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.

56 thoughts on “RAM Failures”

  1. iam having problem with my toshiba satel lite L300,its not displaying when i switch it on,but the on light will be showing same with the battery light,the cd/dvd rom light will be showing dark yellow,i suspect it is the ram.can anybody please share on this?

  2. Hi ,
    My laptop starts normally but when i shut down and again start after few hours it doesnt and even refuses to take charge,but again after being idle for hrs it starts ??

  3. i hav dell inspiron 15R…my LCD seemed jammed..
    sum kind of cracking voice cab b heard..
    plz do suggest sum solution fr dis…

  4. My computer is crashing /restarting frequently after running for sometime…applications crash before it happens..

    I face a similar problem while installing OS….
    Plz help me out…

  5. I have a Dell Inspiron laptop purchased in May, 2010. I recently had to have the hard drive replaced, under warranty, due to some issues. Now, when I turn laptop on, it displays a DOS screen “Windows Error Recovery” that suggest to run repair disc app or start windows normally. Either choice does not help the computer to start up. I have also attempted to click on F9 while computer is initially starting up. It will bring up the DOS screen with options, but again, the programs I choose will just continuously run. Nothing is fixing the problem. Can you suggest other processes to fix laptop? Look forward to your response.

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  7. @Ayub I had a similar problem with my Compaq Pressario C700 ..The power light is on but nothing is showing on the screen, the fan makes some noise but after some few seconds it stops. Yu cold evn leave the laptop in this state for days and it will never come up. Not until i discovered that i had a bad RAM. So i changed it and now i m enjoying my Laptop. Starts off one time now! So go get a new good ‘working’ RAM. GOODLUK.

  8. hai
    it is the good site ever been i visited for getting information about laptop problems and its trouble shooting.Beside that i have suggestion that , please include what are the various symptoms appeared when io ic or its controller ic is failed ……..thank you

  9. My big brother facing almost similiar to motherboard problem yet similar to RAM Failures too. My brother’s laptop is Acer ASPIRE 4736. The problem is, the power is on(light on), but the fan, hard disk and the screen not on(light off). Nothing happen or appear on the screen neither sound after it is switch on. Untill now we dont know what exactly the problem are. Can you help me please?
    (concern brother)

  10. my laptop doesn’t work properly.
    first, when i start my laptop it can work properly but only in few seconds, suddenly everything is going freeze..my laptop become hang.
    then, when it happened i had to press power button in order to restart my laptop back.
    after doing that several times,my laptop become :
    it cannot start properly.there was no changes when i press the power button,nothing appear at my screen -blank-
    there’s only blink blink at every lights at my laptop

  11. @kirov
    those are hardware problems, literally nothing to do with faulty ram, a 2 year old laptop is most likely on the way out anyway

  12. Always discharge static electricity or the RAM can be zapped and ruined. Touch something grounded (like the computer case) before you touch your computer internals! open the case, touch the case, then pull the plug. I like to hold the metal case with one hand when I touch anything inside a comp.

  13. my laptop is acer.it is 2 years old.whythe touch pad is not working.then there is no light on the network adapter.thank you.

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