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Tips for Troubleshooting Computer RAM That Has Gone Bad

Your computer uses random-access memory (RAM) to store the data that it needs to operate. RAM allows access to the data stored on it instantaneously, which is why you are able to easily switch between programs without delays. However, it's possible for the RAM to go bad at some point, which will require troubleshooting the problem to figure out what is wrong. Here is what you need to know to do this on its own.

Run a Diagnostic Tool

One of the first things that you should do is run a RAM diagnostic tool. If you are on a Windows-based computer, there should be a memory diagnostic tool built into the operating system that you can use. Simply launch the program, which will shut down your computer and run the tool for you. It may take a couple of hours if your computer has a lot of memory, so make sure not to run this tool in the middle of your work day.

Reseat the RAM

Another thing you can do is try to reseat the RAM so that it has a solid connection with the motherboard. Thankfully, this is an easy task that anyone can do. Your RAM clips into the motherboard with two tabs on the left and right sides of the chip. You'll need to open those tabs so that you can grip the ram by the sides and lift it out of the slot. Then carefully push the RAM back in until it clips into place and those tabs fit back into the small indentations that hold it in. 

Try One RAM Stick at a Time

Don't have access to a diagnostic tool to figure out which stick of RAM has gone bad? Consider removing all of your RAM and trying one stick at a time. If the computer runs fine using one stick of RAM, make note of which one it is so that you know it's fine. Then shut down the computer and swap out that RAM stick with the next one and try running the computer again. You should eventually narrow down the problematic stick of RAM with this method. 

The odds of every RAM stick giving you problems all at once is highly unlikely. If you are running into this problem, it's likely that the issue is not RAM-related at all. You should take your device to a computer repair professional to have the problem diagnosed further.