diagnosing what’s wrong with your laptop or desktop PC you must make sure you heard 4 short beeps because they signify a different issue from 1 long beep or 3 short beeps. Turn on your computer and listen to the beeps.

If you remain unsure, restart your PC and listen again. Restarting won’t cause you a problem and you need to hear the beeps to know what’s wrong.

References:

  1. Jennifer Draper, “Computer Beeps 4 Times On Startup (Why This Happens)“, TechWire.com, Retrieved May 16, 2022

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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