This beep is driving me crazy!


Jun 3, 2007

In the past week or so, after starting my computer back up from a cold boot, I've been hearing a strange beep from my computer during operation. It sounds like a high-pitched PC speaker beep.

It's not happening during POST. The computer's running fine (from what I can tell); there are no drops in performance or odd behaviors ... other than the beep. The beep comes at completely random times, with no apparent pattern or trigger; the computer may beep when running idle, when I'm browsing websites, using CG programs, or when I'm playing graphic-intensive games like Team Fortress 2.

Usually the beeps only happen once every few hours, but occasionally I'll hear two, three, or even four beeps in the space of a few minutes.

The odd thing is, the beeping sounds like it's coming from the front of my computer, where the hard drives are located. Other than the beep, I haven't heard any of the telltale signs of hard drive failure (no clicks, scrapes, or the like), though the secondary drive sometimes makes an odd rustling noise.

Here's my computer specs:

Windows XP64
Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4 GHz Processor (Kentsfield Q6600)
nVidia 8800GT (At the present time I do not recall the specific manufacturer, but I remember that it was factory OCed).
Western Digital 320GB Caviar Blue SATA Hard Drive (WD3200AAKS, newer SATA main drive)
Seagate 120GB Barracuda ATA Hard Drive (ST3120026A, older IDE-based drive, used as a secondary drive)

Here's some things I've already tried:

Early on I figured it was the motherboard itself beeping, despite the fact that the computer was running fine and didn't lock up at POST or anything. I checked this page at BIOS Central for beep codes (as I thought ASUS boards used Award BIOS), and at first I thought the beeps might be caused by the CPU overheating, according to the table.

Some of my temperature monitoring programs did indeed say the CPU was overheating, but at temperatures so high that I should have seen a massive drop in performance or even the CPU burning itself out if it really was that high. The computer wasn't running any hotter than it had been prior to shutting down (and temperatures read fine right up until the restarting from the cold boot).

Here's an example of a stress test I did at the time:


After that, I cleaned out the case to see if that would fix the bizarre temperature readings. The temperatures now read fine. These are my CPU's current temperatures, with Team Fortress 2 running:


... but the beeps still persist.

After paying attention to my BIOS settings screen, I realized that the ASUS P5Q PRO Turbo uses an AMI BIOS instead of Award BIOS ... but even after checking the beep codes for AMI-made BIOSes, I saw nothing about beeps that happen while the computer is running.

After that, I ran a Spinrite Level 4 test (deep surface analysis) on both of my hard drives. Spinrite didn't report any errors or bad sectors, and I didn't hear the beeping more than usual during the tests.

I've been told that hard drives have their own beep codes depending on the manufacturer and model--specifically Seagate, which would mean something is wrong with my secondary drive ... if I could figure out what the beeping means. I've tried looking into this, but all I find are motherboard POST beep codes. Several threads in other forums by people asking about their beeping hard drives are told by others that their motherboard is what's beeping, and given a link to a beep code guide for motherboards instead.

I'm stumped as to what could be causing the beeping. Does anyone have ideas or experience with this?


I'm with Paper, and I've seen this in person several times. In fact, my good old Dell I keep referring to people about did exactly what Paper just said. The CPU Cooling fan would make an extremely loud, pulsing, whiney noise when it went over 40%. Try to open the case and pinpoint where the sound is coming from. This may sound stupid, but hold a paper towel tube or something similar up to your ear and listen to different areas with it to try and locate its source. Strange, but useful. :)
Tell us what you find, if anything...


It is probably an overheating beep noise. You can turn it on/off or raise the warning temp in the bios.

45c is hot for a 15% load.

Run intel burn test or prime 95 on all cores to see how hot its getting under full load.


Jun 3, 2007

Well, the CPU fan's speed doesn't change much, as far as I can tell. I've never actually monitored the fan speed before, but I never hear it crank up; certainly not like how I hear the GPU's fan crank up when it's under heavy load.

The chirp I'm hearing isn't a pulsating whiney noise, but sounds more like a short "plink" like what one would hear from a PC speaker. And as I'd said, the sound is loudest from the front of the computer where the hard drives are; the way my case is set up, the CPU's fan is on the opposite corner away from where I sit, toward the PSU.

Can fans still make a chirp that sounds like a PC speaker?

I'll give it a look-see, though I'm still not sure why the motherboard would do this all of a sudden, if it is a CPU overheading beep noise ...

It's a typical temperature for my CPU; it always hovers around that range. Both Core Temp and Real Temp report temperature ranges like that, though SpeedFan reports it as being 10c lower (I'm assuming it doesn't use the same detection method).

Either way--barring the sudden weirdness--my CPU's always run at around 45c, closer to 40c if running idle.

Since I have Real Temp, I'll run the prime 95 test on it later and post the results.



Now that you just posted all of that, it almost sounds like it's coming from the hard drive. You may know if it is or not already, but is there any way you could take it out of the case, still plugged in, and listen to it if your cables are long enough? I know that my old 80gb Seagate Barracuda always beeped twice when it first powered on... If it isn't that or the optic drive, then I don't know what else could be causing it, other than a short somewhere. I don't even think that would cause it, either, as it would send a constant stream of power to the speaker, not a pulse which would make that sound...


Personally, I'd be reluctant to disable the on-board "PZO Speaker", because that means you will NEVER get a warning sound from it, even when it is important. I'd prefer to find and fix the actual problem, but that's me.

My suggestion that it could be a fan calls for a little more precise observation. A warning "beep" coming from the mobo speaker and generated by some software monitor will be VERY regular at all times. I'm not saying it will repeat at a particular time, like every 10.00 minutes. BUT it will have exactly the same frequency or tone, and it will always be exactly the same length, like one second or maybe less. On the other hand, a "chirp" from a failing bearing will vary in its duration and MIGHT sound slightly different tones. It also will get longer as the bearing gets worse over the space of a week to a month. Maybe that can help you determine whether it is software-generated via speaker or a mechanical problem.

On most systems that have a sound output card (or on-board chip) feeding an external speaker system, the common warnings generated by Windows will come from the speakers and are much more that just a "beep". They're typically musical tones or small melodies. On the other hand, warning sounds generated from a mobo BIOS routine very often are sent out via an on-board "Speaker", a very simple device that can't generate very sophisticated sounds, so simple "beeps" or longer single tones are the norm. The BIOS often uses this speaker because it is a mobo device directly under the BIOS's control, and does not require use of drivers and interfaces to pass sound specifications to a sound card for output to a speaker, etc. Thus it's more reliable in abnormal conditions. So, if that is the type of sound you are getting, I'd look for its source in the BIOS, not in Windows.

The BIOS has a few places where it monitors things and will send out warnings as beeps. One certainly is in the various temperature monitors and controls - the CPU certainly, and possibly the case fans. (IF your machine has a connection from its PSU to a mobo connector called PWR_FAN, it is a way for the mobo to monitor the PSU's own fan for normal operation, so it MIGHT also be able to alarm a failing fan there.) In each of those cases the system can do two jobs: monitor the measured temperature, and control a fan speed to achieve control of that temperature. Some mobos have options for you to set the actual temperatures at which certain actions are taken, like when the fan starts up, when the fan speeds up from minimum, and when the fan is up to top speed. They may also have user-set-able limits on high temperatures, especially for the CPU. On mine, for example, I can set the temperature at which the mobo will reduce the CPU voltage and slow it down substantially if it's too hot, and a higher temp at which the system will completely shut down. Many mobos now also have a related but separate monitoring system for the CPU fan only. As it monitors that fan's speed, IF it detects the CPU fan not moving at all it sends out a long beep tone as a warning, then shuts the whole system off to protect the CPU from possible overheating, even though the measured CPU temp has not yet risen to its limit. So, any of those systems could be running close to the limit it has been set to. Check those limits. Sometimes a mobo's default temperature limits are inappropriate for specific hardware you have installed and they need to be re-specified according to the component manufacturer's specifications from their websites or manuals. Or, if you find the limits are correct but your system really is running hot in some area, find out why and fix that.

By the way, some third-party monitoring software requires a bit of customization at installation time so that it can tell you the true values for fan speeds, temperatures, etc. On the other hand, if you can use the BIOS screens to show you these things in some menu called "System Health" or some such term, they ought to be close to truth. However, those only work if you reboot into BIOS, and then you're no longer working under normal load. As a third option, check the utility CD that came with your mobo or system, or the manufacturer's website. Some mobo makers provide their own Windows app that will display these items for you during normal operations, and I would hope they are calibrated to give you correct displays on that machine.


Jun 3, 2007
Hey all,

It's been almost a month on this thread, but I got caught up on other junk and couldn't get around to running the other tests.

The strange thing is, a few days after my last reply ... the beeping stopped entirely. I have no idea why, but I haven't heard it at all! The beeping didn't stop after shutting down or restarting the computer; it just ended of its own accord, and even after later restarts and shut downs the beeping hasn't come back. I'm at a loss to explain what made the beeps stop.

None of my hardware have been exhibiting any strange behaviors, either. I also went and ran the Real Temp Prime95 sensor stress test again, as daship recommended. Everything seems to be fine:



Jul 11, 2010
Here's what worked for me with MY random beeping events, which:

• were happening with ANY browser use (Firefox 3.6x, 3.5x, and IE8 32 & 64 bit versions, so not browser-specific or Flash-related)

• had only been occurring for a few hours when I started troubleshooting last night (however, a System Restore to a prior point had no effect)

• happened again immediately upon first browser use this morning (therefore not a CPU overheating issue)

• were Windows .wav beeps (coming through the speakers), not motherboard-failure beeps.

I was up until 2:30 a.m. doing all the above analysis/troubleshooting, then decided to sleep on it. When the cold boot this morning proved it wasn't an overheated PC, I got a strong hunch it was recently installed software...but not a plug-in, or a different browser without that plug-in should have been beep-free.

So, I asked myself, what had I installed recently that could be triggering this beeping? Turned out to be a little freeware network traffic monitoring program, BitMeter 2, that was set by default to provide AUDIO notifications of any up/download traffic over 1Mb (which is not a very large amount, the way I surf!). A quick click in BitMeter's Settings disabled that pesky beep, and so - just to do my part for community sanity - I'm posting this info on some of the many forums where I Googled while troubleshooting.

Hope that this info will help you solve your BEEPING problems, or at least spark some ideas. Good luck!


Jan 20, 2008
I have an Asus P8P67-M with an i5 2500k, GTX 560 and I have random POST sounding beeps when the computer is idle, running games, but nothing abnormal during boot up. I built it myself with over 10 years of rig building. It ran fine for 12 months and now starts beeping.

The sound is a mobo speaker type beeeeeeeeep. Sometimes I get a few in a row, sometimes i get one, sometimes I get 4 or 5 together about 1 second long beeps.

I have run stress tests, temperature monitors, fan speeds for mobo, case, gpu etc. and nothing looks out of the ordinary. CPU core temps at 65C under heavy load, 30C under idle.

I will check when I am home tonight, the BIOS settings for fan speeds and temperature warnings and see if anything can be lowered and report back.

Note - I have headphones plugged in at all times and the Beep is not coming through the headphones. I can hear it downstairs through a shut door so its a loud motherboard beep.