An ounce of prevention is truly worth about 10 hours of troubleshooting time, so take don't forget to take the time to these steps -- doing so can help prevent computer memory problems.
1. Read the manual first. Before installing or upgrading system memory, take a minute and make sure you have the correct type of computer memory for your system and that there aren't any additional configuration steps required.
2. Buy computer memory only from reputable sources. Everybody likes a bargain, but buying cheap, no-brand modules from an auction site or at a computer show isn't worth the cost savings. I typically buy memory directly from a manufacturer such as
3. Don't mix and match computer memory modules. It's common sense to pair memory modules to identical computer memory modules, but you should also consider buying your modules from the same manufacturer. Don't pair modules from two different manufacturers where small engineering, design or manufacturing variances can cause compatibility issues.
4. Take care of spare computer memory modules. We often take computer hardware for granted, and I have yet to work in a corporate environment that didn't have a box or desk drawer filled with a loose assortment of memory modules from a variety of systems. If you plan to reuse system memory, make sure you place it in a protective antistatic sleeve and label it with the memory type and date. Always test older memory modules before installing them into a new system.
5. Control your system environment. Dust, humidity and extreme heat can limit the life of your system by literally cooking your system components or causing parts to warp and corrode. Power fluctuations and surges can also damage your systems.
Troubleshooting Computer Memory Problems Learning Guide
How to tell your 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.