How to Test RAM: Making Sure Bad Memory Isn’t Crashing Your PC

If you’re experiencing frequent blue screens of death, check to see if your RAM is in good working order.

The RAM in your computer is crucial to its operation. Explained simply, RAM is the short-term memory of your computer, which it requires to complete its present task. Even the best RAM, like any other computer component, can fail, so you’ll want to know how to check whether your memory is stable.

Blue screens of death are one of the first symptoms that your memory is failing (BSODs). Memory problems are frequently visible due to their rapidly rising severity. You’ll just have a few crashes at first, and the system will still function. However, the system will crash at startup before you know it. As a result, it’s critical to pinpoint the issue fast.

You may test your computer’s RAM in a variety of methods. Today, we’ll look at a couple of them.

How to Test RAM

HCI Design’s MemTest is one of our favorite options at Tom’s Hardware. The advantage is that there is no need for pre-booting and there are no instructions. You simply have to run it.

How to Test RAM With Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

The built-in Memory Diagnostic tool in Windows 10 is the next easiest way to test your memory.

1. Go to your start menu and type “Windows Memory Diagnostic” into the search box.

2. Select “Restart now and check for problems.” Windows will restart automatically, run the test, and then reboot into Windows.

3. Once restarted, wait for the result message. As the system boots up, this may take a few moments to show. Patience is required. It will appear, but keep an eye out for it since it will vanish shortly.

How to Test RAM With Passmark Memtest86

Memtest86 from PassMark is a dependable program for memory testing that doesn’t require an operating system, thus it can be used on both Windows and Linux workstations. It operates from a bootable USB stick and, despite its complexity, is extremely easy to use.

1. Download Passmark Memtest86.

2. On your desktop, extract the contents into a folder

3. Insert a USB stick into your computer. Passmark’s utility will format the USB stick, so make a backup of any data on it.

4. Run the “imageUSB” program.

5. At the top, select the correct USB drive and press ‘Write.’

6. Before proceeding, double-check that everything is in order. Depending on the speed of your USB stick, writing will take a few moments.

7. Restart your computer and press F2, Del, F8, F10, or whatever key your system uses to get to the boot menu. On your post screen, it will state so.

8. Boot off the USB stick.

9. Press “Config.”

10. In the Memtest86 home screen, select “(S)tart Test”

Allow the application to perform the test until it finishes or issues arise. At the top of the screen, you can see how the test is progressing.

Testing can take anything from 20 minutes to many hours, depending on the extent of your memory. It is pointless to continue testing if mistakes emerge. This is an example of a screen containing errors:

What If My RAM Is Bad?

Congratulations if you didn’t get any mistakes. Your memory is in good shape. You can either relax or continue debugging to determine what else could be causing the problems now that RAM issues have been ruled out.

If you do get problems, then congrats: you’ve figured out what’s causing your crashes. The only option to address memory problems in 95% of cases is to buy new RAM or replace it. If you have multiple RAM kits, test each one separately to see which one is producing issues and send it in for warranty. Fortunately, many RAM kits now come with a lifetime warranty.

However, there are three things you can attempt to resolve these RAM-related issues.

The first step is to make sure your RAM is operating at the proper clock speeds for your machine. All memory has its speed and timings indicated on the label or package, and you may use the XMP profiles in your BIOS to ensure that it performs at these speeds. It’s a rare occurrence, however, it’s possible that the RAM was made to run faster than it was capable of, resulting in problems.

If changing your BIOS to the correct XMP profile doesn’t help, another option is to underclock your memory, which means running it at slower speeds than the manufacturer recommends. Reduce the frequency and back off on the timings to achieve this. However, this is usually only a band-aid solution because if the RAM has degraded, the issues will most likely reappear soon.

Finally, keep in mind that not all platforms are compatible with all memory configurations. If you’re using a very high memory frequency, make sure that your CPU and motherboard can handle it. The memory controller on your CPU is unable to manage the RAM’s high frequencies, therefore out-of-spec combinations will make it appear that the memory is faulty.



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