Symptoms of Bad RAM in a Computer

By Kim Linton

Computer RAM or memory is an area where data is stored while it is being processed by the CPU (central processing unit). When RAM goes bad, specific symptoms usually occur including one or more of the following system errors.

System Won't Boot

The computer will not boot or load an operating system. This is usually accompanied by a continuous or repetitive system beep that originates in the BIOS.

Memory Faults

Error screens appear while attempting to install an operating system. The error usually lists one or more "memory faults" and their location.

System Crashes

Random and frequent system crashes result in the "blue screen of death" or its equivalent. These types of memory errors can occur even when the system is idle.

Programs Hang

System repeatedly hangs or stalls while running memory-intensive programs and games. For example, bad RAM will cause the system to crash while a video is being edited or when a DVD movie is being played.

Distorted Graphics

Bad memory modules often cause the screen to change colors and look wavy or flicker. Replacing bad RAM usually fixes graphics issues, unless the video card is damaged as well.