Friday, January 27, 2006

Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool (Advanced)

This is an advanced tip, before you continue you will need the knowledge and software required to burn an ISO file to a CD. You will also need a blank CD or Floppy to use this tip.

Not all system failure (such as the Blue Screen of Death [BSoD]) are related software problems. These failure can also be caused by problems with your hardware, such as RAM going bad. This failure doesn't happen often, but one of the signs its happening is your system becomes unstable. For example, if your system randomly shuts down for no reason on a fairly frequent basis. This could be an indication of your RAM failing.

Microsoft provides a free tool (called 'Windows Memory Diagnostic') that can test your RAM to see if its failing. I had a problem with a computer recently where I was having problems stabilizing the computer so it wouldn't shutdown randomly. So I decided to test out this tool, and sure enough there was a problem with the system's RAM.

To run the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool, follow the instructions below:
  • Download the application.
  • Run the application, then read and accept the licensing agreement.
  • If you have a floppy drive, press the 'Create Startup Disk...' and follow the directions. If you have a CD-Burner drive, press the 'Save CD Image to Disk...' and follow the directions. From here you will have to burn the ISO to a blank CD.
  • Leave the boot CD or Floppy you just created in the drive, and restart your computer. (Note: you may have to push a key to boot from the CD, or you may need to enable this feature in your BIOS)
After your computer reboots, Windows Memory Diagnostic will load and begin testing your RAM by reading and writing test patterns to it. I would recommend that you leave this running over night, if you return in the morning and no problems were found there is a good chance that there is no problem with your system's RAM.

No comments: