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All About RAM: Troubleshooting Part 2

Thursday, April 21st, 2016 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Hardware & Peripherals
 
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In part one of this article, we looked at two ways to troubleshoot problems on your PC that can be caused by faulty RAM. If you haven’t read that yet, click here to check it out.

In this article, we’re pulling out the big guns and using a more advanced method.

Memtest86

The most advanced and thorough RAM checker you can use, but also the hardest to use is Memtest86. You can download a free version here.  A premium version is also available.  This software that sits on a CD or USB stick . The part that makes it tricky is that Memtest86 can’t be run in an operating system. When you put Memtest on media storage, it also installs ‘boot files’, which allows your computer to use Memtest as an operating system instead of the one you currently use.

When you boot up the computer, sometime before the operating system loads, you’ll see a prompt to press a key to access a boot menu. You need to press this key and select where Memtest is to boot to.

The good news is, once this tricky step has been performed, Memtest will take care of everything and report any errors it encounters. The bad news is, for an accurate reading, you’ll want Memtest to be running for at least eight hours – load it up before bed and check on it in the morning to see if it found anything. You’ll know if something is wrong when text is highlighted in red, like this:

RAMSeries08

(Image credit: http://ccm.net/faq/609-testing-ram-reliability-memtest )

Unfortunately, this will only tell you that one of your sticks is bad, and not which one specifically. If you get an error, you’ll have to test each stick of RAM by removing all others and repeating the test. When the error appears on one of the sticks, this will identify the stick that has gone bad. After this, it’s a simple case of replacing it.

~ Simon

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