Troubleshooting PC Memory Issues

In order to troubleshoot memory problems we can use the memory diagnostic software or the beep codes. There are two methods to diagnose and troubleshoot memory-related issues.

  1. Using BIOS beep codes.
  2. Using Memory Diagnostics Software.

BIOS beep codes:

The BIOS program does the POST (Power ON Self Test) testing as the system turns ON. This test is done to ensure that the system is working properly. If the computer fails to start, a long beep is generated. This beep indicates that there is a requirement to check the BIOS of the motherboard for errors.

Memory Diagnostic Software:

The memory diagnostics software enables the user to solve memory problems. Windows 7 comes with a built-in memory diagnostic software which restarts the computer and switches the computer into memory diagnostic mode.  You can also start the Quick Test mode to quickly test the memory for errors. If the memory shows an error such as incorrect memory sizing there must be a problem with the software setting in the CPU. The error number for this error is 164. The computer can easily fix this error using the memory diagnostic tool. If the memory diagnostic tool does not show any error, check the motherboard, CPU and other peripheral devices.

Apart from these two, there are other methods of diagnosing and troubleshooting memory issues:

  1. When you switch ON the computer, three beep tones are heard and then the computer stops or parity error is displayed on the screen.

Cause: This problem may occur due to improper insertion of RAM or due to defective RAM.


  1. Check all memory modules you have installed.
  2. Check for any loose connections.
  3. If the problem is still not solved, then remove the modules one by one, reinsert and check if the problem has solved.
  4. If the problem is due to some defective memory module then replace it with a new working module.
  5. Wrong Memory Size.

Cause: If the machine shows wrong memory size when you switch ON the machine, it could be due to wrong CMOS set up information.


  1. Correct the values using the BIOS settings and save the configuration.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. The memory card installed is not being recognized by the computer.

Cause: This could be due to improper installation of the memory card.


  1. Ensure that the card is installed properly.
  2. Ensure that the memory chips are not defective.
  3. Check that the settings on the motherboard are as given in the manual.
  4. Pins of memory are dirty or slot is rusty.

Cause: This could be due to dust in the memory connector and slot.


  1. Clean them with a student eraser and try again.
  2. Clean the slot with a brush.
  3. Wash them with pure alcohol and try again.

Hardware such as hard disks, chips and memory packages generally show problems due to aging. The hardware errors can also occur due to bad soldering performed while mounting the components on the motherboard.

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