I'm curious about error warnings and numbers such as: 1xx 161 164 2xx 3xx 4xx 5xx 6xx 17xx. What do they mean?
What are these Error Codes?
The error codes you just listed are POST error codes. POST stands for Power On Self Test. Each time your computer boots up, its BIOS runs a series of tests to ensure that everything is working as it should. When all is well, Windows then loads. When all is not well, error codes are generated and you may hear a series of beeps. Because different BIOS manufacturers often have their own unique codes, it's important to double-check with the manufacturer to ensure that you are comparing your computer's POST test results with the correct codes.
IBM POST Error Codes
The codes that you describe match the original IBM's POST error codes. IBM used a series of numbers such as1xx, 2xx, 3xx, 4xx, 5xx, 6xx, 7xx, 8xx, 9xx, and 10xx. Each leading number represents a category. For example 1xx indicates a "system motherboard error" with error 161 indicating a "CMOS battery failure" and 164 indicating a "memory system size error." Likewise, error 17xx points to hard drive problems with specific errors listed as 1701, 1702, 1791, etc.
The Major IMB POST Error Code Categories
With literally thousands of codes, we won't go into all of them. However, below are some of the more common categories:
1xx - System motherboard error
2xx - Memory failure
3xx - Keyboard failure
4xx - Monochrome display adapter failure (video card error codes)
5xx - Color/graphics display adapter failure
6xx - Floppy drive
7xx - Math co-processor
9xx - Parallel Printer port
10xx - Second parallel printer port error
11xx - Serial Port error
12xx - Second serial port error
13xx - Game port adapter
14xx - Printer control
15xx - SDLC adapter
16xx - Display emulator cards
17xx - Hard Drive
18xx - I/O card error
19xx - 3270 card errors
20xx - Bisynchronous Communication Adapter (BCA)
30xx & 31xx - Network card/LAN Adapter error
48xx & 49xx - Internal modem
74xx - VGA card
104xxx - ESDI hard drive error
Decoding the BIOS Beeps
What about those mysterious beeps? Again, the beep codes do vary by manufacturer, but the following should give you a pretty good idea as far as what's wrong:
- Short and steady beeps often indicate that the power supply is failing
- Long and steady beeps usually confirm that the power supply has failed
- A long, continuous beep points to memory failure
- One long beep followed by two short beeps indicates a video card failure
- No beep at all can indicate a bad power supply, a bad beeper, or the computer is not plugged in or turned on.