How to test the health of your computer RAM

Few things influence how fast or stable a computer is than the RAM. It’s a pivotal component of any computer and it has to be running perfectly for your computer to work properly. Today I’m going to show you how to check the health of your computer RAM. The guys here at Dave’s Computers in New Jersey do this all the time but you can do it at home too.

RAM, Random Access Memory is the memory in your computer that holds information ready for processing. A processor cannot access data from a hard drive or any other device. It has to first be loaded into RAM and then the processor can read it. Once processed, it is unloaded back to RAM and then written to disk or used by the program.

Any issue with timing or the memory blocks within your RAM can causes crashes and instability. If that happens, you can use a neat tool to troubleshoot.

Test your RAM with MemTest86+

We use a free tool called MemTest86+. It’s an old school looking app but is the very best out there for effectiveness. You will need a copy of it to be able to troubleshoot your RAM.

  1. Download the pre-compiled bootable ISO and load it onto a USB stick. You will need to boot your computer from this USB to access the tool.
  2. Boot your computer and press F8 to open the boot menu. Select the USB and boot into it.
  3. Perform at least 8 passes with MemTest86+ for maximum accuracy.
  4. Watch for errors and note which RAM slot on your motherboard they appear.

If no errors occur, your RAM is running fine and no action is necessary. If errors do appear, we need to do a little more work.

  1. Open up your PC case and identify the RAM slot you noted the error for.
  2. Swap the RAM stick for another if you have one. Replace it if you only have the one.
  3. Run the MemTest86+ tests again.

If the RAM errors again and it is the same slot even though you moved the RAM stick, it is the slot on your motherboard that could be faulty. If the slot reported moved with the RAM stick, that stick is not healthy and should be checked as soon as you can. Check the RAM stick for dirty contacts and the RAM slot for dust and dirt. If it all looks okay, replace it when you can.

If you would prefer us to check your computer over for you, bring it over to Dave’s Computers in New Jersey and we will make sure everything runs perfectly.