Common Error Messages And Their Meaning

Generally there are two types of error message, audible and visual.
I will deal with each in turn. This article is aimed at the general user.

Audible Error Messages.

These audible messages are known as AMIBIOS Beep Codes and
relate to the role that the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) plays
in the boot process of your computer.

The BIOS is (using very simple terms) is a small built in chip which
holds basic programs which allow your computer to start from switch
When your PC boots it is normal to hear a beep which signifies
that all is well, but if there is something wrong, you will hear a beep
followed by number of beeps usually followed by a reboot, freeze,
or perhaps a shutdown.

Unfortunately each BIOS manufacturer has its own beep codes, so
for specific beep codes for your motherboard, you really need to go
to the web site of the motherboard manufacturer, or the BIOS
The following codes are generalisations.

1 beep      Refresh failure
2 beeps    Parity error
3 beeps    Base 64K memory failure
4 beeps    Timer not operational
5 beeps    Processor Error (this could indicate a dead processor)
6 beeps    8042 – gate A20 failure
7 beeps    Processor exception interrupt error
8 beeps    Display memory read/write failure
9 beeps    ROM checksum error
10 beeps  CMOS shutdown register read/write error
11 beeps  Cashe memory bad

For 1, 2, or 3 beeps try reseating the memory sticks. If the error
still occurs, you could try replacing the memory sticks with known
good ones.

For 4, 5, 7, or 10 beeps the system board must be sent in for repair.

So for the majority of people, it is off to the repair shop with the
system unit for beeps errors past 3 beeps, except if you get
continuous beeps which indicate a power supply problem.

If you know a little basic computer maintenance then you can
replace the power supply unit yourself.
Some computers will also
make a loud two tone sound while continuing to run normally.

This warning means a cooling problem, and the CPU is overheating
dangerously. If allowed to continue the chances are the computer
will shut down before CPU will become damaged, however if it
occurs regularly, and is ignored, your CPU will most likely become
damaged and certainly its life will be greatly reduced.

 Visual Error Messages

Configuration/CMOS error
      The set up information does not
                                               agree with the actual hardware the
                                               computer has found during the boot
                                               process. Have you added or
                                               changed hardware without changing
                                               the setup. It can also occur if your
                                               motherboard battery is weak.

Insufficient Memory                 Normally occurs when Windows has
                                                too many applications running. Close

                                                some applications. Reboot if necessary.

Invalid or missing                    There is a floppy disc which has been                        forgotten about in the floppy disc drive.
                                                Remove it. It is causing the computer
                                                boot process to halt.

Missing operating system,       The Master Boot record is unable to
error loading operating           locate or read the operating system
system                                     boot sector on the active partition, or
                                                there is a translation problem on large
                                                drives. Boot from a floppy if you have
                                                the knowledge and examine the hard
                                                drive file system for corruption.

                                                Otherwise the answer for the average
                                                user is a new install of windows into a
                                                second windows folder so as not to
                                                overwrite the existing files which will
                                                allow you access to your files. It’s a
                                                stopgap solution as you will have to
                                                reinstall all your applications, but it
                                                will allow you to backup your files,
                                                format your hard drive and start from
                                                scratch again.

There are times when something else goes wrong and error messages
appear on the screen with a series of zeros, x’s, and other figures.

Most can be minimised by running maintenance programs, but if you
really must know what they mean, then make a note of them and
search Google for the answers.

Most answers by the way are quite technical and probably quite
meaningless for the average user.

Article by
Mark McGimpsey


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