Why Does My Computer Make a Bell-Ringing Sound?

By Melly Parker

Programs may have short beeps, long beeps or beeps of different pitches.
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A beeping sound may be a sign that your computer requires your attention. In other cases, however, it's just an alert that things are working correctly or that a process is complete. To find out what the sound on your computer is signaling, isolate the program it's coming from and then check the program to see what type of adjustment is required.

Power On Self Test

When you turn on your computer, it tests to see whether all the components are connected. Each component needs to have the right specifications for the system that is being booted, and each needs to be working. Once they're verified, the computer will beep one or two times to let you know that the test was successful. If it's unsuccessful, either the computer won't make a sound or a different type of beep -- a beep code -- will sound to notify you of what the problem is.

Full Buffer Alert

Your computer preloads the data that will be displayed on the screen or through the speakers. The buffer, which is in the memory of the computer, is the place where it's held. If the buffer becomes full, then the computer may beep to alert you to the fact that no more tasks should be started until some of the existing ones are complete.


Different types of software come with different beeping sounds. Usually a single beep is designed to alert you to something happening in the program. For example, a beep may be a signal that the program is done running -- for example, an anti-virus program that has scanned an entire drive. It may also be a signal that something in the program needs attention before it can continue to run.

Non-Default Sounds

Many programs are designed so that a user can adjust the types of sounds that play. If you've changed the sounds associated with your software, you may hear a beeping sound at an unexpected time. Check the preferences of programs you have running to see which default sounds are set to play. Test each entry to see whether the beeping sound your computer is making is connected to that program.