Even though manufacturers may want you to, you don’t really have to buy the latest gadget version every year or replace your laptop whenever there is some technology breakthrough that hits the market.
As long as you properly maintain your devices, most of them will serve you a very long time, although not forever. Your computer may be working fine as a whole, but some components may start to fail after a while. Unfortunately, RAM is one of the first PC components to go, so knowing the signs of its upcoming failure is important.
Why - you may ask. If people carry around smartphones with cracked screens for years, can’t you just ignore bad RAM? The answer is – you can’t. RAM is one of the most significant PC parts, as it is responsible for the smooth running of applications on your computer. The more complex the software is, the more RAM it requires to run. When you have several programs running at the same time, your RAM needs to work really hard, so it needs to be in good shape for it. Read on to learn the symptoms that will tell you your RAM is about to go kaput:
1. Deteriorating System Performance
One of the first signs that your RAM is going bad is PC performance that begins to deteriorate over time. If your computer runs great when you first turn it on, but starts slowing down as you use it, it could mean RAM trouble. The issue may be especially obvious when you use resource-intensive programs such as video games, Photoshop and the like. One note though: the reason for this symptom could be non-RAM related, so you will need to do a quick test to check if bad RAM is the culprit. Power off your computer, then turn it on again and try using it for a while without launching any apps. If you still feel the slowdown, it is very likely that your RAM need to be replaced.
2. Occasional Crashes
Just like performance deterioration, occasional PC crashes don’t necessarily mean your RAM is bad. It merely speaks of the possibility of your RAM being faulty.
It is especially the case if your crashes aren’t that random. For instance, if you get a crash every time you launch a specific program, then that program might be the cause and not your RAM. Whereas, if you experience random crashes that occur at different times and under different circumstances, then you should definitely look at your RAM.
3. Graphics Card Doesn’t Load
When you power up your PC, you normally hear a beep, which indicates that your media and video hardware has been started up. If the beep is not there, it could mean that these components haven’t properly loaded, which could be due to RAM problems. If this happens, you will usually see a warning message when your system tries to start up. However, besides faulty RAM this issue could be caused by the video card itself going bad.
4. Corrupted Files on PC
If you face a situation where some of your frequently used files turn out to be corrupted, and especially if it starts escalating, you should know two things. One is that the culprit is most likely your RAM. And number two is that this may be the last hint your computer gives you to start backing up your personal files on a regular basis.
This is a sign that the defective memory on your PC may be causing structural damage to your hard drive, which may lead to your machine becoming unbootable. Not a fun thing to look forward to.
5. System Detecting Your RAM Incorrectly
Use the regular Windows means to check the amount of RAM on your computer and then compare it to what it’s supposed to be. It’s really easy. Just go to the Start menu and click on Control Panel > System. You will see an overview of your PC’s basic stats, including what your PC now thinks is the amount of your installed RAM.
Ask yourself these questions: what is your computer’s RAM amount supposed to be and does what you see on your screen there match that number? If it doesn’t, you’ve got yourself a problem.
How Do You Confirm a RAM Problem?
As it was mentioned earlier, the above symptoms don’t automatically mean that it’s your RAM that has a problem, or that your RAM is on the brink of dying. The potential causes of these symptoms are numerous, including overheating, a faulty power supply, a virus or malware, operating system installed with an error or some other hardware part being faulty.
However, it’s never a bad idea to run some diagnostics on your RAM, especially if you experience more than one of the above symptoms.
Here is How to Diagnose RAM on Windows
Windows actually has a built-in tool for memory diagnistics. You just need to hit WIN + R to launch the tool, then type mdsched and hit Enter.
You’ll get a prompt to restart your computer. Some diagnostic tests will be run before Windows loads again and you will see a notification in the task bar of any issues discovered during the checkup.
As an alternative, you can use Memtest – a program with more than a 20-year history that’s considered to be one of the best tools for testing RAM.
What if You Have RAM Problems?
If you discover that your RAM is defective, the only solution is to replace it. The good news is that RAM isn’t that expensive nowadays. You can grab 16 GB of it for a mere $75 on Amazon, and 16 gigs is more than enough for pretty much any personal computer. Installing memory is easy, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, just have a technician do it for you, which shouldn’t cost much at all. The benefits you’ll get from new RAM are worth the effort.
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