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How to check your Notebook/Tablet or Desktop memory in Windows.

Is your Windows computer suddenly crashing or programs behave not the way you expect them? The memory of the computer can be the problem. Windows and your user programs are continuously reading and writing to the memory of your computer. If you just (re)placed a memory module (newly produced modules are not always tested) or a memory module degrades over time, errors can occur that the computer can not fix.

Luckily Windows has a build in free memory checker that needs some explaining but it works well.

How to use the build in Windows Memory checker

Make sure you have saved all datafiles (such as Word/Writer documents, Excel/Calc sheets and PowerPoint/Impress presentations) and closed all the programs as the computer will restart immediately after selecting the default option!

Start the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

The memory checker reboots the computer so the check can be done without Windows in memory. This way the checker can access all the memory and is not restricted by the Windows memory protection

Open the Start menu, type "Windows Memory Diagnostic", and press Enter or type (or copy) the program name "mdsched.exe", and press Enter.

Start the Window Memory Diagnostics
Start the Window Memory Diagnostics
Windows may ask for an administrator password to start the program if you are not logged on with administrative rights.

Select the start option

Click the button "Restart now and check for problems (recommended)". You are warned to close all open documents.

Windows Memory Diagnostics: Restart now and check for problems (recommended)
Windows Memory Diagnostics: Restart now and check for problems (recommended)

Memory diagnostics running

After pressing the button, Windows will restart and Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool runs with the default options in text modus.
Windows Memory Diagnostics: running in text modus with default options.
Windows Memory Diagnostics: running in text modus with default options.

Windows Memory Diagnostics: Options screen

By pressing the key F1 you can select additional options as can be seen in the next image. Most of the time the default options are sufficient to perform a memory check. However you can run the check up to 15 times and then press F10.
Windows Memory Diagnostics: Options
Windows Memory Diagnostics: Options

Show the results

The memory check results are not shown after restarting Windows as displayed by the Memory Diagnostics Tool but are written in the system eventlog.

Open the Start menu, type "Event Viewer", and press Enter or type (or copy) the program name "eventvwr.msc", and press Enter.

Starting Windows Event Viewer.
Starting Windows Event Viewer.
In the left pane select Windows Logs > System (step 1 and 2) and in the right pane you can use the Find option (step 3) to search for "MemoryDiagnostic". (step 4) You will find two entries, the primary one shows the computer (step 5) and overall results and the second eventlog entry (step 6) in the details tab (step 7) shows the detailed information about the memory test and module banks.
Finding the Eventlog entries of the MemoryDiagnostics
Finding the Eventlog entries of the MemoryDiagnostics
Locating the extended Memory Diagnostics results.
Locating the extended Memory Diagnostics results.
All NumBadPages and TxxNumBadPages should be zero, if they are not, you have several options:
  1. If your computer is still under warranty, contact your supplier with the results of the memory check
  2. If you have multiple memory modules in your computer and know something about computer hardware: electrically discharge yourself, turn off the computer, (remove the battery) and remove all memory modules except one and perform a memory check. Do this for all the modules and replace the modules with BadPage faults (memory modules can also be to slow for your computer
  3. If you know nothing about computers, contact that friend you usually ask about computer advice and let him/her do step 2. Perhaps that friend has some memory modules lying around for you 😉
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