How to Test for Bad Memory (RAM) in Windows

Tech Ornate


We all know that understanding how to test RAM or Random Access Memory of our computers is an advantage. As one of the most fundamental parts of the computer, RAM has a rare chance of causing us problems, but if it does, it can become a strenuous task in computer troubleshooting.

Faulty RAM can be a complex diagnosis to perform because of the difficulty in detecting the cause. This article will tell more about RAM, the signs of a RAM failure, and show users built-in and third-party tools used to test RAM for bad memory in Windows 10.

What Is RAM?

The RAM (Random-access memory) is a critical component of any computer system and a smartphone. It is a high-speed device that can read and write much faster data than SSD and HDD; this also works to store cached data such as polygons and textures to help your PC execute commands and performance immediately. 

Source: Pixabay

Additionally, RAM is an external piece that can be added or removed physically to your motherboard’s number of RAM slots. Unlike the standard RAM, a CPU cache is a mini-memory that is adhered to the CPU chip permanently Both RAM and CPU cache have the same properties and functions, which store temporary data that are cleared when your computer is switched off.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad RAM?

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Below are the typical issues that you can encounter when the RAM becomes bad:

  • While using your computer, the performance worsens, and after a few hours, it starts to respond so slowly, making it impossible to use the PC.
  • Your PC will do random restarts for no reason, nor will it give notifications about it. After you turn it off for a few hours, the computer will immediately reboot after you turn it on again.
  • The Blue Screen errors, or the Blue Screen of Death, is an annoying failure symptom that flashes error codes you could hardly read before the system automatically restarts itself.

Reasons Why RAM Fails

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  • Power interruptions are one main reason that can damage most computer components like the motherboard, hard disk, CPU fan, and RAM. 
  • A RAM can go wrong due to heat, so it is recommended for your PC to be well ventilated. If one piece goes overheat, it can damage your computer components.
  • ElectroStatic discharge or ESD and short circuits can also damage the components of your computer, specifically the RAM. 

Built-In and Third-Party Tools for Testing RAM in Windows

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The symptoms and reasons above will help you identify and understand when you have RAM issues. It will make it easy for your technician to know what to do and replace it necessarily. 

Below are free, approved built-in and third-party tools available to help you test your RAM for further troubleshooting.

Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool or WMD

WMD is a Windows’ powerful built-in software that can diagnose memory issues credibly.

  1. Type ‘Windows Memory Diagnostic‘ into the Cortana app, press ENTER, and it will immediately pull up. A workaround is simply pressing ‘Windows Key + R,’ type ‘mdsched.exe’ in the run dialogue, and then press ENTER.
  1. Select ‘RESTART NOW‘ to run the test. Or you can select ‘RUN IT THE NEXT TIME‘ you boot up your PC.
  1. Use the default Standard memory test and let the trial proceed until it is finished when the blue screen appears. Please note that the estimated time is up to the speed of your PC and available RAM.
  1. The WMD tool will show the results once it is completed, and any errors will appear in the Windows Event Log. Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool will also show on the test if the RAM is causing hiccups.

Next are the steps to follow if you cannot find the test results.

  1. Open Event Viewer by pressing the right click of your mouse on the start menu and then select ‘Event Viewer.’
  1. Hover your mouse cursor on ‘Windows Logs‘ then ‘System‘ to view the list of events and look for a specific one; you must click the Find option.
  1. Type ‘Memory Diagnostic Tool’ and click on the ‘Find Next’ button to help you see the result.


MemTest86 is, without doubt, the best RAM diagnostic tool you can use, and it has a free version and pro-version. This tool can take several hours to complete its tests depending on how much RAM is installed on your computer or how serious the RAM issues are. 

  1. Download the Memtest86 Auto-installer and burn it on a USB drive. 
  1. Insert the USB to your PC that is having a RAM Bad memory issue.
Source: Pixabay
  1. Reboot your computer and make sure the select boot is from the US flash drive.
  1. Configure MemTest86 to perform extensive testing and multiple loops.
  1. The tool will start testing for corrupted memory in your computer’s system. It is best to let it run and log results as long as possible, even overnight.
  1. Note the addresses where errors occurred on the log.
  1. Repeat the test with the other memory modules that are left. If the errors happen at the same addresses, then it means that the RAM stick is malfunctioning, but if you have passed all the tests, then, sure enough, your memory is working perfectly.

Supposedly the errors appear to occur at random addresses. It will be more than likely the issue is the power supply, or it is because of higher than average operating temperatures. These temperatures could be the consequence of recurrent heavy programs, such as games or graphics software which run the CPU and video card all out.

Final Thoughts

With the simple steps provided in this guide, it will be effortless for you to know how to test RAM in Windows 10. Should you have further questions concerning this, let us know in the comments section below.

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