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Trust the POST Error Code

When IBM introduced its original PC's it provided Power-On Self Test codes through the build-in speaker at boot up. The audio code helps you to diagnose a computer system even if the monitor or graphics card is broken. I had learned to trust the error codes . . . until yesterday.

Yesterday, I bought a new Intel Pentium 4 531 CPU and a ECS Elitegroup RS400-A motherboard. This combination has some nice features for migrating to the new PCI Express and DDR2 standards. However, after booting it up, I got a continuous beep sound. At first, I thought maybe the BIOS just needs to be cleared.

Sure enough, after clearing the BIOS the system came to live. But for the rest of the night, I either can't get the hard drive to boot, or the POST repeated beeping on boot-up. The beeps I got are:

  • Continuous beep - Power supply, system board, or keyboard problem
  • Repeating short beeps - Power supply or system board problem

Although both codes pointed to a power or system board problem, it took me all night to believe that there is nothing I can to do fix the problem.

Today, I finally wised up and traded the ECS Elitegroup RS400-A motherboard for the Intel Desktop Board D102GGC2. Although I experienced some problems with the Intel motherboard as well (to be covered in another thread), it's nothing serious like a bad system board. So once again, I learned to trust the POST.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 01 Aug 2006 21:06:00 -0700

I must change the title of this post to the following:

"Trust the POST Error Code" with a Grain of Salt

Why do I say that? Well, after a week and a half of swapping CPU's, motherboards, and power supplies, I finally traced the problem to bad memory module! But the POST error messages above didn't indicate that!

I'm surprised too. Memory module is what I least suspected, because the BIOS generally tests the memory module on boot up. But apparently a bad memory module can cause the BIOS to not boot-up at all.

So what's the lesson after this exercise? If you the a POST error message, trust the error message that some hardware component is bad. But don't narrowly focus your search to the components referred to by POST.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 07 Aug 2006 14:47:31 -0700

well, computers' problems is the most killing one. I am using Intel Desktop Board D102GGC2 too and I have a keyboard and mouse problem which I really dont know where goes wrong. The keyboard sometimes doesnt work and i have to restart it. The mouse is working but sometimes, you are using half way, it doesnt work.GOD, HELP ME!!! I have like 30 of them here...

Sat, 25 Nov 2006 18:42:46 -0800

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