Here's a list of common reasons why computer memory often fails.
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1. Computer memory is configured incorrectly . The installer put in mismatched modules, the wrong memory for the system board or modules installed in the wrong order.
2. Computer memory installed incorrectly. The memory module is seated incorrectly, or the memory socket is defective, corroded or dirty.
3. Computer hardware defects. A portion of the computer memory module is bad because of a manufacturing defect, power surge, overheating or other causes.
4. You recently purchased the system. This could be any of the primary causes, but OEM vendors don't typically mismatch or misconfigure computer memory (although it does happen). Improperly seated or bad memory modules are common, as are bad motherboards. Your best bet is to call your OEM to confirm which tests were performed on the system before it shipped.
5. You have newly installed computer memory. This could be any of the three primary causes. Start by checking the memory part numbers and your system documentation to make sure you have the correct memory for your system and that you installed it correctly. Next check the installation by removing the computer memory modules, examining them for defects and reinserting them. Finally, upgrading your system BIOS may resolve the issue.
6. New computer hardware was recently installed. Careless hardware installations can bump computer memory modules out of place and warp or crack motherboards if excessive pressure was used. In addition, electrical shorts could occur if the installer was not grounded properly. Uninstalling or removing the new hardware should be the first step in troubleshooting this issue. Updating the system BIOS may also resolve the issue.
7. You have newly installed software or operating system. If the system was running fine prior to the installation or software upgrade, I would suspect a system compatibility issue, either with the software or the system BIOS. First, check with the software vendor's support knowledge base for known issues. Then, check for any available updates for your system BIOS.
8. No recent changes. The system was running fine and simply started acting up. Dust or corrosion of the computer memory socket, damage to the memory module from heat or electrical surges or a failing power supply could be the cause. Temporarily removing or replacing the module and testing it can help isolate the issue.
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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.