Computer has three short beeps as it starts

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope

If you hear three short beeps when your computer is turned on, review the troubleshooting options below for help on resolving the issue.


Some steps below recommend removing physical parts from inside the computer. While in the computer, be sure you're aware of ESD (electrostatic discharge) 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 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 errors as it's being read. 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 can another computer that uses the same memory, take memory from that computer and install it into your computer.

If another computer's memory works, you know the 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.

Replace memory

If the memory stick is incompatible or bad, we suggest you replace that memory stick.