Topic: PC Troubleshooting...  (Read 29749 times)

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Offline E_Look

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PC Troubleshooting...
« on: May 11, 2005, 04:48:31 pm »
A computer this morning won't boot and gives a repeating series of 3 beeps.  It is an AMD on a MSI mobo.

What does 3 beeps mean?

Edited Via E_Looks Private Message. Please Use this  thread for PC trobleshooting, No matter how many Beeps.

Stephen
« Last Edit: May 15, 2005, 01:47:59 am by Stephen, AKA Sirgodhand Jr. »

Offline Iceman

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2005, 05:40:50 pm »
I hate to state the obvious, but read the manual. Check the troubleshooting section, it'll most likely tell you.

EDIT: The motherboard manual, that is.
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Offline Darth Sidious

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2005, 06:09:19 pm »
Motherboard manual on that one.

Quick guesses:

Bad/badly seated memory, card loose.

Could also check on net for the specific make/model of motherboard.

Also, pay attentiion to the length and timing of the beeps - there IS a difference, just like in morse code.

Offline Javora

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2005, 06:30:01 pm »
Code: [Select]
                         Computer Error Beep Codes


Beep Code:                                    Description of Problem:
No Beeps                                     Short, No power, Bad CPU/MB, Loose Peripherals
One Beep                                    Everything is normal and Computer POSTed fine
Two Beeps                                   POST/CMOS Error
One Long Beep, One Short Beep         Motherboard Problem
One Long Beep, Two Short Beeps         Video Problem
One Long Beep, Three Short Beeps Video Problem
Three Long Beeps                         Keyboard Error
Repeated Long Beeps                       Memory Error
Continuous Hi-Lo Beeps CPU Overheating


Here is a standard list that I found a while back while troubleshooting someone else's PC.  From the list my best guess is a faulty keyboard.  Are you using a USB keyboard or had the keyboard disconnected lately?  If you have a keyboard that you know works, plug it in and see if the problem goes away.  It's simple enough to try and if that doesn't solve the problem at least you are not out any cash.  Hope this helps.

Offline Dash Jones

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2005, 08:45:19 pm »
Quick troubleshooting...

Does it even boot?

If not...it could be bad...

First, make sure power is plugged in to both computer, monitor, and power socket as well as making sure the monitor and computer are connected in a way they can exchange information

Second, make sure the mouse and keyboard work...try another just to be certain it isn't the socket.

Third, opening the computer, make sure all the RAM, cords, and cards are plugged in snuggly into their appropriate sockets...also exam RAM see if it looks damaged

And now the bad news...turn it on...listen for clicks.  If no clicks...you might be in luck, if you hear one, even slight...it means your hard drive died.  That happened to me once...stunk to high heaven, I think that one had 3 beeps as well.

Even worse, if it doesn't even boot period, it could be a motherboard problem...to see if that is what is occurring, try to get to Bios.

The best way to get to Bios is to do it as the computer starts up...if you can't get to Bios, that's usually a really bad indication of either your powerbox is dead, your power supply is somehow cut off, OR, your motherboard died.

Before thinking it is definately your motherboard, MAKE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN your computer monitor is hooked up to your computer.  If your computer has lights on...but nothing on the monitor, your computer might be fine, your monitor might not be. 

However, determining whether it is your power or the motherboard without actually being there is rather tough to do.

Also, reverify that your keyboard actually works.  It's rather hard to press alt f8 or whichever way you are accessing bios if your keyboard isn't working.

Now if you can get to Bios, you are scotchfree.  In Bios, you can see what the computer sees, and what your computer says is dead.  If it can't see your RAM, it's a good indication that's what died, or if your hard drive doesn't register (like what happened to me once) that's also a good sign.

However, before panic, remember, check to make sure it's not something simple like keyboard, mouse, or power problems.  Be a shame to replace a motherboard or harddrive when one only had to plug in the keyboard.  Most likely it's going to be a keyboard or mouse problem...especially if it gets past the opening screen, but then has a little not about not seeing it, and several beeps.

According to the list Javora posted, it's going to be either a  keyboard or Video problem.  So check to make sure your card is working (should default to generic drivers I'd imagine if you have a backup card or anything and enable it I'd imagine).  Key thing is to see if the light on your computer is lit and then use the beep code.
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Offline IAF Lyrkiller

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2005, 10:54:31 am »
I guess no one needs my help. ;D




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Offline Sethan

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2005, 12:51:42 pm »
A computer this morning won't boot and gives a repeating series of 3 beeps.  It is an AMD on a MSI mobo.

What does 3 beeps mean?

The beep codes are dependent on the BIOS in the motherboard.

MSI uses both AMI and AWARD BIOS, each of which has different beep codes.

From MSI's web site:

    Verify POST beep codes
          Continues beeps or 1long 2short beeps = possible memory error
          • Try re-seating memory or test with different memory
          1long 2short or 8short beeps = possible video card problem
          • Try re-seating video card, test system with known good video card
          High/Low tone (siren sound)= CPU is overheating.
          • Verify that CPU heatsink is properly installed and power connected

AMI Beep Code
          
Deep Code         Description
1 short         DRAMS refresh failure
2 short         Parity circuit failure
3 short         Base 64k RAM failure
4 short         System timer failure
5 short         Process failure
6 short         Keyboard controller Gate A20 error
7 short         Virtual mode exception error
8 short         Display memory Read/Write test failure
9 short         ROM BIOS checksum failure
10 short         CMOS shutdown Read/Write error
11 short         Cache Memory error
1 long, 3 short         Conventional/Extended memory failure
1 long, 8 short         Display/Retrace test failed
          
     AWARD Beep Code
          
Deep Code         Description
1 Long, 2 Short    A video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot intialize the video screen to display any additional information
Any other beep(s)    RAM problem
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Offline The Bar-Abbas Anomaly

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2005, 12:54:23 pm »
A computer this morning won't boot and gives a repeating series of 3 beeps.  It is an AMD on a MSI mobo.

What does 3 beeps mean?



That CaptStumpy is backing up?    ???


But seriously, I assume you mean that the unit will not POST at all and the display does not come up.  There are really only four probable causes for beeping with no display:

1.  RAM problem.  Either bad or flakey chips, not seated securely in the socket, or just the wrong flavor for that mainboard if you're upgraded/replaced/swapped them recently.

2.  Video card problem.  Bad card or not seated securely in the slot.  If you moved the PC recently it may have been jarred loose.

3.  CPU problem.  Unlikely, unless you overclocked it or fiddled with the CPU fan recently, but it's a possibility.  If it's a P-II or P-III it may be in a big wide slot and could have been jarred loose like the video card.  Check to see if it's fan is running.

4.  Motherboard failure.  Time to upgrade.  This is actually more likely than a CPU failure, but less so than the RAM or Video card.

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Offline Darth Sidious

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2005, 01:02:24 pm »
There should be a 'Most Useful Information You Never Want to Have to Use' sticky for things like this.

Great info!

Offline E_Look

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2005, 02:26:00 pm »
As the thread starter, I hereby officially request a sticky for this thread  in the next post, I'll say why.

Offline E_Look

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2005, 02:39:08 pm »
And the reason:

YOUR ADVICE IS GOOD! ! !

I am telling you right now from the computer that was down!!  My coworkers here thank you all!

And, I believe it was the stick of RAM that was loose:  upon reading all your posts, and even before that, I took off and reconnected tightly all the signal and power cabling to all the peripherals, as the HD, CDROM, floppy, Zip, etc. and still no go.  Again, after reading your replies, I removed the RAM and got exactly the same symptoms, namely the three beeps and no POST.  So I popped it back in making sure it was tight, and well, voila!

Thank you all again,

and again, STICKY THIS PLEASE!

Offline Sirgod

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2005, 05:06:59 pm »
Consider It done Stickied guys. I'm sure we can fill this post up with all kinds of usefull tech help/tips.

Stephen
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Offline E_Look

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2005, 10:25:23 pm »
Let me then open the stickied phase of this thread with another question.  This one deals with a comp at home I just put together and is not even being used yet.

I based it on the Barton core AMD Athlon XP 2500+, with a 333 MHz FSB, with a 1.833 GHz clockspeed.

But when I built it, the BIOS AND WinXP reads it as only running at 1.1 GHz and the FSB rate is 100 MHz.  I can't figure out what's up with that or how I can remedy this...

... or is the chip running as advertised, only the mobo is reading it wrong?

Offline manitoba1073

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2005, 02:02:36 am »
hey E , when u reboot it next time u'll have to set the correct speed on the cpu in the bios. when u enter the bios its in the section of CPU FSB CLOCK part.  try setting it at 166MHZ go from there. not sure what the values should be for ur processor but thats what the prob is.  hope it helps



Offline The Bar-Abbas Anomaly

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2005, 10:04:16 am »
Let me then open the stickied phase of this thread with another question.  This one deals with a comp at home I just put together and is not even being used yet.

I based it on the Barton core AMD Athlon XP 2500+, with a 333 MHz FSB, with a 1.833 GHz clockspeed.

But when I built it, the BIOS AND WinXP reads it as only running at 1.1 GHz and the FSB rate is 100 MHz.  I can't figure out what's up with that or how I can remedy this...

... or is the chip running as advertised, only the mobo is reading it wrong?


Your motherboard is not reading it wrong, it's probably set wrong.  You're gonna have to go into the BIOS and tell it to run the FSB at 166Mhz, rather than 100.  The slower speed is a default.

Your CPU multiplier for that chip is 5.5.  The 100Mhz number in your BIOS is doubled to get the FSB frequency, which is then 200Mhz.  200Mhz x 5.5 = 1.1Ghz, which is what you're seeing.

If you set your mainboard to 166Mhz, that doubled is 333Mhz FSB.  333Mhz x 5.5 = 1.833Ghz, which is what you want to see.

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Offline E_Look

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2005, 10:38:15 am »
Ah, so!

Just wondering, why is the FSB doubled and why is there a multiplier?  I'm sure if I spent four hours on the 'Net, I'll find out, but that doesn't look so inviting...

Offline Sirgod

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2005, 10:46:33 am »
IIRC, I believe It deals with the Voltage of the Processor and MB talking to each other. Someone may be along to correct me though.

Stephen
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Offline Death_Merchant

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2005, 01:57:52 pm »
A computer this morning won't boot and gives a repeating series of 3 beeps.  It is an AMD on a MSI mobo.

What does 3 beeps mean?
Beep 1: "Buy"
Beep 2: "a"
Beep 3: "Mac"

Listen to it over and over E, you'll start to hear it....

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Offline E_Look

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2005, 03:58:14 pm »
Ay ya.  The only Mac I can get into has special sauce, lettuce, cheese, onions, pickles on a sesame seed bun.

E_Look the still hungry

Seriously, I've used other people's Macs, but never really liked them all that much; I think it's just the way each type is used, or how the designers and marketers intended them to be used.



As to the other thing, since this PC is a gift for my younger one, I've got to wait until he zonks for the night before I can pull it out and change the FSB setting... I think it's rather cool- blue basic Raidmax box with side window, I switched the fans that came with it on the side panel to two glowy blue LED Cooler Masters, and the MGE 400 W ps (unbeknownst to me until I actually took it out of the box to install!) has a blue LED fan, internally AND externally.

I built a similar one for my older one, but in green.  We dubbed it "The Borg Cube" since it was this green glowy box.  I suppose we can call this one "Ent-D" or some such nonsense!  Hey, they fight all the time anyway.


To all: forgive this OT post in an OT thread in an OT forum.  I'd love for this thread to remain a tech help line for us folks on these boards.  So far everyone here has come through for me.

Offline Nemesis

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Re: What does THREE BEEPS in nonbooting PC mean?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2005, 05:12:12 pm »
Ah, so!

Just wondering, why is the FSB doubled and why is there a multiplier?  I'm sure if I spent four hours on the 'Net, I'll find out, but that doesn't look so inviting...

DDR memory.  DDR = Double Data Rate.  Your 333 FSB is really half that but functions as if it is 333 because the DDR RAM can be accessed twice each clock cycle. 

The speed problem you are having is because most if not all chipsets for Athlons will in the event of a major crash will default to the slowest memory speed.  You then need to reset it in the BIOS back to the full speed, in this case to 166.  It will also do that if you change the processor.  Since this is the initial construction of the machine it defaults to the slowest speed until you tell it what speed you actually use.

Since you just assembled the system you should go through the Motherboard manual and set all the options to your requirements.  If you are not using the old serial and parrallel ports for example you may wish to disble them in the BIOS to allow the IRQs (which are relatively high priorty IRQs)  to be used for more important devices that would otherwise be forced to lower priority IRQs.
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