Many people were asking about How to Tell If RAM Is Bad which is why I have come up with this article so that you can get the core knowledge.
Most of the time, bad memory modules cause your computer to crash often, restart on its own, freeze, etc. Going crazy over whether or not it’s the RAM?
It can be very hard to figure out why a computer’s hardware isn’t working, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
I’ll show you how to tell if the RAM is going bad so you can get out of this mess.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Gaming RAM, Best RAM for Ryzen 9 3900X and Best RAM for Ryzen 7 5800X.
So, let’s start without further ado.
Symptoms of Faulty RAM
Several things point to the DRAM as the likely cause of your problems. Seeing the patterns and signs makes it more clear that the problem is with the memory module.
Some typical warnings of failing Memory include:
- Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) with a Stop code like 0x0000001A, CRITICAL PROCESS DIED, etc. happens randomly.
- When using a programme or game that uses a lot of memory, the system freezes and crashes.
- No reason, automatic restart.
- Computer won’t turn on and keeps going through a boot loop with a long beep.
- A black screen problem is when the computer starts up but the monitor shows nothing.
- The OS and other programs stutter and slow down all of a sudden.
- In the Task Manager, the information about memory is wrong.
- System files often become distorted.
- Drop in how well the PC works overall.
Now you know what the most common problems with a memory module are. So, when you have these kinds of problems, it must be a RAM issue, right? Obviously not!
You know, there’s no good reason to do that if you’re just going for the RAM and assuming the rest of the system is solid. It’s clear that other parts, like the GPU, Storage, PSU, etc., can show some of the same problems as RAM.
Also, check out our separate post on Does Ram Brand Matter
So, how do you confirm? Well, you need to do some tests to find out for sure. In the next part, we’ll take a close look.
Diagnose Bad Memory
Ok, I’ll be honest: diagnosing memory problems takes a long time. There is no way around it. Because you don’t know when the problem will happen. Running applications that use a lot of resources or even doing the most basic tasks can cause memory failure problems while gaming.
So, you must run some tests. Some of these ways might not work for 24–48 hours. But the good news is that as you move forward, the whole process will get easier and more organized.
Here are some ways to figure out what’s wrong with the RAM:
Run Windows Memory Diagnostic Tools
Windows has a tool built in that can find out what’s wrong with memory. This feature gives users who don’t know much about hardware a great head start.
Go through our epic guide on DRAM Frequency
Here’s how to use Windows’ diagnostic tools for memory:
- In the Windows search box, type “memory.”
- Open Windows Memory Diagnostic by clicking on the result of the search.
- Choose “Restart now” and see if there are any problems. Your system will restart itself and start the operation on its own.
- Wait patiently until the test report comes up on the screen.
- Start up your computer and sign in.
- Press Win + R to open Windows Run, then type eventvwr.exe.
- Click on Windows Logs in the left pane to make it bigger.
- Select Find when you right-click on System.
- Enter MemoryDiagnostics-Results.
- Verify whether there is an error.
If you get an error message that says one of your DRAM is broken. But there is still a question: Which of my RAM is broken?
Follow our guide to CPU Usage
To be absolutely sure, you need to run the same test with one memory stick installed at a time. Check the results, and see which one produces an error. And get let go of it.
Test on PassMark MemTest86
MemTest86 has been the solid choice among enthusiasts for testing memory without any compromises. But don’t worry if you don’t know much about PCs; I’ll explain it in detail.
Do check our latest post on the DDR4 Ram Overclocking
Even if you can’t get to an OS like Windows or Linux, you’ll still be able to run a memory test (any distro). It works on a device that can be turned on.
Here’s how MemTest86 lets you test RAM:
- Put the file you downloaded into a folder.
- Double-click on imageUSB.exe to open it.
- Check the box next to the USB device you want to use to choose it.
- Select Write image to USB.
- In the file selector field, choose memtest86-usb.img.
- Click “Write” and then confirm the next two boxes. Wait until everything is done.
- Put your computer to sleep.
- Remove all but one of the RAM chips from the motherboard. I think you should test one kit at a time.
- Use the USB drive to start up your PC.
Note: To find the boot key, go to the website or manual of the company that makes your motherboard. Hold it down while you turn the PC on.
- For the Default scan, press 1 on your keyboard. I recommend this option because it is good at finding mistakes.
Note: Depending on the version of the software, the scanning process may start on its own. In this case, you should follow the instructions on the screen.
Check out our expert-recommended How to Choose the Right RAM for Your PC
The memory test starts when you hit Enter. This could take a long time to complete. It depends on how much memory has to be looked at during the scanning process. So be patient.
If you see an error count, you know that the RAM stick isn’t working right.
There’s no point in running the test again and again. Switch the bad memory with each of the other sticks in order and do it again.
Go through our epic guide on DDR4 vs. DDR5
Prime 95 Memory Test (Large FFTs)
Here’s the thing: Prime95 doesn’t look at your RAM. Instead, it stresses it to see if there are any errors.
Here’s how to run Prime 95’s Memory Test:
- Unpack the file you just downloaded.
- If you double-click on prime95.exe, the app will open.
- From the Run a Torture Test window, choose Large FFTs.
- When you click OK, the test will start.
- Wait until a mistake is found and reported. If you find a mistake, you can stop the test. That shows you have trouble remembering things.
- Give the test at least 24 hours. If during this time there are no errors, your RAM is fine.
When you start a Torture Test on Prime95, it starts running a lot of complicated algorithms.
Do check our latest post on the Will Any DDR3 Ram Work on PC
Not sure how this information fits into the testing process?
Well, I just want you to know one thing. In some cases, this test can be delayed for 24 hours or more. It goes through a large number of algorithms and mathematical operations. So, if a single operation fails, you know for sure that there is something wrong with the memory.
But the real problem is that you don’t know when that error will happen. It could be after tens of thousands of operations or never. This can take a long time.
I think you should run the Prime95 test for at least 24 hours because of this. Most of the time, memory errors happen during this time during the Large FFTs test.
Do a Hardware Swap (RAM & System)
We’ve seen a number of ways to tell if your computer’s RAM is broken. And you do those on your own computer, right?
But what’s wrong with testing your memory kits on the computer you already have?
Look, when you test things like RAMs, it’s likely that the problem is caused by something else. So how do we make sure this isn’t true?
In a hurry? Check out my new post on Which RAM Slots to Use
If you install that part on another system and the problem still happens, you can be sure that it is the cause.
Install your memory kits on a different computer, check for problems with instability, and run tests. Then, put working RAMs in your computer and see if anything strange happens.
Note: Check each memory module individually.
If you run into problems, you can replace the memory.
Causes of RAM Failure
RAMs can be broken by things like the wrong DRAM voltage, overheating, magnetic interference, electrostatic discharge, power surges, manufacturing mistakes, etc. But memory loss can also happen out of nowhere. When the memory in the system starts to run out, random crashes and black screens start to happen.
See, the memory gets the power it needs to work from the motherboard. If the RAM doesn’t get enough voltage, or if it gets too much voltage at some point, it could act in a strange way. And memories fade over time. Overvoltage destroys parts of the memory that are built in, like IC.
Overclocking RAM is a hard thing to do. Still, some users go too far and try OC. You probably think that overclocking makes your computer run better, so what’s wrong with it?
The truth is that OC is worth it if you know how to do it right. You have to find the right balance. That also depends on the quality of the chip and how it is cooled.
Do check our latest post on the How to Increase RAM Speed
Let’s say your memory has a Hynix, Micron, or Samsung (C-die) chip from a lower-tier company. These chips have very little to no room to go faster. Most of the time, they come with cheap RAM that doesn’t have enough cooling.
If you try to overclock them, they might get too hot or not be stable enough. If you keep going like this, you’ll end up with a memory module that won’t work.
There are a multitude of component failures that all share comparable symptoms. But, in the case of RAM, determining whether or not it is damaged also involves diagnosis in addition to looking at the symptoms.
In this regard, this page serves as a comprehensive guidebook. I hope that it may be of some value to you.
Do you have any further thoughts? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Adios!
FAQs for How to Tell If RAM Is Bad
How can I test my RAM?
1. Click the Windows Start button and type Windows Memory Diagnostics into the box that comes up. Click on the Windows Memory Diagnostics option when it shows up.
2. In the window that comes up, click Restart now and look for problems.
3. Wait while Windows checks the RAM on your computer for problems.
What Happens When a RAM is faulty?
Your computer randomly restarts or freezes while you are working on something. It could also restart almost as soon as you open the desktop. This could be a sign that the RAM is broken. Before the computer restarts, it shows a blue screen with white text.
How can I test if my RAM is working?
To use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool, open the Start menu, type “Windows Memory Diagnostic,” and press Enter. You can also press Windows Key + R, type “mdsched.exe” into the Run box that appears, and press Enter. To do the test, you’ll need to restart your computer.
Can a faulty RAM be fixed?
RAM memory is a physical part, so damage to it is usually permanent. But you can try the following steps to figure out what’s wrong and maybe fix it: Check the link to the RAM: Make sure the RAM is firmly in place in the memory slot.
What causes RAM failure?
RAM can fail for many reasons, such as soft errors (heat, magnetic interference, electrostatic discharge, power surges, etc.), hard errors, bad RAM modules, etc. And RAM problems can happen out of the blue.