Saturday, December 3, 2011

How to Test Memory – Test Bad Memory in a PC

Testing Memory:
This is an article about how to test memory that you have recently purchased or may be giving you problems. It is a good idea to test your new memory to make sure it will not give you problems down the road. This guide will also help you diagnose whether existing memory you have is faulty or is producing errors on your system.
“The Blue Screen of Death”, which you may see referred to as “BSOD” can be a common sign that the memory you have might be faulty. This is what happens when you are working on your PC and the screen goes completely blue and displays an error message that looks like a bunch of zeros and letters. The specific message does not give you much insight as to what may be going on unless you are an advanced user. But the act of the system displaying a blue screen is a good sign that you either need to reinstall your operating system or need to test your memory for problems.
Three other common signs of a memory problem or conflict can be if the system errors out during installations of software. Another sign can be if your system randomly reboots while you are working on it. The final symptom can be corrupted files that you have recently created or downloaded. The system will usually give you an error saying a file is corrupted in this case, although this is the least common of the three problems mentioned.
If you are running into these issues you may want to consider doing a diagnostic of your memory since a reinstall can fail if the memory is in fact faulty.
What Software do I Need to do a Diagnostic ?
There are two main programs people recommend for testing your memory. They are “MS Memory Diagnostic” which is provided by Microsoft, and “Memtest86” which can be found by searching through or going to their homepage at:
I usually recommend that people use both programs since one program can sometimes pick things up that the other program missed. 
Now let’s talk about how to get these programs and how to set them up. In some cases if you are having lots of memory problems you may not be able to work on your PC long enough to get each one setup and burned to CD. If this is the case there are two things you can do.
The first thing you can try is an old fashioned way of ruling out bad memory. It relies on you having at least two sticks of memory or more in your system. If you do have several sticks of memory, in most cases only one will go bad and the others can still be working fine. You can check for this by removing all your memory from the system, and then replacing it one stick at a time.
When you add one stick back into the system, run the computer and see if you are still getting memory errors. If only one stick is bad and it is currently out of the system you should be able to get your diagnostic discs setup since you will now be running more stable. This procedure in itself can rule out which stick is at fault although it helps to have diagnostic information when you apply for return authorization from the company you purchased your memory from.
If the above method does not help and you are still unable to get you PC to a point where it is stable enough for you to make your diagnostic disc, I would recommend checking with a friend and seeing if you can use their PC to make your disc. Or if you have access to a computer at work you can usually make the disc there too. Just check with your supervisor and make sure that it is not a problem if you do.

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