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Beginners Guides: Diagnosing Bad Memory

Beginners Guides: Diagnosing Bad Memory - PCSTATS
Abstract: In this guide, PCSTATS will discuss the common symptoms of faulty memory as well as looking at a handful of free memory testing software programs which can help you diagnose your troubles.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Beginners Jul 21 2008   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > Beginners PCSTATS

Bad Memory Troubleshooting

Once you have determined that your system produces errors when tested with the diagnostic programs above, the next step is to pinpoint the problem areas. If you do discover errors in your memory, most likely you will need to seek warranty support or replacement, so make sure you know which module is faulty.

Isolating memory faults

If you only have a single stick of memory, the first thing to do is to run one or more of the utilities below to attempt to detect if the memory is faulty. If you do get errors, your next step should be to move the lone memory module to another memory slot in your motherboard, since there is a possibility of the slot, or at least the contacts between the RAM and the slot being problematic.

To do this first power off the computer. Pull back the two memory retention levers and remove your memory module. Insert the module into another memory slot and push it down firmly. The memory retention levers should snap into place. If they do not, you probably have the memory the wrong way round.

Once both levers are locked into place, power on your system and re-run the memory test(s). If you still get errors, you likely have a faulty memory module.

Troubleshooting with multiple memory modules

If you have more than one stick of memory in your system and you are experiencing errors, the next step is to determine where the problem lies. Any one of your memory modules could be faulty (though if you have recently upgraded your memory and started experiencing errors, common sense points towards the obvious culprit), as could one or more of the memory slots on your motherboard.

First step is to remove all but a single memory module (following the direction above) and retest. Test each memory module by itself in the same memory slot. If you get an error with only one of the modules, you have found your culprit. If you get an error with all of them, the problem likely lies with either the memory slot or the motherboard itself (possibly even the processor).

If you experienced no errors while testing each memory module by itself, but you did get errors when testing them all together the first time, there is the possibility than one of your other memory slots is defective. Try repeating the testing with single memory modules in the other memory slots on your board, until you find a combination that gives an error.

Professional Grade memory testing of DIMMs

There are companies which produce actual memory testing units, once such example being the Innoventions Ramcheck Memory Tester which PCStats reviewed a while back. This is a professional grade memory tester, and it costs a few thousand dollars for the base unit, and memory-specific adaptor from Innoventions. This is out of the range of the consumer who is looking to diagnose bad memory in their machine, but offers stores or service centers a quick and very reliable way to track down bad memory to the DRAM or even solder point level.

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- Flashing A Motherboard BIOS
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- Wireless home networking
- Internet Connection Sharing
- Remote Access to Computers
- Hard Drive Data Recovery
- Firewalls and Internet Security
- Back up and Restore Data in WinXP
- Assembling Your Own PC
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- Printer Sharing on a Home Network

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Contents of Article: Beginners PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Diagnosing Bad Memory
 Pg 2.  Memory Testing Tips
 Pg 3.  Docmem and Windows Mem Test
 Pg 4.  — Bad Memory Troubleshooting

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