Knowledge Base

Understanding Beep Codes on a Dell Desktop PC



The following article is a guide to the various diagnostics Beep Codes used by the various Dell Desktop PCs.


Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction to Beep Codes
  2. Dell Desktop Systems
  3. Diagnostic LED Indicator Guides

Introduction to Beep Codes

Dell has a long tradition of building diagnostic indicators into our systems. These indicators can be really useful in helping to diagnose and resolve any issues your PC might experience whilst starting up. I've given a guide to the various codes for each family of desktop below.

If the display cannot show any errors your computer might emit a series of beeps during start-up.

  1. 3 means 3-3-3-3...That is 3 beeps and 3 beeps and ...: Endless looping until user presses the power button to shut down the system.

  2. The delay between each beep is 300ms. The delay between each set of beeps is 3 sec, and the beep sound lasts 300ms.

  3. After each beep and each set of beeps, the BIOS should detect if the user presses the power button, if so, BIOS will jump out from looping and execute the normal shutdown process and power system.

Note: If your system also has diagnostic indicator LEDs, you will want to go to the support site to get the appropriate guide for your model.
Note: If your system is giving a code that isn't listed on this guide, then please contact your local support to investigate this unknown code further.

If your system is giving a listed code then please use the fault descriptions below to narrow your possible No Post troubleshooting. The No Post guide below will be useful in troubleshooting your issue further.

Alternatively you can Contact Us here.


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Dell Desktop Systems

Inspiron Desktops

Beep/LED Codes.

Power LED Blinking/Beep Code
LED/Beep Code Fault Description Fault(s) Suggested Action
1 Motherboard: BIOS ROM Failure Motherboard, covers BIOS corruption or ROM error Run the Dell Diagnostics
2 Memory No Memory (RAM) detected Troubleshoot the Memory
3 Motherboard: Chipset
  • Chipset Error (North and South bridge error
  • Time-Of-Day Clock test failure
  • Gate A20 failure
  • Super I/O chip failure
  • Keyboard controller failure
Run the Dell Diagnostics
4 Memory Memory (RAM) Failure Troubleshoot the Memory
5 Real Time Clock Power Failure CMOS battery failure Try reseating the CMOS Battery and run the Dell Diagnostics if that does not resolve the issue
6 Video BIOS Video card/chip failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
7 Central Processing Unit (CPU) Central Processing Unit (CPU) Failure Run the Dell Diagnostics

Power LED Status Power State
Off Power is off or the system is in an S4 (hibernate) or S5 power state.
LED is blank.
Solid White The computer is in power-on state.
Solid Amber The system board cannot start initialization. There may be an issue with the system board, memory, processor or the power supply.
Blinking Amber The system board cannot start initialization or in an S3 power state. There is a power problem, a device may be malfunctioning or incorrectly installed.

XPS Desktops

Repetitive Beep Code Error Description Suggested Next Step
1 Possible motherboard failure - BIOS ROM checksum failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
2 No RAM detected
Note: If you installed or replaced the memory module, ensure that the memory module is seated properly
Troubleshoot the Memory
3 Possible motherboard failure - Chipset error Run the Dell Diagnostics
4 RAM read/write failure. Troubleshoot the Memory
5 Real Time Clock (RTC) power fail Try reseating the CMOS Battery and run the Dell Diagnostics if that does not resolve the issue
6 Real Time Clock failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
7 Video card or chip failure. Run the Dell Diagnostics
8 Processor failure Run the Dell Diagnostics

Vostro Desktops

Beep/LED Codes.

Power LED Status (Flashing Amber) Beep Description Failure Coverage Suggested Action
1 BIOS ROM checksum in progress or failure. BIOS Chip System board failure, covers BIOS corruption or ROM error Run the Dell Diagnostics
2 No RAM Detected No memory detected Troubleshoot the Memory
3
  • Chipset Error (North and South Bridge Chipset, DMA/IMR/Timer Error for Intel platform); Chipset Error
  • Time-Of-Day Clock test failure.
  • Gate A20 failure
  • Super I/O chip failure.
  • Keyboard controller test failure.
System board Failure
(Power LED Blinking Amber)
Run the Dell Diagnostics
4 RAM Read/Write failure Memory failure Troubleshoot the Memory
5 RTC Power Fail COMS battery failure Try reseating the CMOS Battery and run the Dell Diagnostics if that does not resolve the issue
6 Video BIOS Test Failure Video card failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
7 CPU Failure CPU Run the Dell Diagnostics

OptiPlex Desktops

Diagnostic Beep Codes
Code Cause Suggested Resolution
1-1-2 Microprocessor register failure Contact Technical Support
1-1-3 NVRAM Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-1-4 ROM BIOS checksum failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-1 Programmable interval timer Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-2 DMA initialization failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-3 DMA page register read/write failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-3-1 through 2-4-4 DIMMs not being properly identified or used Troubleshoot the memory modules and the memory slots.
3-1-1 Slave DMA register failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-1-2 Master DMA register failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-1-3 Master interrupt mask register failure Contact Technical Support
3-1-4 Slave interrupt mask register failure Contact Technical Support
3-2-2 Interrupt vector loading failure Contact Technical Support
3-2-4 Keyboard Controller test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-1 NVRAM power loss Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-2 NVRAM configuration Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-4 Video Memory Test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-1 Screen initialization failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-2 Screen retrace failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-3 Search for video ROM failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-2-1 No time tick Contact Technical Support
4-2-2 Shutdown failure Contact Technical Support
4-2-3 Gate A20 failure Contact Technical Support
4-2-4 Unexpected interrupt in protected mode Contact Technical Support
4-3-1 Memory failure above address 0FFFFh Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-3-3 Timer-chip counter 2 failure Contact Technical Support
4-3-4 Time-of-day clock stopped Contact Technical Support
4-4-1 Serial or parallel port test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-4-2 Failure to decompress code to shadowed memory Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-4-3 Math coprocessor test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-4-4 Cache test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
Note: Starting from the D4 generation of OptiPlex models onwards (i.e. 7010/9010/9010 AIO), the beep codes will be eliminated, replaced by a single memory error pattern. Now only no memory failure conditions generate the beep code, the beep pattern is 1-3-2 (1 beep, then 3 beeps, then 2 beeps). This beep code tells you that the computer encountered a memory problem. The new beep codes emit only memory failure symptoms. Occasionally, reseating the memory modules may fix the beep code errors.

Precision Workstations

Beep Code Description Suggested Resolution
1-1-2 CPU register test in progress Contact Technical Support
1-1-3 CMOS read/write test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-1-4 BIOS ROM checksum in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-1 Timer Test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-2 DMA initialization in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-3 DMA page register read/write test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-3-1 RAM refresh verification in progress or failure Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
1-3-2 1st 64K RAM test in progress or failure Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
1-3-3 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure (multi bit) Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
1-3-4 1st 64K RAM odd/even logic failure Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
1-4-1 1st 64K RAM address line failure Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
1-4-2 1st 64K RAM parity test in progress or failure Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
1-4-3 Fail-safe timer test in progress Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
1-4-4 Software NMI port test in progress Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-1-1 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 0 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-1-2 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 1 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-1-3 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 2 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-1-4 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 3 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-2-1 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 4 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-2-2 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 5 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-2-3 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 6 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-2-4 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 7 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-3-1 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 8 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-3-2 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit 9 Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-3-3 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit A Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-3-4 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit B Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-4-1 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit C Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-4-2 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit D Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-4-3 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit E Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
2-4-4 1st 64K RAM chip or data line failure - bit F Troubleshoot the memory and memory slots.
3-1-1 Slave DMA register test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-1-2 Master DMA register test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-1-3 Master IMR test in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
3-1-4 Slave IMR test in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
3-2-2 Interrupt vector loading in progress Contact Technical Support
3-2-4 Keyboard controller test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-1 CMOS power fail and checksum test in progress Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-2 CMOS Config info validation in progress Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-3 RTC/Keyboard controller not found Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-4 Screen memory test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-1 Screen initialization test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-2 Screen retrace tests test in progress or failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-3 Search for video ROM in progress Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-2-1 Timer tick interrupt test in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
4-2-2 Shutdown test in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
4-2-3 Gate A20 failure Contact Technical Support
4-2-4 Unexpected interrupt in Protected Mode Contact Technical Support
4-3-1 RAM test in progress or failure above address 0FFFFh Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-3-2 No memory in Bank 0 Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-3-3 Interval Timer Channel 2 test in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
4-3-4 Time-Of-Day Clock test in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
4-4-1 Super I/O chip failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-4-4 Cache test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
Note: More recent models have eliminated the beep codes which where replaced by a single memory error pattern. Now only no memory failure conditions generate the beep code, the beep pattern is 1-3-2 (1 beep, then 3 beeps, then 2 beeps). This beep code tells you that the computer encountered a memory problem. The new beep codes emit only memory failure symptoms. Occasionally, reseating the memory modules may fix the beep code errors.


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Diagnostic LED Indicator Guides

If you require further assistance, please contact Technical Support

Contact Us


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Article ID: SLN293445

Last Date Modified: 04/25/2018 05:08 AM


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