Test your RAM with Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

Here's a quick guide to running the Windows diagnostic tool to check your memory for errors.

Photo by Nicole Cozma/CNET

RAM sticks, known for their chip creep and random failures, are among the more annoying pieces of hardware to pinpoint as the source of a technical issue. Before you start digging around in the tower, it's best to start with a quick and free memory check via Windows. This way, you'll know whether or not it's worth swapping around sticks of RAM to see which one is the dud.

Here's how to get started:

Step 1: Open the Start Menu and type in mdsched.exe, then press enter.

Step 2. A pop-up will appear on your screen, asking how you'd like to go about checking the memory. The first option will restart your machine and check the memory right now, and the second option checks the next time you choose to reboot. Pick the option that best suits your needs.

Step 3: Your computer will load a screen that shows the progress of the check and number of passes it will run on the memory. Watch the memory diagnostic tool for errors. If there are no errors, then it's likely that your RAM is not causing any issues, and it's time to investigate other hardware or software issues.

For other tips on diagnosing memory errors, check out Ed Rhee's How to test your RAM in Windows .

Thanks to Tech-Recipes for reminding everyone of this free tool.

 

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