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Computer memory test methods

Doing computer memory test enables you to detect problems related with memory and ensures its integrity and performance.

When we say memory, we are referring the main memory or Read Only Memory (RAM) which serves as a workspace for computer processor. It is a place where a processor store frequently used information to compute its task.

Having fast and higher capacity memory improves the overall speed of a computer. You can read more on computer memory here.

Symptoms of memory problems

When a computer fails to work, some of the reasons could be the result of malfunction memory.

Listed here are some of the failures that could be related with bad memory chip:-

- Blue screen (not only bad memory causes this, new hardware and software installation also are the cause of blue screen)

- Continuous beeping sound when power is on

- Frequent application crash (“fatal exception” and system operation failures) - System Error messages relating with booting

- Unable to install new programs

- Incompatible type and size of memory (normally this problem won’t crash your pc, but it could be the reason of unstable system operation)

Methods of computer memory test

There are several ways to test the integrity of your computer RAM. However, we can sum up all the ways into three categories.

These are:-

Using Operating system built-in tools and drivers

Windows Vista and Windows 7 come with Memory Diagnostic tool that can test your computer memory status.

To run the tool, you just type ‘memory’ in the space you will find when you click ‘Start’ menu, press Enter to run the diagnostics tool.

See the following screen for your reference.

windows vista start

memory diagnostics

As you can see from the above sreen, you have two options to choose from to run computer memory test. Use one of the methods and continue your computer memory testing process.

For Windows XP or earilier version users, memory test is available with Diagnostics and Utility CDs come with the computer when it is purchased. If it is not availabe, you can use one of the methods mentioned below.

Using two similar computers or memory chips

This is my favorite way of testing memory chips. I use two similar computers to do this. One by one you can hook the memory chips on another computer and see whether it works or not.

Swapping memory chips are also the other way to detect memory problem. If your computer is installed with more than one memory chip, you can easily identify the bad memory by hooking one memory chip at time and run your PC with that memory.

This way you can discover the bad memory without difficulty. However, if the memory works on another computer or by swapping method, the failure will be on the motherboard itself or the memory socket (bank).

Precaution: when replacing memory chips you should wear grounding strap on your wrist or touch the computer case metal part to remove static charge from your body. This is to protect the possible damage of memory chips caused by electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Using memory testing software

The other method to run computer memory test is using applications/software specifically designed for this purpose.

The following are some the most popular memory test programs from freeware and commercial lines:-

Free memory test programs



Windows Memory Diagnostic


Commercial memory test programs



PC Diagnostics


The integrity of PC memory is vital for a healthy operation of a computer. In order to prevent this, Computer memory test is required to detect and identify defects related with main memory (RAM).

It is also recommended to test new memory chip, since faulty memory chips can be sold on the market.

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