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Memory Sticks Regularly Become Faulty

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Valdamir, Jan 19, 2006.

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  1. Valdamir

    Valdamir Thread Starter

    Jan 14, 2006
    A few days ago, I reported a computer problem in a previous thread. Before I could try all the the suggested fixes, however, I encountered another technical issue.

    The computer screen started displaying glitches, and then a few moments later it froze up on me. Further restarts only provided a blank, unchanging screen. After a bit of experimenting, I found out that one of the memory sticks had suddenly become faulty. The sad part is this: this computer has had faulty memory before, that is, when it first arrived.

    Something is seriously wrong with my system. What are the odds of a computer's memory going bad twice within two months? To answer this question, I ask what causes bad computer memory in the first place? Well, I did some research on the internet, and I found out the 5 reasons and 5 indicators of faulty memory:

    Possible Reaons:
    1. Electrostatic shock from improper handling. Try to avoid stroking your cat while you install your new 1GB DDR module! Before this memory issue, I neither owned a cat nor touched the memory within several weeks, so I doubt this is the problem.
    2. Power Surges or Poor Power Supplies can also damage your computer's memory, somtimes gradually.
    3. Raising Memory Voltage too high if you are overclocking. This explanation can be ruled out because I don't overclock the system.
    4. If the computer is excessively dusty, or is located in a humid environment, the contacts between the memory module and the memory slot can be interfered with or corroded. I know the system is not overly dusty (having cleaned it a dozen times while troubleshooting), nor do I live near the Equator.
    5. Heat, either from other components or the RAM itself can also cause gradual damage. This is possible, but unlikely, considering that I have an extra fan installed.


    1. Blue Screens of Death, especially during the install procedure of Windows 2000 or XP. This is one of the surest signs of faulty memory.
    2. Random crashes or blue screens during the running of 2000 or XP. Note that heat can also be a culprit in the case of general flakiness, so you should always consider that possibility too.
    3. Crashes during memory intensive operations. 3D games, benchmarks, compiling, Photoshop, etc.
    4. Distorted graphics on screen. This can also be related to the video card.
    5. Failure to boot. This can be accompanied by repeated long beeps,

    As aforementioned, I received the last two indicators: distorted graphics and eventual failure to boot.

    Reason #2, power surges or a bad power supply, seems the most likely explanation. However, I'm inclined to think the latter (power supply), not only because I use a UPS/Surge-Protector, but because of my aforesaid previous problem, in which a faulty power supply was one of the suggested explanations.

    I realize that I've pretty much answered my own question, but I've posted here in case someone else can provide another explanation. Also, if any other newbie experiences symptoms like mine, I hope my post here will be a help to them.
  2. winbob


    Aug 2, 2004
    Do a Google search and download a free program called "memtest". Use it regularly for a while to see if you can nail down a cause/association of your problem.
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