IBM ThinkPad T40/T41: Annoying Beep Fix

This one came from one of the users on the ThinkPad Mailing List and it’s a very welcomed fix! There are a number of key combinations that cause a ThinkPad to beep at seemingly random times. For example, if you hold down W E and R there’s no beep, but if you hold down T Y and U the machine beeps at you (and really has no reason to).

The fix – thanks Deanna! – is simple. Go to Device Manager and “Show Hidden Devices”. Under “Non-Plug and Play Drivers” you’ll see an item named “Beep”. Disable that and the “random beep” disappears. Once done, of course, you can hide the hidden devices again.

Update: Windows 8 no long exposes the “Non-Plug and Play Drivers” as part of the Device Manager, but there is another way to disable the “Beep ” driver/service. In fact, this likely works in Windows 7, Vista, and XP, but I can only confirm it’s use in Windows 8:

To stop the Beep sound for one session, open Command Prompt as Administrator and type:

sc stop Beep

To disable the Beep sound across reboots, open Command Prompt as Administrator and type:

sc config Beep start=disabled

To re-enable the Beep sound across reboots, open Command Prompt as Administrator and type:

sc config Beep start=system

Progress. It’s not every day I get to add value to a 8 year old thread.


93 thoughts on “IBM ThinkPad T40/T41: Annoying Beep Fix”

  1. dude, if this works, you are a rock star. i’ve been fruitlessly searching the web for the answer to this after having been jostled out of some truly spectactular eric clapton blues inspired coding flow by the weird random keypress beep. thanks for the tip! – nickrr (at gregoweb,c/om)

  2. had the exact same problem on my Dell Latitude C400 … maybe it’s the same part on the two laptops? Anyways glad to have a fix, thanks

  3. Hi — had a similiar situation with my dell laptop also. I was getting that ridculous beep as my new mail notification although the control setting sound listed was one it should be. After going to device manager it got rid of the beep and also all of my other sounds! I can still music and such, its just that all my sounds are gone and I would really like to get my new mail sound happening. Thanks!

  4. i’m soooo thankful for this information. Sometimes i have my laptop plugged into my computer speakers, and when it beeps, it’s way louder than my music normally plays. Scares the heck out of me…

    anyway, thanks!!

  5. Hi – I have the beep problem too. I run Windows 98 & don’t have options for “Show Hidden Devices”or “Non-Plug and Play Drivers” option in Device Manager.

    Would anyone know how to fix it in Win 98 please?

    TIA

  6. I’m in a dilema my IBM thinkpad T 20 has crashed

    it will not boot up the power light comes on but the

    screen dosen’t light up.

    Any one familiar with this scenario?

    If you are and you have any advice or know of any websites with helpful information please post it on this site or email me gentoman1@cs.com

  7. My IBM T40 laptop has terrible audio. Almost inaudible at times. Is there something I can do to enhance the sound (besides connecting the PC speakers that were delivered with it from IBM). Ya think they knew the audio stinks?

  8. Thank you so much for relaying this info. It worked like a charm, I have been calling IBM support about this and they told me there was nothing I could do about it.

    I hope you don’t mind I put up a similar guide on my own webpage, I linked to yours ofcourse. This info must be shared and spread as much as possible.

  9. yaya – sure and thanks! After all, I boosted it from the ThinkPad mailing list and let the search engines spread the word :)

  10. i have a t41 with a semi similar situation. i can boot up and barely see the startup ibm screen. the graphics card is fine but the screen blacklight wont turn on showing the screen as pitch black

    –Any help is appreciated

  11. thank you very much … i use my laptop in live performance and the beep (which you so rightly point out has no function) has randomly startled me many many times … good riddence!

  12. I LOVE YOU!!!

    I got a new T43 and I was going to get crazy becasue of this semi-random beeping.

    thanks! thanks a lot!

    p.s.: I linked this article too

  13. when i turn on my computer there is an anoying beeping sound coming from the tower and the screen is black! it won’t even start the computer. please help!!!!

  14. hi…i have a dell laptop and i owned it for 4 years, i had a problem with beep codes beeping randomly when i boot my laptop and it started when my keyboard keys malfunction…can u help me figure out what is the problem?…thanks

  15. Not a clue dude, although it sounds like a hardware issue more than a configuration one: I’d ping Dell’s support forums and see what they say.

  16. Need help… T40 2373 72U XP Pro

    Problem… the DVD/CDRom stopped working. I can see it in My Computer but it cant’ write to or read from the CD or play DVDs. I want to reload my XP Pro OS to see if it’s a driver contamination issue but, since the CD drive won’t work so, I can’t re-install from a CD. No floppy on the laptop.

    I have been able to download an install drivers for an external CD-write on the USB port with an intent to load off the external CR Rom. But, I can’t get the BIOS to accept the USB CD as first choice for boot up, it reverts to the internal HDD. I think I am missing something in making this BIOS change but, I don’t know what.

    Any suggestions are most appriciated. My computer skill set is about a 4 or 5 on a scale of ten.

    Skip

  17. IBM Think Pad laptop

    I reformat the HDD and Install Windows ME , after the installationof the Office Packges , it come up with a beep sound , till it reach the starting windows screen , but the keyboard in not functioning any more

    please help

  18. It worked like a charm as long as i run windows but if i run Linux mandriva the beep comes back if anyone knows how to configure the beep thing under linux i’d sure like to here about it.

  19. Can anyone help just got ibm t41 can not load my ntl disk for internet comes up with lan card problem the only thing is the fix is to disable or remove have tryed disable the lan card but still not working then tryed to remove from Device manager but it will not let me can anyone help?

  20. IBM Thinkpad X41

    This tablet for some strange reason it does not log in unless it connected to the docking station. If anyone can help with this it it will really help me out a lot.

  21. So… is this at all connected with that MSN boop noise that lets you know it can’t do something? Or the sound of that boop when you’ve run out of space to type? Because I’ve been doing random crap on the net or just on my compy and I’ll hear a quiet warning “boop” as if I’ve done something wrong or something has popped up… but I can’t trace it. IT HAPPENED AGAIN!!

  22. If you’ve been typing and hearing random Beeps, I’d say this is the cause of it. I can’t speak to specific applications, but for me it would Bloop from *any* app, if I hit the magic combo of keys…

  23. This is amazing! The most annoying beep in the world is gone. Thanks to the one who figured it out!

    When I had had the laptop for one week I called IBM/lenovo and asked them how to remove the beep. I talked to several people who knew exactly what I spoke of, they were annoyed too. Those IDIOTS said there was no solution. I guess the organisation is too big, all the creativity is gone and no one cares or understands anything…

  24. My IBM T20 wont start up..The message said …….Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corupt..[ [system 32/drivers/pci.sys] You can atempt to repair this file bt starting windows set up using [the original set up Cd rom]…….Select .. R.. at the first screen to start repair……..The screen lights up and IBM coms on but then the message above apears…It sounds like I need the origonal or a copy of the set up CD rom it came with when new… My T 20 says windows 2000 pro on the bottom but has been upgraded to win xp pro…I gues this start up CD is just for the IBM laptop…I dont have one… What type of set up disk came with the T 20 and where can I burn a copy to use on my laptop to try to get it to start up…I apreciate any HELP!!! regards.. Tom

  25. My Dell XPS M1710 laptop started beeping randomly recently. First it was just a random “boop” then is started doing consecutive “Boop Boop Boop”… like 3-4 in a row (each lasting about half a second or so). It had beeped before a couple of months ago but only one.. not a series like now and it also went away on its own. The beeping sound was also coming from some unknown internal speaker as it being a laptop the speakers I use are internal.. but I was hearing the beeping sound from somewhere deeper inside (I had put my headphones in the jack so that no sound would come out of the speakers… but I would still hear a load “boop” sound from inside the laptop).

    So I tried the directions up above. I went to the Device Manager (Start-> Control Panel-> System-> Hardware Tab-> Device Manager)… show hidden devices… etc.. as listed above and clicked on the Beep device. I went to the driver tap and clicked stop on the stop button (there was a start and stop button with the start button grayed out.. it was currently in the start mode). It gave me an error message say something like “error.. device not responding in a timely matter” and I could see the word “stopping” in the device window. After about a minute or so it eventually stopped. Haven’t heard a boop since then. So it seems (as of now) that this has fixed the issue for me. Thanks OP for the post cause the beeping was seriously getting on my nerves.

  26. My computer, a Dell Inspiron 9400, did the beep whenever it connected to the internet. The problem was, was that it did this during school (every day during an entire semester!!!) and everyone in the room (including the teacher) knew when I was online!!!

    Thanks to your little trick, the beep now seems to be gone! Too bad I didnt find this sooner as I graduate in 3 days! Will be very nice for grad school though!

    Thanks a MILLION!

  27. My computer randomly beeps… i have a dell windows xp. i have been on the phone with them a number of times.. its not keyboard,speakers,memory. Does anyone know what would be the problem?

  28. This worked great for my T60p. That beep is not tied into Window’s volume at all and always plays WAY louder than any other sound. Very strange design decision by IBM.

  29. Thanks! No more embarrassing moments in coffee shops for me and my Fujitsu Lifebook (Vista Home Prem)

    More importantly, why is the source of this annoying sound hidden so deep? I will never understand MS.

  30. Uh, it’s not Microsoft – it’s the OEM that builds the machine that turns this on and/or has hardware that causes the beep.

    Not for anything, but I’m sorta sick of watching applications crash because they’re written like shit and then Microsoft having to take the blame for it.

    It’s like getting an error when you tell a calculator to divide by 0 and it shows an error… any application can look like shit if you try hard enough!

  31. my thinkpad t20 has no sound i’m running it on windows XP. says the drivers are fine but i still have no sound. can someone please help me.

  32. YES MY NAME IS REALLY THE HOLIDAY NAME. I HAVE

    A DELL COMPUTER, AND FOR THE LAST THREE DAYS

    I HAVE HAD THIS HORRIBLE BEEPING, ESPECIALLY

    WHEN I USE MY MICROSOFT OUTLOOK EXPRESS 6 FOR

    EMAILING, AND IT WILL BEEP WHEN I DELITE ANY

    THING, ALSO BEEPS AT TIMES IN THE KEY BOARD.

    I HAVE CHARTER.NET FOR MY SERVER, AND THEY DON’T

    KNOW WHAT IT IS, IT IS NOT FROM THEM. THEN

    THESE TWO THINGS SHOWED UP, IN THE EMAIL UNDER

    DRAFTS; JUNK MAIL? AND SOMETHING CALLED

    PHISHING . NONE OF THIS IS FROM CHARTER. HOW

    DO I GET RID OF THESE , AND THE BEEPS. IT IS

    DRIVING ME NUTS……..

  33. some one plz email me with a fix.

    i have a IBM thinkpad running windows 2000.

    the battery is gone in it but it was running off just power for a while. then a few days it stopped booting up.

    the boot list changed and tried to boot from cd-rom and there is no cd-rom drive on the laptop.

    i switched it and it worked fine again and then today it won’t boot at all. i press the on button and all the lights come up and then shuts off again.

    any help or am i doomed?

  34. thank you so much, i’ve forgotten how badly this pissed me off. i guess it happens because i *roll* my fingers from key to key instead of a *punching* effect. thank you thank you thank you.

  35. My older model thinkpad beeps in this sequence… 1beep,3beeps,3beeps,1beep when i attempt to start up. Then the screen remains black. It’s this close to the trash!!! Thanks for reading.

  36. THANK YOU!! I use my headphones to listen to music and when the beep happens, it’s so loud in my headphones and it scares the CRAP out of me.

  37. Hi, I’ve been looking for a way to turn that stupid beep off. So far, the solution given here is what all the forums are saying…but I can’t figure out where the Device Manager is. I’m not sure if I’m really that technologically inept, but, either way, I can’t find it. Some sites say it’s called the System Device Manager and it’s in the control panel. I’ve looked there and can’t find it, and just so you know I’m not an idiot, I do know there are two views. I did see a System, but when I clicked on that it was pretty much just the information about my computer. Nothing about showing hidden anythings. If anyone could help me find where the elusive Device Manager is I’d be extremely grateful. I hate that beep.

  38. It depends on the OS you’re using… in XP it’s… Um. Er. I don’t remember :( But in Vista it’s one of the nodes in Computer Management (via Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management).

    HTH!

  39. I found the Device Manager on my Dell in the System Folder of the Control Panel. After the System window came up I clicked on Hardware and Device Manager was there. Show Hidden Devices is under View at the top.

    Hope this helps!!

  40. I’m thinking this fix is bogus. This just turns off the beep – it doesn’t solve the problem. Why was the beep happening in the first place?? My laptop is beeping when I’m not even touching it. That tells me that something is wrong internally. This “fix” is just a bandaid.

  41. Uh, no, it’s not a bandaid. This doesn’t fix a machine that is beeping on it’s own without being touched – your ThinkPad has a problem.

    That the keyboard on a ThinkPad is emitting a beep is an unknown, but it also doesn’t cause an error… and as far as bandaids go, this works well.

  42. wow it really works and that annoying beep is gone… thanks so much! by the way I have a thinkpad z61m, the same problem, the same solution.

  43. This didn’t work for me. I get a beep from the bios on startup about something which can’t be rectified. But I have a last ditch solution for anyone else in the same boat…

    Buy a headphone extension cable from Tandy / Dick Smith / whoever. Plug the cable into the laptop, but don’t plug the headphones into the other end. NO beep!

    Then after your operating system has started, you can plug in the headphones or unplug the extension cable.

  44. My IBM was beeping everytime I moved the mouse. It stopped thanks to the beep fix. Wow who ever would have thought they would make a ‘device’ called beep!!!!

  45. Yeah! Almost 3 months of annoying beeps and suddenly I stumbled upon your blog post. You are the man! Thank you.

  46. Thank you, I think you saved my hearing and my sanity! While I listened to music on my headphones at work, I was periodically jolted by a beep while I was typing, and I had no idea what was causing it.

  47. Ah, I knew about the ‘beep’ hidden device, but I forgot that it would fix this (as I thought that it was separate hardware and software beeps and that ‘device’ only handled the software side of things). Cheers for the fix.

    http://www.dansdata.com/danletters058.htm

    – That link shows why the keyboard causes a beep with CERTAIN combinations of keys (e.g. shift+CD on my T40).

    Cool. Get rid of YET ANOTHER annoyance from IBM with these T4x models.

    Adding to the GPU design issue, the general case flex issue that causes the latter and other chip failures, the errors I’m getting in my system log due to a buggy system hardware driver installation (LATEST drivers), and the fact that IBM think that over SIX HOURS is an efficient time for an automated system factory restore to take on a 1.5GHz, 2GB RAM laptop. Then they forget to install the wireless ethernet driver. Then the latest such driver is so piss-poorly tested that the very PATH that it looks for its own install files in has been entered incorrectly and has to be modified manually (requiring some skills that a driver install shouldn’t require).

    What a bunch of idiots designed these machines, and then refused to properly support them.

    You can see why they’re no longer in that line of business.

  48. I bought a T43 recently and have the beep problem. Tried the common fix of first stopping the beep, then disabled it because that didnt work, then uninstalled it because that didnt work., and now it still beeps.. still. Anytime I plug the thing in or go in/come out of hibernation. Please Help!

  49. This fix fixes a different type of beep, the one related to the keyboard. The beep that you’re hearing is part of the OS… might be something in the BIOS, but odds are, you’d have to mute the machine before sleeping to avoid the startup/shutdown beeps.

  50. For MY Ibm Thinkpad x41, when i turn it on the screen doesn’t work is there any way to fix this? Please respond asap.

  51. I have an IBM T41 laptop. It was given to me as a gift but think any way the person who gave it to me was just fade up of it. it worked well for the first 3 weeks and after the screen should not display anymore. It has a beeping sound when i switch it on. it doesnt display but the beeping sound continues for a while later it stops still not displaying. Any help? am sure its not the keys but something technical. help me send mail to vasel2007@yahoo.com

  52. I have an Thinkpad T40 and i get no sound out of my speakers or headphone jack. After running troubleshoot, all system settings are fine and running and i still get no sound. Any suggestions would help at this point. Thank you

  53. For anyone who still has got a problem with annoying beep, even after switching it off in hardware settings – go to bios, check there in Alarms section – disable all alarms and this will solve problem, especially problem with beep when switching on/off the power supply.

  54. Need help! i have Compaq evo 500 mini tower it was running perfectly but for last two days it lost the sound i checked that sound drive it is there and speakers are also ok, even i install an external sound card but still it’s unable to provide sound. please suggest me how could be the issue.

  55. OMG! I had been searching for 2 hours for a way to stop that freaking noise (and managed to disable my sound in the process which took another two hours to get back) and then found this and it worked right away! 4 hours sooner would have been nice, but OMG YAY!

  56. I’m totally not a tech geek. A friend of mine had to hook this up for me. It took him a little time b/c IBM has some admin software that does something with the wireless [connection]. I don’t know. But I know HOW to use it! And it works great!! I bought this b/c my classes are now video-streamed so I needed a laptop with enough [whatever] to get high speed data / video and could be connected thru my television to watch class. It’s totally lightweight, works really well and probably does MUCH more than I will ever ask of it. He also told me that it did not come loaded with software – like Word and such – that he loaded for me. I’m just putting this info on here b/c I always thought computers came “fully loaded.” I can’t be the only one who thinks that. But he said it was easy enough to load up, hook up and work.

  57. Wild. Juts got my hands on an X200 and it looks like they have added an option to the BIOS to turn off the “Keyboard Beep”! I just tried the keys above without turning off the System Beep service and lo! – no beep was heard. Only took five years but they got there :)

  58. My Dell laptop is doing exactly the same as this post beneath was saying. Also when I don’t even touch it.

    “Posted on: May 15, 2007 at 02:39 PM by Elexsor

    My Dell XPS M1710 laptop started beeping randomly recently. First it was just a random “boop” then is started doing consecutive “Boop Boop Boop”… like 3-4 in a row (each lasting about half a second or so). It had beeped before a couple of months ago but only one.. not a series like now and it also went away on its own. The beeping sound was also coming from some unknown internal speaker as it being a laptop the speakers I use are internal.. but I was hearing the beeping sound from somewhere deeper inside.”

    I was trying all the solutions mentioned here, but my “Beep device” is already disabled and also already stopped. However, it is still beeping.. It drives me nuts!! Anyone got a clue?

  59. To disable the beep in Linux go to “System”-“Preferences”-“Sounds”-the last tab ” System Beep”, uncheck Enable system beep.

  60. my aspire 3630 will beep when i load window and stop when select f8 option for agreement appear and when i open any file explorer with a menu bar the mouse will blink on the ‘file’ and i have to tap the mouse several time b4 it respond. Note: it does not beep when am running application. The mouse is d problem. I need help please

  61. My IBM T40 screen is black and won’t turn on. Is there a trik to get the screen working or a way to use an external screen?

    Thanks

  62. It seems as if the battery is not aT 100%, i will often get beeps, ususally 4 long beeps. Then I shut the T43 off, again it happens, then after 3 tries I will get 3 (I think 3 quick beeps), I shut down, next it comes on blank, then voila, the T43 comes up normal. A friend told me about beep codes the other day. Is this major problem or just an irritation? thx brian

  63. I’m so grateful, Randy, for your “fix” for the beeping. Those beeps were about to push me right over the edge!!!

  64. Oh my god THANK YOU SO MUCH

    That stupid beep has been driving me insane for a year now and thanks to you my sanity will degenerate no further…

    I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  65. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! This was the second search result that came up in Google and it was exactly what I searched for — a way to disable that annoying beep. I have a Lenovo W500 and your guidance worked!

  66. I don’t think it does honestly because I think that beep is in the BIOS… it might be though – I’ve never investigated it.

  67. Sadness! This is not usable in Windows 8 due to a change in Device Manager. I’m searching for an alternate way to turn off “Beep”… more as I find it.

  68. Sweet. For Windows 8 (or 7 I would imagine) you can turn off this system service with another tool.

    Open Command Prompt as Administrator

    sc stop Beep

    sc config Beep start=disabled

    The first line turns it off; the second disables it on future boots.


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