Boot Up Problem

Greetings tech wizards,

Recently I’ve been having a variety of computer woes – DSL connection issues, problems with my onboard networking card, random crap. Lately a most worrying thing has begun to happen, though. About half the time, when I boot up my computer in the morning, the little “boot-up beep” that I usually hear doesn’t just go “beep,” it goes “beeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” and doesn’t stop until I hold down the power button to force a reset. After that, sometimes it restarts normally, but sometimes it doesn’t and gives me the long beep again.

I don’t know where to begin looking for the problem here. I had disabled my onboard networking card in BIOS in an attempt to troubleshoot my DSL problems, but I enabled it again yesterday and am still getting the Beep of Impending Doom.

Any tips as to what I should try next?

um, check your mobo manual for what the beeps mean. that’s serious hardware failure.

It depends on the BIOS manufacturer, but you can check the BIOS beep codes here, though the only listings I see for a continuous beep are for IBM desktops (means a power supply fault), or Compaq (memory error).

If you have an extra power supply, I’d swap it in and see if the machine boots normally

In my experience, easy to fix problems (like a badly seated card or bad memory stick) don’t give the symptom you are describing. The one time I had a long beep, the motherboard itself was the issue; it died within a few weeks.

I’m just an amateur builder, though; plenty of the regular posters here know a lot more about diagnosing problems.

Since I hear your PC is still working yet beeps my guess is CPU fan failure warning.

Thanks for at least pointing me in the right general direction, guys. I looked up the beep cods for my mobo and apparently in my case a sustained tone means memory failure. I re-seated my RAM, but still got the error, then removed one stick and things booted up okay. So right now I’m thinking (crossing my fingers) that stick of RAM went bad somehow.

just run this to make sure:
http://www.memtest.org/

I’ve seen that exactly problem before, Jason, on a Dell. What was oddest about it was that the diagnostic LEDs on the rear of the chassis were giving an error code that indicated PSU failure, but the PSU passed a basic check and a test run on another system. I figured at that point it had to be memory or the CPU, so I pulled one DIMM just as you did and sure enough, the system was stable afterwards.

RAM goes bad almost as often as power supplies in my experience, which is pretty frequently.

This is why I try to get ECC ram whenever possible - it’s kind of a pain to research because the chipset and the motherboard have to support it, and enable it.

This is an old article about the effects of cosmic rays. See, when computers crash it’s not always Microsoft’s fault, it’s cosmic rays! (~1998) Ten years, at 1.5 ram density growth yearly works out to about 70 more ram in a typical desktop which means we’d be getting these errors 70 times more often.

This is a more recent article summarizing the above. Apparently dell patented a cosmic ray detector. The interesting bit is how it could become a worldwide cosmic-ray array for astronomers.

Tin-foiled housing - not as foolish as you think!

Thanks, wisefool – you have ensured that his thread delivers!

ecc ram is a waste.

this.