How To Test RAM For Error On Windows

Random Access Memory, or RAM, stores the configuration and loading information of several system programs, processes, and applications. So, if you multitask and run heavier programs on your computer, RAM is the key to better performance.

However, if the physical memory of your computer experiences some issues and hindrances, then the system performance can take a toll. The commonly experienced system issues due to faults in RAM are frequent lag and Blue Screen of Death.

Nevertheless, it’s recommended to check for any memory errors whether or not you experience such issues, to prevent the problem beforehand.

List of Ways You Can Test RAM

Before pointing out the fault in any particular hardware, you first need to test it to be sure. The same goes for the case of RAM. 

If the system does not start at all or restarts continuously, then you can try testing the RAM physically.

  1. Disassemble your system and get to the motherboard.
  2. Remove the RAM from the memory slot.
  3. Clean the RAM and the memory slot properly.
  4. If you have multiple RAM sticks, then insert one at a time, varying the slot each time. While doing so, run your PC and see which RAM stick causes the error and find the one that’s working.
  5. Similarly, you can also get a working spare RAM and use it instead to look for the occurrence of the error. If there is no issue with the spare RAM, then you can assume that your memory stick has faults in it.

However, the physical test is like a hit-and-trial method. It also requires you to disassemble your PC, which can be quite tedious. Similarly, this test does not provide you with specific error details. 

So, if your computer loads till boot or even to the Windows, then here are a few methods to test the RAM in your PC.

Using Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

Windows has its own RAM testing tool known as the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool. It has the most simple interface, and the process is much easier. You need to start the tool from inside Windows. However, it will perform the testing before the operating system loads.

  1. Press Windows + ‘R’ to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type mdsched and hit Enter.
  3. Click on Restart now and check for problems (recommended). Your PC will now restart.
    restart now and check for problems

During the next boot, the tool will start checking for any problems in the physical memory in a number of passes. You can also choose the type of test to be done, namely Basic, Standard, and Extended, by pressing F1.

Windows memory diagnostic

After the test completes, it will show whether there is any error or not. However, you may miss the details of the error. So, you will have to go to event viewer and see if there are any memory errors.

  1. Start your PC and press Windows + ‘S’ to open the Windows Search bar.
  2. Type Event Viewer and select the respective application from the search list.
    event viewer in search bar
  3. Click on Windows Logs on the left side and select System.
  4. Click on Filter Current Log on the right side of the Window.
    filter current log
  5. Select MemoryDiagnostics-Results as the Event Source and click OK.
    memory diagnostics results
  6. Choose the recent test results and look for any error found there.

You can also search for the error details on the internet for better understanding.

Using Passmark MemTest

There is another third-party tool, MemTest86 or MemTest86+, that tests the RAM for any error. It also works before the Operating system loads.

However, here you do not run the tool from the GUI inside Windows. Instead, you will need a USB flash drive to write the testing program on it. Then, the memory test starts once you boot your system through the USB drive.

Let’s go through the process stepwise.

  1. Download Memtest86 from the official website and extract it.
  2. Obtain an empty USB flash drive and insert it into your computer. If it is not empty, remember to back its contents as the process will format the drive.
  3. Start the imageUSB program.
  4. Choose the USB flash drive you inserted and choose the Write image to USB drive option in Step 2.
  5. Now, click on Write to make the USB drive bootable with the testing program.
  6. After the process completes, restart your system.
  7. When the PC starts to boot, press F8 or the respective key repeatedly for your PC to get to the boot menu.
  8. Choose the USB flash drive.
  9. Select Config when the tool loads up. If you do not give any input, the test will start automatically after a while.
  10. Click on Start Test.
    startt test

Let the testing continue. After the checking finishes, you will see the details of any errors, if found.

Using HCI’s MemTest

Both the Windows Memory Diagnostic Test and Passmark’s MemTest run prior to the loading of the OS. This may not provide accurate results as the RAM is not yet completely under real-time stress. Furthermore, there may be some other programs that cause issues in the RAM during their active period and functioning.

So, you may want to test your physical memory with a tool that can test RAM while the system is running.

HCI’s MemTest is such a program that you can run from inside Windows and performs the test while the PC is functioning fully.

Let’s look at the process.

  1. Get to the HCI’s website and download the Memtest program.
  2. Extract the downloaded file and start the program.
  3. Close all the applications that are running on your system.
  4. When the program loads, type the amount of RAM in MB that you want to be checked. If you leave it on default, then the tool will test the unused portion of RAM.
  5. Finally, click Start Testing.
    HCI memtest
  6. Leave the program running till 100 % or at least 24 hours to find the most errors.

After the test completes, analyze the errors if detected and try to rectify the issue.

Usually, the RAM issues are not easily solvable. Most of the time, you will have to replace the RAM when the problem is too severe. But you can also get the most out of the RAM by optimizing your Windows and reducing the RAM usage.

Similarly, if you have overclocked your memory to run at high speed, then disabling the overclock settings can also solve a few memory issues.

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