How to Test for Bad RAM

By Kevin Lee

Computer memory manufacturers do not guarantee that memory modules will last forever. Over time, your PC's Random Access Memory (RAM) may fail. Your computer might not crash when that happens, but you may experience system instability, application errors and other problems. According to Microsoft, the Windows operating system will inform you of a potential memory problem. However, you can test your system for bad RAM anytime using Microsoft's free memory diagnostics tool, which is built into Windows 7.

Step 1

Click the Windows 7 "Start" button and type "Memory" in the text/search box.

Step 2

Click "Memory" when you see it in the search results list. If Windows prompts you for confirmation, click "Continue." The "Memory Diagnostics Tool" window will open and display two options.

Step 3

Click "Restart now and check for problems" to start the test immediately. To run the test the next time your computer starts, click "Check for problems the next time I start my computer." If you choose the first option, Windows will reboot and run the memory diagnostics program.

Step 4

Wait for the program to check your RAM. Windows will reboot when it finishes. After rebooting, Windows will inform you of any errors that it found.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the tool discovers RAM errors, contact the manufacturer of your computer or memory for further assistance.