Hardware failure is probably the worst thing that can happen to a PC user. Software is one thing where if worst comes to worst you just need to do a reinstall. When hardware fails, it usually means that you’re gonna have to spend money buying new parts, or in case of total breakage, on buying a completely new computer. Before spending money, it’s a good idea to first check and see just what stopped working, this is of course if you can turn on your PC and it’s not completely dead. Memory test, RAM test is the first thing you should do.
When memory is causing problems, computer should start and system should start the boot process, but very soon after that you’re gonna see the infamous BSOD, blue screen of death. MemTest is a completely free computer memory tester which you can use to check for memory errors. What you’re seeing on the image above is MemTest running inside VirtualBox. You’ll see something very similar when you’re using it on an actual machine. Great thing about this free computer memory tester is that you don’t have to boot into Windows, or any other operating system that you might be using in order to test your memory with it.
How to test computer memory for errors with MemTest – free computer memory tester
1. MemTest download
The way that you’ll be testing memory is by creating a bootable CD using the downloaded ISO image. Image burners like ImgBurn for Windows or Brasero, Xfburn and K3B for Linux are required. Mac users can also test their memory with MemTest.
2. Burning MemTest to a CD
We used ImgBurn to burn the ISO image of MemTest to a CD. You can do the same, or you can use whatever burner you have installed.
Select Write image to disc, then select ISO in the source section, destination drive, etc. Make sure that the writing speed isn’t set very high, becuase otherwise you’re gonna have problems booting the CD.
3. Booting PC from MemTest, actual test
In the third and final step you’ll have to boot your computer from the CD, instead of the hard drive. Most computers and laptops have a special keyboard key which you can press right after turning on your PC to bring out the boot selection menu. It can either be F12, F8, there should be a short message when the computer is starting up telling you what the key is.
From the boot selection menu select your CD drive, it should say something like CD/DVD. Once you select it, something very similar to screenshot above will appear. In the top right corner you can see a progress bar called Pass. Leave MemTest running until at least one pass is completed. Sometimes errors aren’t detected on the first pass, so just to be sure, leave it running for 2 passes. If errors are found, they’re gonna be listed down below.
For those who are interested in what this free computer memory test is all about, it basically writes data to memory to see how it will respond. If you do see errors, and you have 2 sticks of RAM, try removing one of them and then repeating the test. Probably only one of them is corrupted, the other is fine and you should be able to continue using your computer. Try it and see how it goes.