Won't boot up, just electronic bleeps

  edenworkshops 10:28 15 Dec 2009


I bought a very cheap second hand PC base unit a couple of weeks ago, all went well, though the machine told us it needed more memory.

Then a few days ago it started to just switch itself off, though it re-started ok.

But yesterday It would not boot up at all, when I pressed the start button all I got was a series of electronic bleeps.

Halfway through the day I unplugged the PC and checked all the connections I could think of, it still would not boot up, though I noticed that when I pressed start, the fan on the motherboard momentarily moved, as if power had been applied and switched off quickly, if you get my meaning.

Is my second hand base unit dead?

Thank you.


  retep888 10:53 15 Dec 2009

Here is a list of error beep codes click here ,I suspect it could be your RAM.

  Graphicool1 10:54 15 Dec 2009

What make is the BIOS and what is the beep sequence?
How much RAM does it have?

  edenworkshops 11:02 15 Dec 2009

Thank you for your replies. I am a newbie so please bear with me.

I now understand that the beep code points to whatever the problem is. Unfortunately I cannot decipher the code as it is to complicated, nothing like the error codes I saw when I visited the link you gave me, though the beep code is identical each time.

I know the machine has very little memory...is this what you call RAM?

If so getting more memory may help the problem, as I say when I first got the machine it started giving warning messages about system memory being low, it workled but very slowly.

So do you think by adding more memory, if that is what RAM is, I may solve the problem?

Thank you very much.


  retep888 11:25 15 Dec 2009

Which beep code was it?

  edenworkshops 11:33 15 Dec 2009

The beep code sounds very complicated I can't decipher it, but it is always the same code.

On a site I visited about error codes, the ones I saw were very easy to understand, long beeps and short beeps etc.

But my beep code is very complicated with sqeaks and tremelo effects, finished of by two long beeps of a different tone.

It said on the site that any error code not listed pointed to RAM

I hope it does point to lack of RAM?

Thank you


  cream. 11:42 15 Dec 2009

Thats a power supply unit, what you plug the mains lead into.

The lack of ram should not stop it posting e.g. first bios screen before the computer loads windows.

If you disconnect the leads to the hard drive, cdrom and floppy drive, with the power cable out. Try a boot on that and see if the computer posts. If it still does not. You can take out any PCI cards, those in the white slots, keyboard and mouse and retry. Also check how many sticks of ram there is in the computer.

Does the computer have a make and model number.

  retep888 11:44 15 Dec 2009

If you can try unplug all the power connection to dvd rom and floppy and hard drives.


See if it boots up.

  Technotiger 11:47 15 Dec 2009

How old is the base unit? Do you know how long it had been unused before you bought it?

I am thinking that as well as the RAM (Random Access Memory) being in short supply, that the motherboard CMOS Battery might also need changing - this is a small round silver battery about the size of a ten-pence coin, usually very easy to replace, unless it is the soldered-on type as used in older computers.

CMOS ...
Short for complementary metal oxide semiconductor. Pronounced see-moss, CMOS is a widely used type of semiconductor. CMOS semiconductors use both NMOS (negative polarity) and PMOS (positive polarity) circuits. Since only one of the circuit types is on at any given time, CMOS chips require less power than chips using just one type of transistor. This makes them particularly attractive for use in battery-powered devices, such as portable computers. Personal computers also contain a small amount of battery-powered CMOS memory to hold the date, time, and system setup parameters.

  edenworkshops 12:26 15 Dec 2009


The PC only had 256mb of memory and was running Win XP.

I found some old SDR memory, 1000mb, and put that in.

It booted up first time and several times after that, so it seems that RAM was the problem.

Problem solved, thank you sincerely for your amazingly fast responses.


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