How to Test your RAM

Posted by S.Noman on Sunday, May 16, 2010 |

Guide Overview

The purpose of this guide is to teach you how to check whether your system's RAM (Ramdom Access Memory) is working properly. Bad RAM can lead to a whole host of problems, often which do not appear to have a single cause -- appearing as systemwide glitches, blue screens, and other system trouble. MemTest86+ provides a very good detection mechanism for failed RAM, and is about as good a test you get short of actually replacing the module itself.

Tools Needed
Please perform these steps from a separate, working, machine.

  1. Download MemTest86+, and unzip it to your desktop.
  2. Burn the image file to a CD, as an image file. If you're unsure how to do this, see the How to Burn an ISO File
Perform these steps on the problem machine.
  1. Put your CD in the drive and configure your machine to boot to the CD. This is different on all machines, but it's usually by pressing F12 or F10 as your system boots, and selecting either "CDROM" or your cdrom drive. If you are unable to force a CDRom boot, reply with the make and model of your machine and I should be able to get you exact instructions.
  2. If you've done it correctly, MemTest86+ will start to run automaticly, as shown below:

  3. If you want to be reasonably your RAM is OK, then allow MemTest to run until you see this message:

    On the other hand, if you want to be completely sure your RAM is OK, allow MemTest to run overnight. Memtest will run forever until power is pulled on the machine.
  4. Check the MemTest screen for any reported errors. Errors will appear as RED warnings at the bottom of the screen, similar to the following screenshot:

  5. Hard-Reset the machine, removing the MemTest disk in the process.

If you didn't get an error screen, Congratulations!