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How to Identify a Bad Memory Module on Your PC

Posted on: 11/02/11

Computer Memory, also known as RAM (Random Access Memory) is an integral part of your computer and plays an important role in the way your PC functions. In this guide, we will show you how you can test and identify bad memory modules on your PC.


If your PC is running on a single memory stick and emits endless beeps during boot-up, it is usually a sign of a completely damaged memory module. Identifying partially damaged RAM however can be difficult especially if your PC has multiple memory modules installed. But with a systematic approach and a series of memory tests, you can easily nail down the culprit memory module yourself!


Getting Started

Before proceeding further, let’s have a quick look at some of the most common symptoms of a bad memory module:


  1. Computer freezes, crashes, or shows the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) for no apparent reason.
  2. Distorted graphics or interrupted media playback.
  3. BSOD during software/operating system installations.
  4. Computer crashes while you are playing games or running memory intensive applications such as Adobe® Photoshop®.


Identify Bad Memory Module with Memtest86+


Memtest86+ is one of the most advanced RAM diagnostic tools available. It performs various stress tests on your computer's RAM to identify errors.  Memtest86+ is open source software and is free to use. 


Installing Memtest86+ on your USB Flash Drive

To use Memtest86+, download the ‘Auto-installer for USB key’ version of the setup file and follow the steps below:

1.       Unzip the downloaded file, and double-click the setup file.

2.       Insert a USB flash drive to an empty USB port, and click the I Agree button to continue.


3.       Select your USB flash drive from the drop down menu, and check the ‘(Recommended) Check this box if you want to format Drive E:\’ checkbox to delete the contents of the drive, then click the Create button.


4.       Sit back and relax while the installer formats your USB flash drive and installs the diagnostic tool on it. When complete, click the Next button.

5.       Click the Finish button.

Running Memtest86+

You are now ready to run Memtest86+ on your computer to detect the defective memory module.

Note: If your computer has more than one memory module installed on your PC, you will have to remove all memory modules from your computer and test one memory stick at a time. If you have only one memory module, you can skip steps 1 and 2.

1.       Shut down your computer and unplug the power cable. Make sure you have grounded yourself to avoid damage from static electricity. If you have an anti-static wrist strap, wear it before continuing. Open your computer case and carefully remove all the memory modules by pressing both the ejector clips simultaneously. Now insert one memory stick to one slot.


2.       Re-connect all the cables (power cable, monitor cable, mouse and keyword cable) properly and switch on your PC.

3.       Press the F8 button from the keyboard during POST to load the Boot Menu. Insert the USB Flash drive to an empty USB port and select ‘Removable Devices’ from the Boot Menu, and hit the Enter key.

4.       Memtest86+ diagnostic tool will automatically start testing your system memory for errors. If the tool finds any memory errors, it will report them in the ‘ERRORS/ECC ERR’ section of the program.

5.  Repeat steps 1-4 to test each of the memory modules on your PC. Set aside the memory modules that have errors. If a defective memory module is under warranty, you can easily get a replacement by claiming Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) from the RAM vendor.

 If you need help or have any doubts performing the above steps, feel free to leave a comment here, or on our Facebook® page and we will be more than happy to assist you!


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