Forum Question: My iMac beeps 3 times when startup is attempted

Recently, my iMac has been acting up by randomly crashing and then beeping 3 times loudly 3 times when I try to start up the computer. I found out that 3 beeps means its a memory problem and I am scheduled to have Apple fix it. However, I really want to back up my files (especially iPhoto) before I take it in to them, since they can’t guarantee that the data will be there when they are done working on it. The problem is, the computer won’t stay on long enough to back up my files. Sometimes it will start up for a few minutes, but after that it will just crash again and beep 3 times. Please help me find a way to backup my files before I take it into Apple for fixing.

— Austin

Comments: 3 Responses to “My iMac beeps 3 times when startup is attempted”

    12/24/09 @ 10:55 pm

    Backing up your drive is a good idea before taking it in for repairs. In your situation, with the Mac crashing just after startup, there are a few things I would try.
    1. If you have another Mac handy, try booting your iMac into Firewire Target mode. Then connect it to the other Mac and use that Mac to grab the files and back them up to an external drive using SuperDuper! or another tool.
    2. Try booting your iMac into Safe Mode to see if it will not crash and allow you to backup.
    3. If it is a memory problem, then try taking out one of the (probably) 2 memory sticks in your Mac. Try booting with only one. Then try the other one. That should tell you which is bad, and may get you running long enough to back up. You may then want to just order a replacement and do it yourself.
    For everyone else: this is why you have Time Machine backing up your Mac BEFORE you have a problem. When you get a problem, it may be too late.

    4/6/10 @ 1:16 pm

    Hey Gary, thanx a lot! I just fixed my imac from your instruction

    10/25/11 @ 1:50 am

    i have a i- mac a1076 when i turn it on it has a black screen
    and beeps 3 times and and the light blincks green andthat it

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