Computer has three short beeps as it starts

Caution: Some of the steps below recommend removing physical parts within the computer. While in the computer, be sure you're aware of ESD and its potential hazards. Information about ESD and proper grounding techniques is found on our ESD help page.

Remove added memory

Computer memory aka RAMIf you've recently added or tried to add additional memory to the computer and have started getting these beeps. Remove all new memory you've added to the computer. If the computer works fine after removing the new memory, your memory is either incompatible or defective.

Open the computer and reseat memory

Sometimes when the computer is moved or over time a memory stick can become loose causing the computer to be unable to read the memory or get errors as it's reading it. Try fixing this issue by opening the computer removing each of the memory sticks you have in the computer and then placing them back into the computer.

Reboot the computer

Try reboot the computer two or more times. Some computers may have difficulties detecting the memory at first. If this works, but you need to reboot the computer several times each time you start you computer you may have an incompatible memory.

Swap memory location

If reseating the memory did not resolve the issue try swapping the location of the memory. If you have only one stick of memory in the computer, try moving it to another memory slot and then boot the computer.

If you have more than one stick of memory try removing all but one stick of memory and boot the computer. If this does not resolve the issue, remove that stick of memory and try one of the other sticks of memory.

Try another computers memory

If you have access to another computer that uses the same memory, try using its known good memory in your computer.

If another computers memory works, you know that you have bad memory. If another computers memory doesn't work and it is compatible with your computer the motherboard or its slots are defective, which means the motherboard needs to be replaced.

Replace memory

If the memory is incompatible or bad, we suggest that it be replaced.

Additional information

  • See our memory definition for further information and related links on this term.