Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Ultimately, when you're getting beep codes, it is indicative of a hardware problem. It's not necessarily terminal!

I have HP Pavilion 6DV laptop running Windows Vista, Home Edition. When I try to turn it on, I get a single beep and then a long beep and the machine will only turn off when I remove the battery pack. Fortunately, I have everything backed up. Yea! I do this monthly. And I'm wondering if this is terminal or just a keyboard glitch with a sticking key. This has been suggested by a work colleague but not being competent, I'm reluctant to start dismantling the laptop. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

In this excerpt from Answercast #68, I look at a computer which is delivering mysterious beep codes when trying to boot.

Beeping computer

No, I don't think it's a sticky key. You would be seeing something else going on either on the screen or you'd be able to turn it off with the power button or something.

This does sound like a hardware problem of some sort. Unfortunately, it's not the case where I really think it's something where you can be successful going in and opening up the laptop to try and sort it out.

And it's true for me as well. I'm not saying "you" as an individual. I'm saying that laptops typically require some level of technical expertise that is beyond most of us, to be honest.

Beep codes

So, the beep codes are interesting.

I will point you at one site called ComputerHope.com/beep.htm. They have a listing of common beep codes.

Very often the beep codes that you have in a situation like this will actually provide a little bit of information to the technician who's diagnosing the problem.

  • The good news is that there is a list like that.

  • The bad news is that I can't find the beep codes that you've reported on that list.

But the concept is the same. My guess is that your one-short followed by one-long is the HP's BIOS trying to tell you something about what it thinks is wrong with the computer.

It is apparently unable to display anything, which is why it has to resort to beep codes to try and get you the information. You might try and research from the HP support site to see if they have any information about the beep codes on their machines; and what the specific patterns of beeps might mean.

It is possible that understanding the beep code would at least give you a clue as to what either to replace or expect a technician to replace when the machine truly gets diagnosed.

Hardware problem

But ultimately, yes, when you're getting beep codes, it is indicative of a hardware problem. It's typically, not necessarily terminal.

It just means that there's a piece of hardware that ain't working and the computer is at least broken enough that it can't throw up anything on the screen for you. It needs to communicate with you via beeps.

How easy that is to fix, or even whether it is fixable, there's no way to tell without actually taking a look at the machine. That's why I recommend you take the machine to a technician for a diagnosis.

Article C6010 - November 8, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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5 Comments
Drew
November 9, 2012 11:27 AM

Congratulations for having a backup!
As Leo suggests, check the HP support site for beep code errors.
Also disconnect any USB devices. Remove the hard drive and optical drive. Start your PC and see if there are beeps. If no beeps, one of the devices you removed is faulty.

James
November 9, 2012 1:00 PM

My HP seemed to be prone to static, particularly because you could pop it on to a docking station. So even just carrying it or picking it up and touching the contacts on the bottom for the docking station sometimes created a static pop.

One day the battery refused to charge, and it won't work with just AC (no battery), so likely something internal.

I just decided for what I might pay to have someone look at it and new part, I might as well buy a new laptop. I'm much happier with my new one, even though I loved my old one.

John Servis
November 9, 2012 6:53 PM

More often than not, a beep code relates to a video problem or a memory card problem. Since yours is a Laptop, try removing the Ram Cards one at a time. IE: remove one card, try to restart. If you get the same beeps, Re-install the card you took out & remove the other one. Repeat process. If still getting a beep code, you could try swapping with a known good card, from a friend, etc... or go to staples, office max, even walmart, & get a card known to fit your machine. You can always return it. If this doesn't work, it's time to take it to someone. You could try removing the optical drive & trying to restart as well. It's worth a try. I fix Laptops all the time & this would be my first moves. Also, as an after thought, make sure you don't have a faulty memory card in the card slot. Many times a card goes bad & the machine won't start with it in the slot.
Good luck, & post back to let us know how it worked out for you. J.

Geoff
November 10, 2012 10:18 AM

Googled bios beeps in HP and found this page.Looks like it might be a memory problem.
Hope it helps.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=bph07107&lc=en&cc=de&dlc=en&product=5116406#N409


hope it helps.

johnpro2
November 15, 2012 3:08 PM

Put in a boot disk such as Ultimate Boot CD or even your Windows media install disk.
If no beeps you have a software problem and a reinstall of Windows may be necessary.
Ensure BIOS boots to CD first ..enter BIOS by hitting del(delete) key or F2 several times as soon as computer is switched on.
Jp

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