What Are the Signs of RAM Failure and How to Check Faulty RAM - Windows Basics


Thursday, December 23, 2021

What Are the Signs of RAM Failure and How to Check Faulty RAM

What Are the Signs of RAM Failure and How to Check Faulty RAM?

RAM is an essential component of a computer. It is a volatile memory that stores all the CPU calculations required to run an app or software. If RAM is damaged, you cannot run your computer. There are some signs that indicate the system’s RAM is failing. 

If you look after your tech devices properly, most gadgets and components will keep working for a long time.

However, the delicate nature of electronic components means that a time will come when pieces start to falter—and nothing is more susceptible than your computer's RAM.

Today, we will look at some of the signs of bad RAM. If you see any of these issues, it might be a sign that RAM failure is imminent.

1. Reduced performance

Reduced system performance is one of the most common faulty RAM phenomena. If you find that your computer runs perfectly when you power it ON for the first time but over time it becomes slower, then you probably have a faulty RAM. However, there are also other factors that affect the performance of the system, such as a misbehaving program, running a lot of heavy software that requires more RAM, etc.

So how can you tell if your RAM is healthy or not? If most of the applications or software installed on your computer frequently crash or take longer to load, you may have a faulty RAM. Apart from this, you will also encounter some other problems.

2. Random reboot

When your computer randomly restarts without any warning messages, your RAM may be faulty. However, the computer also randomly reboots when the hard drive fails. But if you know that your hard drive is healthy and your computer restarts frequently, especially after your desktop is booted up, it's a sign of poor RAM.

3. Frequent BSOD errors

BSOD errors occur due to corrupted software or faulty hardware. Therefore, it is not always a sign of poor RAM. Let's understand it with an example. When you get a BSOD error every time you launch a particular piece of software, it's more likely that the software is causing the error than the hardware. But if you notice your system crashes too often, especially when you try to install a new app or software, your RAM may be damaged.

4. The amount of RAM is displayed incorrectly

One of the symptoms of a RAM error is that the system displays less RAM than it actually is. You can easily check how much RAM is installed on your system, but the process may be different for different versions of Windows. In case of RAM failure, your system will display less memory than it actually is.

5. Video Card fails to load

You may have heard beeps when turning ON your computer. A beep when starting the computer indicates that the computer has successfully recognized the Video Card. But if your computer can't load the Video Card, you won't hear such beeps. You will also receive a warning message in this case. The cause of this problem is a faulty RAM or Video Card of the system.

How to check if RAM is faulty?

A. Clean the RAM and re-insert it 

A dirty or corroded RAM also causes many errors in a computer. Hence, if your system is showing the signs of bad RAM, the first step that you should take is to remove it from the slot and see whether it is dirty or not. If you find it dirty or corroded, clean it. You can use isopropyl alcohol to remove the corrosion. Now, insert it again and check whether you get the above problems again or not.

B. Free diagnostic tool to check if RAM is working

As you can see, computer troubleshooting is a process of elimination until you find the root cause of the headache. Here are the FREE tools we used to diagnose RAM problems. They are easy to deploy and cost nothing.

FREE Windows Diagnostic Tool

Windows comes with a appropriately named memory diagnostic program: the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool. It is a powerful built-in software that reliably does the job of diagnosing memory problems.

To open the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to check for memory errors:

1. Type Windows Memory Diagnostic into Cortana and press ENTER; it will pull up immediately.

2. Select RESTART NOW to run the test or choose to run it on the next boot.

3. You’ll see a blue screen. Use the default Standard memory test. Let the test proceed until finished (the time it takes depends on the speed of your PC and available RAM).

OPTIONAL: Press F1 and select Extended Test for more comprehensive information. You will need a LOT of time running WMD until it's done.

4. Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool will show you the results once done. Any errors will be logged in the Windows Event Log.

Just like what the test found, WMD will show the RAM stick causing the problem. From here, you can simply remove the faulty memory module and replace it with a new one.

For scrutiny, we wanted to run the test again after replacing the faulty RAM module.


FREE Diagnostic Tool for Mac

Apple computers have their own built-in tool to check for faulty RAM. Reboot the system and hold down the “D” key to load the diagnostic kit. This will bring you to the diagnostics screen, which changes depending on the age of your Mac and Operating System.

1. On older systems, the diagnostics page will have a blue background. Select Hardware Test, which is the tab in the middle. Then tick the box next to Perform extended testing and press the Test button.

On newer systems, the test starts automatically with a gray or black background. If the program doesn't pull up, press and hold OPTION + D. Your Mac will search for an online test suite to download.

2. When the tests are complete, the diagnostic tool will tell you if there are any problems with memory.

We recommend trying more than one RAM-checker and compare results for further confirmation.  One tool can miss a problem that another will detect.

If the memory sticks need replacing you should know that some older models of Macs allow you to access the RAM modules while many new Macs do not. 

If your machine is still under warranty, we HIGHLY recommend taking it in to an Apple store.  Otherwise seek the help of a professional, unless you feel comfortable working on it yourself.

That’s it. Let us know if you have any questions.

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