Checking for Faulty RAM

by Barry Dysert
(last updated May 5, 2014)

The acronym RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It's the memory that you have in your computer system; it is not "memory" in a storage device, such as a hard drive. Memory is critical to the proper operation of your system, so it's important that you not only have an adequate amount of memory but also that what's in your computer is operating as it should. Although it doesn't happen too often, it is possible for memory to go bad. Fortunately, Windows provides an easy way to check for faulty RAM.

Windows is usually aware when there may be a memory-related problem. If it detects a problem you will suddenly be prompted to run the built-in Memory Diagnostics Tool. You can, however, run the tool manually if you wish. To do so, click the Start button, type "memory" (without the quotes), and select the item named "Windows Memory Diagnostic." In short order Windows displays the Windows Memory Diagnostic dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Windows Memory Diagnostic screen.

At this point you can choose to restart your system immediately and have it run diagnostics, or you can indicate that you want to run diagnostics the next time you restart your computer. (If you change your mind and don't want to run the diagnostics at all, just click Cancel.)

Assuming you've selected one of the two options, the memory diagnostics tool automatically begins running the next time your computer restarts. Upon its restart, memory tests will be run even before you're able to login again. It runs automatically, but you can alter its behavior by pressing the F1 key while it's running to change options. The options you can change include: Test Mix, Cache, and Pass Count.

The Text Mix option allows you to specify whether you want it to run the Basic, Standard, or Extended set of tests. The Cache option allows you to specify whether cache is on, off, or whether the default cache setting of each test should be used. The Pass Count option allows you to specify the number of passes the diagnostic should run before quitting. This can be set to a number from zero (meaning an infinite number of passes) to 99.

When the tests are completed, the system is automatically restarted, and when you login you will see the results of the tests in the System Notification Area (i.e., the System Tray).

 This tip (13099) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Creating a Disk Partition

Partitioning your disk offers a quick and efficient means to make good use of your disk resources. By creating disk ...

Discover More

Creating a System Image

A system image is a snapshot of your system disk as of a certain point in time. Should the need arise, you can restore your ...

Discover More

Adjusting the Size of an Event Log

Event logs are used to store information about what goes on, behind the scenes, on your system. Whether you want to increase ...

Discover More
MORE WINDOWSTIPS

Connecting a Bluetooth Device

If you're the proud owner of a Bluetooth device you probably want to get right to connecting it to your computer. This tip ...

Discover More

Estimating Battery Life

The battery in your laptop provides the power you need to even use the system. As you use your laptop, you may notice that it ...

Discover More

Using Powercfg to Change the Active Power Scheme

You can easily change which power scheme is active by using the SetActive switch. This tip shows you how.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share