RAM Failures

Bad RAM is somehow harder to diagnose as similar symptoms may be caused by software problems, other hardware problems or even motherboard failure. However if you experience any of these symptoms, you should check for bad RAM before attempting any other troubleshooting.

Symptoms:

  • Windows doesn’t start showing different error messages each time.
  • Windows crashes (blue screen) or freezes frequently.
  • Windows crashes as soon as you try to start a program.
  • Unexplained random crashes and freezes without error messages.

Troubleshooting:

Download Memtest86+ and burn it to a CD or make a floppy. For CD get the “Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)” and for floppy (if you can start your laptop from a floppy drive) get the “Pre-Compiled package for Floppy (DOS – Win)”. If you are making a CD, you will have to “burn” the ISO image to the CD, not just copy it. There are numerous guides how to do that with different CD burning software (you cannot do it with the build-in Windows CD burning). In general you need to find where on the menus of your favourite CD burning program it says something like “Create CD from Image” or “Burn Image to Disk” or similar. Then select the .iso image file and burn it. If your laptop crashes a lot and you cannot make the Memtest CD or floppy, ask a friend or talk to your local repair shop and ask them to make one for you (it probably will be $5-$10).

Start the laptop from the CD/floppy and let Memtest86 run for a couple of hours. To start your laptop from the CD you may need to select a temporary boot device by pressing F12, F11 or F8 as soon as the logo appears on the screen (2-3 sec. after turning it on) or immediately after entering the BIOS/HD password if you have set one. If that doesn’t work, you will have to change the boot order in the BIOS. To do that try pressing F1, F2 or “Esc” (for Toshiba) to get to the BIOS settings and make the CD the first booting device.

If Memtest86 finds errors (there usually will be thousands of them) try removing one of the RAM chips (if your laptop has two of them) and run Memtest86 again.

Most laptops have two RAM slots that are easily accessible under a tab on the bottom. Others have just one slot there and the other is under the keyboard, on some there is RAM soldered on the motherboard (Toshiba), and a few laptops have just one RAM slot.

Removing laptop RAM: remove the screws, touch an exposed metal part of the laptop with both your hands (usually the VGA connector has two visible screws that you can touch to discharge any static electricity), then release both clips that hold the RAM and it will pop up. Hold the RAM on the sides (avoid touching the chips) and gently pull it out. To install, insert back the RAM and gently push it down until it locks in place.On some laptops the RAM is under the keyboard, or one chip is on the bottom of the laptop as described above, and another is under the keyboard. It is usually very easy to remove the keyboard on almost all laptops. Try to find the service manual for your model and find the description there. Alternatively, there are step-by-step picture guides on the Internet for most laptop models.

Memtest86 will run until you stop it by pressing “Esc” key. If your laptop freezes or restarts by itself while running the RAM test, it either is overheating or has another hardware problem.

30 Comments

  • #30 by jonathan August 7, 2014 at: 10:43 am

    I have a problem with my ram too ,task managees show my memoey usage to be around 80% at 100mb for the highest usage and my ram is at 8gb . Pleae help I had my mllaptop for a year now as of this message my warranty is to be expired on 13 august.

  • #29 by bhumika December 10, 2013 at: 3:02 am

    i have an hp 2000-2110 TU
    the ram is of 2 gb…but now only 926 MB is working..what should i do???

  • #28 by sergio November 3, 2013 at: 9:34 am

    hi fellows. i have a two problems to solve;
    1- I have a DEll D600; my wife spilled a little bit of wine on the keyboard. I turned the laptop upside down right away. After a couple of day i notice that the “Escape” key was not working; since I have a fairly amount of computer knowledge, I took the keyboard off and tried blow drying it. Even after cleaning the problem persisted, than the next day on booting the laptop it started powering off as soon as any keys on the keyboard was touched, and has been like that ever since. Can anyone offer a solution to this problem?

    2- I have a lenovo t400 laptop, while updating the bios i suffered a power loss. now the laptop wont start, it gives an error bip “1 long followed by two short bips. I am at my wits end , HELP ANYONE.

  • #27 by Dave July 10, 2013 at: 12:27 pm

    I am working on an old Gigabyte socket A, the owner says he pulled the RAM memory modules out while the MB was on, hence so the DIMM light visible on the board. Now I just have the MB and everything on cardboard, when I power up the Supply the DIMM light is yellow and tapping the power on pins on the MB with a screwdriver powers up the system then immediate shut down. No beeps from MB speaker. I’m waiting on a new mid tower. But do you think the RAM is ruined ? or the old MB has a micro fracture somewhere ? it boots for a second so a fracture can’t be the issue. What do you think.
    Dave

  • #26 by Emily April 6, 2013 at: 5:38 am

    I took out my RAM and put it back in yesterday and when i turned my laptop back on, the screen resolution was all funky. I checked the resolution options but there is only a low and a high. Can someone please tell me how to fix this?

  • #25 by eaglehdr March 25, 2013 at: 7:10 am

    hi, i am having a strange problem with my latitude D620.
    when i press power button, (num,caps,scroll) lock lights, and DVD ROM loght remains stable for 4 to 5 seconds, and then pc shut itself off……. if sometimes it boots everything go straight and suddenly system hangs at anywhere….!!! can you guide me what should i do??
    (i only have 2gb DDR2 ram installed)

  • #24 by SInGrasa.NET February 7, 2013 at: 3:16 pm

    NITHIN The problem may be that the two memories are different speeds and this makes the synchronization can not be properly carried

  • #23 by NITHIN February 6, 2013 at: 10:54 pm

    I have 2 RAMS one is of DDR2 1 GB and another one is DDR2 2GB RAM

    By keeping it separately that is one at a time the laptop is working as usual.And the problem is when i keep both the RAMS in the slots (1 gb + 2 gb) its not working properly.the screen resolution and the colour of the screen is changing.why is it so?

    Kindly resolve my problem

    Thank You

  • #22 by Angam Dhanunjaya January 23, 2013 at: 12:08 am

    Hi

    I came here to ask u the problem i am facing with my RAM

    I have 2 RAMS one is of DDR2 512MB,533Mhz and another one is DDR2 2GB,800Mhz RAM

    By keeping it separately that is one by one it shows its configuration as 1982MB for 2GB RAM and 448 for 512MB RAM in dxdiag and in POST SCREEN it shows 2097152KB for 2GB and 524288KB for 512MB when i keep individually

    And the problem is when i keep both the RAMS in the slots it shows 2430MB in dxdiag and in POST SCREEN it shows the Memory as 2621440KB and shows only single RAM as “533singleslot+64MB” something and the problem is why it is not showing as double slots

    Kindly resolve my problem

    Thank You

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