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Troubleshoot RAM with Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

Memory failure or denial is one of the most common causes of Windows Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). If you start getting BSODs of an unexplained nature, your computer’s RAM may be the cause.

If Windows detects or suspects a memory error, the operating system sometimes runs a memory diagnostic tool to systematically check your computer’s memory for errors. Unfortunately, the diagnostic tool cannot work from Windows; you must restart your computer and let the tool run before Windows boots.

You can also run the test manually using the Memory Diagnostic Tool. This is a great option if you suspect that you have memory errors in the upper registers of your RAM, where information is rarely written or read. Just like when Windows automatically uses a diagnostic tool, you must restart your computer before the tool can check your memory.

Use a manual memory diagnostic tool

To check your memory for errors, first click Start, type memory, and then click Windows Memory Diagnostic.

There are only two options in the Windows Memory Diagnostic window. You can run the tool immediately, in which case you should close all your programs and prepare to restart Windows 7 and start the test, or you can schedule the test to run the next time Windows starts. Since you probably want to check your memory right away, close all open programs and choose the first option.

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When you click this option, Windows will warn you to close all open programs and then begin the shutdown process. Your computer will restart and the Memory Diagnostic Tool will run.

A standard memory test is a two-step process in which Windows writes and reads from each area of ??your memory. Any errors found are recorded and reported to you the next time you start Windows. The tool shows your progress with a progress bar and even reports the test completion percentage.

The diagnostic tool warns that the check may take a few minutes, but our tests show that it will take a little longer. 4GB DDR2 memory took over 17 minutes in the memory test. Expect to wait longer due to slower RAM or if your computer has a lot of memory installed.

If Windows encounters an error, it might appear that the tool is not working, when in fact the check is still ongoing. Reboot your computer only if the scan lasts more than 30 minutes without any results.

When the test is complete, Windows will restart and present you with a report of its results. If everything went well and no memory errors were found, you just get a short message about the results.

If the diagnostic tool detects errors, you will receive a notification and Windows will prompt you for actions to take.

Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool is an easy and free way to check for memory errors on your computer. This is not the most difficult diagnostic tool, but a great place to start if you suspect your RAM is causing BSODs. If you are looking for a more complete memory test, consider some of the alternatives available online. Enjoy!

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