How to tell if your system's computer memory is faulty

Common symptoms of faulty computer memory include boot failures, data corruption and system errors.

Computer memory-related issues are not always obvious. If you're lucky, your Windows system will present you with an error code that clearly identifies a faulty computer memory module. In most cases, however, the symptoms of faulty computer memory are cryptic and hard to identify.

The following errors are the most common symptoms of faulty (or failing) computer memory modules:

  • Computer memory errors. These include system computer memory errors, or "blue screen" system crashes that reference memory read/write, parity, interrupt, address, page faults, general protection faults or mismatch errors. In some cases, the system may simply refuse to recognize the installed memory.
  • Computer memory boot failures. Because the BIOS checks the computer memory every time the system boots, memory failures often result in an unbootable system that may present with a blank screen and a system beep.
  • Data corruption. Since almost all of the data running on a computer passes through the system's computer memory, data corruption is one indicator of a failing computer memory module. Common symptoms include lost, missing or scrambled data; frequent crashes; spontaneous reboots; registry errors; missing system files; and other intermittent or bizarre behavior.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Introduction
- How to tell your system's computer memory is faulty
- Why a Windows system's computer memory fails
- How to troubleshoot computer memory problems
- How to prevent computer memory problems


Bernie Klinder, MVP, consultant is a technology consultant for a number of Fortune 500 companies. He is also the founder and former editor of LabMice.net , a comprehensive resource index for IT professionals who support Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 and BackOffice products. For his contributions to the information technology community, Bernie was selected as an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) by Microsoft.

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