Is my long beep during start up a bad IRQ module and how do I check which one it is?

Question

My 5 year old Dell just started having trouble booting up. A few days ago it started taking almost 10 minutes for it to boot up from either a full powered off state or a simple restart. The once short "beep" the computer made when it first started is now one long "beep." I have trimmed my programs that load at start up to the bare minimum using my Windows 98se 'MSCONFIG' utility. I have done numerous virus scans with the latest definitions and turned up nothing. I have also scanned my machine using Ad-Aware and Spy Sweeper which also turned up nothing.

I have run Scandisk and defragmented the hard drive along with using most of the maintenance tools available in Symantec's System Works 2003. Nothing helped. As a last resort, I pulled and reseated my two RAM modules (128mb + 256mb = 384mb total RAM)

This seemed to correct the problem, for about 6 days. The same condition has now returned and my computer is taking almost 10 minutes to boot up. Once running all the applications run at normal speeds so it would appear that the booting up process is the only thing affected.

Can a bad RAM module be causing this behavior and if so, how do I find out which one of the two is bad?

Answer

This question was answered on November 17, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The long beep on your system is a sign of a memory problem Since you have reseated the RAM and your computer still makes a long beep and slow boot, there is a very good chance that the Memory module is damaged Windows 98 requires 16 megabytes (MB) of memory (24 MB recommended) to run correctly Take one module out boot the system and then do the same for the other one

Hope this has been helpful.

Mark Eric Konik

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Author

Posted by mark of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on November 17, 2004