Troubleshooting Memory Problems

Aside from trying to find an intermittent error on a motherboard (main board), troubleshooting memory problems can be one of the most difficult diagnostic issues you may face when trying to figure out why a computer begins doing things that it shouldn't be doing, or for that matter, not doing what it should. Understand that these troubleshooting techniques are not to be misconstrued as a replacement for a thorough diagnostic inspection of your PC by a fully qualified technician.

On the contrary, these techniques should only be used by those who are reasonably familiar with computer components and have an immediate need to get their computer back up and operational to finish a task or safeguard data before taking the computer to a qualified technician for service. We take no responsibility of any type with respect to any person following the procedures and techniques outlined herein. By following these techniques or procedures, you acknowledge that they were provided to assist you with an emergent problem and that you are performing them solely and completely at your own risk!

First some Do's and Don'ts!

The Do's

The Don'ts

Where to start:

First, don't panic! Try and approach the problem logically, as difficult as that may be to do. Generally, memory problems can be placed into two broad categories.

Category 1:

Your computer has been acting normally until this problem arose:

You haven't added or changed any hardware.
There may have been a brown out, power outage or a possible lightening strike to a local power line or telephone line near or at your home or place of business.
Someone may have improperly shut off the computer, or you may have had internal electrical problems in your home or business.
A virus or two may have invaded your computer.
Your computer is five or more years old and has never had the case opened or the interior cleaned and inspected.

Category 2:

Your computer has not been acting normally since you:

Purchased it.
Added or changed memory.
Added new hardware items internally to the computer.
Added new hardware items externally to the computer.
Added new software.

Follow this link if your memory problems fall into Category 1.

Follow this link if your memory problems fall into Category 2.

For other memory related issues, you may want to follow these links:

Memory, Evolution or a Revolution?

How Memory Speeds Are Determined

How to Identify PC-133 Memory Modules

Frequently Asked Questions About Memory

Megabyte (MB) vs. Megabit (Mb)

Memory Trends in 2001

How Much Memory Do You Need?

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