How to diagnose a faulty RAM (Random access memory) stick in your computer? How to test, if the memory stick is functioning or is at fault.
A bad or a faulty Memory stick can cause plenty of problems to drive you nuts, because many a times it escapes our attention and we try to find the faults elsewhere. So how do we determine a problem could be due to a bad RAM. A faulty RAM can cause lot of problems but following are the most common signs of a faulty memory stick.
Computer fails to boot, instead you might get a continuous beep sounds (Several). Beep sounds are basically code, to describe the characteristics of various beep sounds is altogether a different topic.
Computer crashes randomly without warning, showing frequent BSOD (blue screen of death), displaying “General Protection fault error messages”, Illegal operation messages, Fatal Exceptions messages etc. All these messages are indications of a Bad RAM.
- Computer freezes or reboots randomly.
- Installation of windows fails or any other software.
- System crashes during any memory intensive tasks like while using Photoshop or playing a 3d game.
The above signs are the commonest signs of a faulty RAM.
HOW TO TEST A RAM (Memory) if its faulty or not.
NOTE: Before you proceed to test the RAM, if you have recently added a extra RAM (new) in your computer, I suggest first you take out that new RAM and try to run your system, if your system runs well, than you have found the culprit, that is the new RAM module, but if the problem persists, than proceed to the next step to test the RAM
SOFTWARE TO TEST RAM:
There are several software programs available for testing RAM. These are specialized software designed to test your computer hardware and also RAM.
1. Windows vista and Windows 7 has built in Memory Diagnostic tools, which does the job quite well. To access the tool click on the start button and type “Memory” in the search button and on the results window at the top you will see the Windows Memory diagnostic tool for windows , click on it to start the tool as shown below.
On clicking that you will get another window giving you the options
1. Restart now and check for problems (recommended)
2. Check for problems the next time I start my computer
You can choose any option, the recommended option would be advisable, but do save your work before you click on the option to check RAM. At the end windows will present summery report.
2. Memtest 86: Memtest 86 is a RAM diagnostic tool. It has to be downloaded in to a Floppy or a CD. Since Floppy disk are no longer used these days you can download and write it on a blank CD. There are two modes a Memtest could be run, Basic and advanced mode. Advanced mode takes a considerably longer time but does a thorough test. But a basic test is good enough to check for any fault.
Insert the CD and restart your computer by setting your computer to boot from the CD in the BIOS, the software will run a test on all the installed RAM in your computer. If it finds any error the report will be displayed at the bottom of the screen.
NOW WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A FAULTY RAM:
If the windows Memory diagnostic tool or Memtest finds a faulty RAM. than do the following, if you have more than one RAM module,( since most of the modern computers have more than one RAM) take out one by one and rerun the test, if you get the error message in one of the RAM, than you have found the faulty RAM, just replace it with a new matching RAM.
In case your computer has only one RAM than just take out the RAM and re insert it on another RAM slot, because at times the RAM slot itself might be at fault and not the RAM, than rerun the test again, if you don’t get any error message, than you know that the RAM is OK but the slot is at fault.
Remember when ever you do anything on the hardware component of your computer, like changing and inserting the RAM, always shut down your computer disconnect it from the power source, to avoid any electric shock to yourself and also to protect the other hardware component of your PC.
Hope this TIP was of help. Next time if your computer behaves abnormally, think of bad RAM.
Posted By: Ben Jamir