How to Diagnose, Check, and Test for Bad Memory
Need a memory check? Do you suspect that your computer have may be the victim of bad memory? There are several ways to check for bad memory and I will go through a short list in this article. Memory can go bad at any time and there are also certain things you can do to help prevent the onset of bad memory.
Having bad memory on your PC can manifest itself in many different ways. One way is that you’ll start getting blue screens of death suddenly while working on your computer. Even though it’s not a pretty error, it definitely is clear what the problem is.
Other times bad memory problems are a little more tricky to figure out. For example, your computer may suddenly freeze and you have to restart in order for it to start working again. This could be an issue with the OS or with the hardware. You can usually determine if this is a problem with the memory by checking to see if the mouse still moves when the freeze occurs.
Most of the time, when software causes Windows to freeze, the mouse cursor is still movable. However, if the mouse freezes also, you might be looking at a memory problem.
Other bad memory issues include the computer not booting up at all. You’ll just get an error before the Windows logo even appears. This means that the memory is not compatible or not functioning correctly. You may even get just a blank black screen.
If your screen is doing all sorts of crazy stuff like not being drawn correctly or having tons of colored lines going through it, etc, it could all be caused by bad memory.
How to test for bad memory
Ok, enough of the problems, so how do you test for bad memory? Well there are several ways. Firstly, Windows Vista has a built in tool for testing the system memory.
When your computer is booting up, press the F8 key to bring up the Windows Boot Manager.
Now go down to Tools and select Windows Memory Diagnostic. The standard memory test will be performed, but you can press F1 and change it to advanced. Let it run and don’t do anything else.
Unfortunately, Windows Vista does not have the best memory checking tool installed, so it may not detect all memory problems. That’s why you need to try out a couple of hardcore memory checking programs.
memtest86 is by far the most popular amongst the memory checking crowd and works very well. It has a whole slew of tests that you pick and choose to run. The program was created in 1994 and was last updated in 2007, so it’s a bit old.
Prime95 is another memory checker, but one that has been updated more regularly and that works with multicore CPUs, which are becoming more prevalent these days. The program tests both the CPU and memory by using various stress tests, such as calculating large prime numbers.
Finally, if you have determined that there is a problem with the memory on your computer, you can try removing the memory one by one to see which one is causing the problem. If you have several DIMMs installed on your PC, just go through them one by one.
If you are not running Windows Vista, you can still run the Windows Memory Diagnostic by going to Microsoft Online Crash Analysis and downloading the tool from there.
Hope that helps you figure out your memory problem! If you know of any other tools for testing and checking memory, please post a comment! Enjoy!
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