Archive for category Hardware

HP laptop with Random beeps

We have a laptop which randomly beeps. Three beeps. We have solved the problem but in case others have it, here is the description.

It is a HP EliteBook 9480m running Windows 7 (but that is not relevant).

We had HP change the Battery, Keyboard, mainboard and more. Still beeps. Booted into Safe mode, beeps.
Run all kinds of HP diagnostics, nothing appears to be wrong. Imaged the contents to another EliteBook 9480m laptop. It does not beep.

Back to the beeping laptop, uninstall any HP software (It was a fresh Windows install). Still beeps.

Tested the beep character at the command line, it sounds different. Tested the beep through the sound card, it sounds different. It sounds like a BIOS default beep.

Disable the Beep device and the sound card. Still beeps.

Started to listen to where it was coming from, there are no speakers near there.

It was the hard disk. If you listen very carefully you could hear a short mechanical sound and then Beep. The beep sounds so much like a BIOS beep, we were totally onto the wrong track. Does the hard disk have a tiny speaker ? Doubt it. I suspect the arm in the hard drive is making a noise that sounds like a beep.

how weird.

Now I look online knowing this and find many others point to the hard disk.

I guess after the fact, it is always easier to google and find answers, knowing the final fault 🙂



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What is a HP (Hewlett Packard) Carepack and why do I care?

It is your HP hardware insurance. After the original warranty has expired, it allows you to annually, in simple terms, “extend your warranty”.

It allows you to also upgrade to a better warranty with better support.


A Carepack is a service provided by HP to look after the HP hardware and any labour associated with replacing failed hardware, in your systems (Servers, desktops, printers etc.).

You can have a standard one where you get a next day response from HP, 5 days a week, or maybe a 4 hour response 24×7. It contracts HP to give you service and have parts available for you.


The longest Carepack we have had in service was 11 years. The client’s warranty expired at year 3, they kept renewing every year thereafter. Their server was “Under warranty” for 11 years.


Servers WILL fail. It is question of when and what will you do when it does. Items in servers are working 24×7 and as they are mechanical, they will fail. They get hot, dusty and wear out.

Typically hard drives and power supplies fail at the year 4 mark. These items cost lots of money.


The Carepack is typically less than the cost of the commonly failing parts.


Don’t let your Carepack expire. If you let it expire, you can’t get back the same agreement.  You can get more expensive offerings that cover less options as it is after the warranty period.


Carepacks cover the courier to get parts to you, storage of parts for your type of server/or other hardware, a HP engineer to visit the site and the parts.

They cover any testing/Diagnostics you do with HP over the phone (Using your own time). All of this within the terms of your Carepack (e.g. you can get weekday 9-5 only, 24 hours a day or other combinations).


Carepacks do not cover 3rd party hardware failures, the time it takes to repair software issues (update drives and firmware), any time IT companies help you to diagnose an issue (including swapping parts in and out).

Carepacks do not cover the recovery time from backups nor time to quickly backup all your files. Your data becomes your problem.


If you do not have a Carepack, you fall into the second hand market (or old stick market). This means you self-diagnose, search online for the part, if it is from overseas, have downtime whilst it ships to you and it sits in customs.

There might be Customs duty, GST and then the part you receive .. might be faulty or damaged in transit. Maybe it has firmware and boot screens in a different language or is a different revision, shape to what you had.

(This is even if you can find the part in the first place)


You then need to fit it and hope your software will accept the new part and hope you got the correct part. Windows might reject it and not run. You might be without your server or other hardware for weeks.


Let’s give you a real world example. We practice what we preach. We have a 5 year old server at Business Technology Partners. In the last year we have had a few hard disks fail (at about $500 each).

Our Carepack is about $800 inc GST. We have had hard drives changed, quickly, no expense to us, no data loss and no downtime. Sounds good?

(It covers the price of the Carepack!)


Yesterday our server motherboard and a ram stick failed. This obviously has a business impact.

We contacted HP, ran the diagnostics they requested, organised for a site visit and waited for the engineer. He came out, replaced the motherboard and isolated the ram fault.

This took about 2.5 hours and was at no cost to us (Except the downtime which was very low as the parts are made available to us from our local capital city).


I decided to price this up.

The motherboard sells online in a new condition (but old stock) from overseas at $1000 USD. The Ram is $512 ex Gst. The HP engineer’s time is over $200 ex per hour, with a minimum of 2 hours.

(HP make the same reconditioned board available in limited quantity for current HP owners without Carepacks for about $1600 ex GST.)

If I got for the overseas board, it will take ages to get here and there will be GST payable.  Is the board someone else’s refuse? Am I sure it is new ? was this from eBay and do I need to wait for the auction to finish?


HP spare parts are hard to obtain at this age. If I have to rebuild my network onto a new server platform it would easily cost over $20,000 for a new server plus weeks of delay sorting that out and at least 80 hours of IT services on top.

Can my business sustain this ?


Suddenly the cost of a Carepack in downtime and financial costs, is cheap. Suddenly I can see where the insurance pays off.


If you can’t pay your Carepack all at once, see if you can spread payments out over a year. It is worth it !




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