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A beep code is a type of signal provided by a personal computer during the boot process. Most beep codes are related to a power on self test (POST), where a beep code helps show end-users that there is a hardware problem preventing normal operation.
The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) of a computer is a program used by the microprocessor to boot up the device. Part of this activity is referred to as the POST, which checks for normal hardware operation before continuing to boot the computer.
Personal computer manufacturers have developed a beep code system where different hardware errors generate certain kinds of loud beeps. Some of these vary by manufacturer. For example, a list of IBM BIOS beep codes includes various types of beep signals that simply indicate lack of available power. Others indicate motherboard issues, problems with display circuitry or errors with peripheral devices.
A set of Macintosh startup tones includes beep codes for identifying problems with the video controller, logic board or other component. Like blue screen codes and other kinds of identifiers, beep codes are helpful in troubleshooting a device boot.
Users can listen to the beeps and look in manuals or online for information about what each sound means.