The purpose of this article is to discuss and identify common memory problems and fixes. Memory problems can lead to reduced performance, a blue screen of death (BSOD), and failure to boot. RAM Memory problems can be easy to identify and easy to solve. There are typically five error messages or symptoms that contribute to the most common problems with RAM memory.
Quick Troubleshooting Steps for RAM Problems
Before looking at memory specific issues, there are some basic troubleshooting steps you can do in order to fix common memory problems. These are basic quick steps and will resolve most issues with RAM.
- Ensure that memory modules are securely fastened down into the motherboard and that latches are able to lock.
- Check order configuration. Memory has a very particular way it should be installed in the DIMM slots. Consult your motherboard manual. This is either slots 1 and 2, 1 and 3, or 2 and 4.
- Restart the computer and look in the BIOS settings for the correct RAM count. If the BIOS is not reading it correctly, the memory may need to be adjusted or securely fastened. If memory is securely fastened, the BIOS may need an update.
- Review memory to ensure they are the same size, speed, and brand. Different co-mingled memory modules will not work together. Try switching slots, or using one module at a time to test if there is a bad memory stick.
- Review Operating System level tools to see if there is a memory leak. Restart the computer in safe mode and run an anti-malware tool. Review any recent driver or software changes and uninstall them to see if that fixes the problem.
Other Common Memory Errors and Fixes
This error likely happens due to memory being improperly configured into the DIMM slots of the motherboard. Consult your motherboard manual for proper configuration settings.
Solution: Reorder memory in the correct configuration
The order is usually to put one slot of memory into slot 1 and another into slot 3. You may also do slots 2 and 4, 1 and 2, or 3 and 4. Again, consult your motherboard manual for accuracy. Turn off the computer, restart and check the BIOS to see how much memory the BIOS is reporting. Make sure that memory is pushed all the way down into the slot so that the latches around the memory are able to lock in place.
When you get the error message “Your computer is low on memory. Save your files and close these programs.”, the most common cause is actually a lack of memory. You may need to upgrade your RAM Memory. Oftentimes there is confusion because your computer will say that you have free memory, however that memory may already be spoken for by another application that’s running.
Solutions to “Your computer is low on memory”
- Replace your memory with higher capacity modules or add modules to the pool to increase the total size of memory.
- Close out programs using task manager
- Open command prompt and type in sfc /scannow – this will search and replace missing or corrupt system files
- Open your advanced systems settings and increase the virtual memory
If you get a blue screen of death with the instructions to search and learn more about MEMORY MANAGEMENT, there could be a number of issues. These issues range from bad drivers, bad OS patches, memory not seated or in the proper configuration, a memory leak from a software application or malware.
Solution to “MEMORY MANAGEMENT – Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)
Follow the Top 5 Basic Troubleshooting steps above. If that doesn’t work, you may have a faulty memory module and should test it. You can test your memory by running the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool. To find the tool, open the Start menu, type and enter “Windows Memory Diagnostic”. Follow the onscreen prompts.
Explorer.exe High Memory Usage can be caused by a bad browser plugin, driver, bad software code, and a number of other things.
Solution to “Explorer.exe High Memory Usage”
The first best thing to do is to end the process tree by opening task manager and killing the process. You will likely need to press control + alt + delete to reopen task manager, click File >> Run… and enter Explorer.exe to regain your desktop experience. If you notice that there is a pattern, then it is likely linked to a piece of software, driver, or recent update. You should rollback your updates, drivers, and uninstall any recent software you think could be causing this. Third party browser plugins and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) that come with other software are likely culprits.
Failure to boot followed by beeping can be a result of bad memory or improperly configured memory. Beeping can also mean something else on the motherboard is not compatible with it or that a cable is plugged into the wrong place. Most often however, it is memory that causes the beeping. It’s usually the result of mis-matched memory or a bad memory stick.
Solution to “Failure to boot followed by beeping”
- Review current memory sticks to ensure the same brand, speed, and size are being used.
- Switch slots and configuration of memory.
- Review any recent motherboard changes
- Flash the BIOS by taking out the CMOS battery and replacing it
- Replace memory
Using Memtest86 to Fix RAM Memory Problems
Memtest86 is a third-party hardware diagnostics tool. You can find it in the utilities and downloads section of this website. It is a free utility that can provide a report of any hardware-level issues with your RAM and help you with submitting a warranty claim or giving you the information, you need to know if you need to replace your RAM. You can visit their troubleshooting guide here.