Information about Memory Diagnostic Tool in Windows Vista

INTRODUCTION

This article provides information about Memory Diagnostic Tool in Windows Vista

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How to run Memory Diagnostic Tool

  1. Click Start, type Memory Diagnostic Tool in the Start Search text box, and then press Enter.

    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
  2. ClickRestart now and check for problems or Check for problems the next time I start my computer.

Understanding Memory Diagnostic Tool results

If Memory Diagnostic Tool completes the first pass and reports no errors, your RAM is probably working correctly. You may still want to run Memory Diagnostic Tool several times by using the same settings to make sure that the Memory Diagnostic Tool does not find any errors with your RAM. If you want to test your RAM more completely, you can run the extended test suite by pressing T while Memory Diagnostic Tool is running. You should then let Memory Diagnostic Tool run for several hours. Additionally, if you change the test suite or any of Memory Diagnostic Tool settings, the current test pass restarts.

If Memory Diagnostic Tool detects any errors that occur in your RAM, the screen is updated with information about the error. A result of "Failed" for a test indicates that particular test detected an error. If any test fails, your computer has failing hardware.

If Memory Diagnostic Tool detects errors in your hardware, you should correct the errors and run Memory Diagnostic Tool again until no errors are reported. Then, you may try to run Windows again. If you do not, Windows may not work correctly.

You can try to identify the specific failing memory component. However, if errors are detected and your computer is under warranty, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting.

Using Memory Diagnostic Tool to troubleshoot

For some hardware configurations, Memory Diagnostic Tool can identify the specific memory component that failed. If Memory Diagnostic Tool can successfully isolate all errors to one or more corresponding memory modules, the View errors by memory module option is available in the menu. You can use this option to determine which specific memory modules are failing and must be removed or replaced. If the option is not available, you can try to manually identify the failing memory component.

Manually identifying failing memory components

To manually identify the failing memory component, you must open your computer's case and work with sensitive internal hardware. Doing this can result in damage to your hardware. If you do not have experience in working with your hardware or do not want to risk damaging your hardware, you can still use Memory Diagnostic Tool to test your RAM. However, you should contact a third party to do the actual work on your hardware. If your computer is not under warranty or you are experienced in working with sensitive internal hardware then you can try to isolate the hardware that failed. Review the following recommendations and guidelines before you try to work with your hardware:
  • Review documentation for all relevant hardware. This includes your motherboard, RAM, and computer case.
  • If any of your components are "over-clocked" (the clock speed is increased above default values), reset the components to their default clock values and rerun Memory Diagnostic Tool.
  • You must ground yourself before you touch any internal hardware components such as the motherboard or RAM modules. If you ground yourself, you remove any static electrical charge your body might be carrying. To ground yourself, you can wear antistatic wrist straps or you can do the following:
    1. Turn off the computer.
    2. Touch an unpainted metal part of your computer case with your hand.
    3. Do not walk or move your feet because walking or moving your feet can produce static electrical build-up. If you must walk around after grounding yourself, you must re-ground yourself as described in this procedure.
If you do not know how many memory modules are installed in your computer, you should review your motherboard documentation to determine where the memory sockets are. Then, open your case, locate the memory sockets, and count the number of memory modules. When you hknow the number of memory modules in your computer, you can use the following procedures to try to isolate the source of the hardware problems.

You can try to reseatthe memory modules. In Microsoft studies, this resolves the problem approximately one-third of the time on desktop systems and one-quarter of the time on laptop systems.

To reseat one or more memory modules

  1. Do one of the following:
    • If you used the View errors by memory module option and Memory Diagnostic Tool identified the specific memory module or modules that failed, remove only that module or modules. Note which slots contained those memory modules.
    • Or, remove all memory modules from their slots on the motherboard. Note which slots contained which memory modules.
  2. Gently remove any dust or debris from the memory module slots on the motherboard.
  3. Firmly reinsert the memory modules into their original slots on the motherboard.
  4. Rerun Memory Diagnostic Tool.
If Memory Diagnostic Tool continues to identify errors after you reseat all memory modules, you can try one of the following procedures to identify the specific failing components.

To troubleshoot errors on a computer that has one memory module

  1. Obtain a memory module that works correctly.
  2. Replace the memory module that is currently in your computer with the module that you obtained in step 1.
  3. Rerun Memory Diagnostic Tool.Then, do one of the following:
    • If Memory Diagnostic Tool reports zero errors, the original memory module is failing.
    • If Memory Diagnostic Tool reports errors, your motherboard may be failing. Contact the manufacturer of the motherboard.

To troubleshoot errors on a computer that has more than one memory module

  1. Remove all memory modules but one.
  2. Rerun Memory Diagnostic Tool.Then, do one of the following:
    • If no errors are reported, remove the current memory module and add one from the set of memory modules that have not tested.
    • If errors are reported, remove the current memory module and separate it from the other memory modules.
  3. Add a new memory module from the set of memory modules that have not yet been tested.
  4. Rerun Memory Diagnostic Tool.
  5. Repeat this procedure until all the memory modules have been tested.
Notes
  • If Memory Diagnostic Tool reports errors on all memory modules, the motherboard may be failing. Contact the manufacturer of the motherboard.
  • There may be problems with your RAM or other hardware that Memory Diagnostic Tool cannot detect. Therefore, if Memory Diagnostic Tool reports no errors, your hardware still may not work correctly.
  • For tests that run with the microprocessor cache off, there may be a time delay between when a key is pressed and when Memory Diagnostic Tool responds.
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