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
If you've recently added or tried to add additional memory to the computer and have started getting these beeps, remove the 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, and placing them back into the memory slots.
Reboot the computer
Try to reboot the computer two or more times. Some computers may have difficulties detecting the memory at first. If this works, but you have to reboot the computer several times each time you start the computer, you may still have an incompatible memory stick.
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. Repeat for each stick of memory in the computer, to check if any one of the memory sticks is causing the problem.
Try known-working memory from a separate computer
If you have access to another computer that uses the same memory, take memory from that computer and install in your computer as a test.
If another computer's memory works, you know that your computer has bad memory. If another computer's memory doesn't work and it is compatible with your computer, the motherboard or its memory slots are defective. You would need to replace the motherboard to fix the problem.
If the memory stick is incompatible or bad, we suggest you replace that memory stick.
- What type of computer memory to use in a memory upgrade?
- Additional information with installing computer hardware.
- See our memory definition for further information and related links on this term.