RAM test for Windows: Is your RAM faulty? In this guide, we show you three Windows tools that you can use to check your RAM for errors.
If your PC is having problems with blue screens and crashes, this could be an indication of defective RAM modules. To be completely safe, it makes sense to check these for errors before replacing them with new ones directly. We show you three different ways.
Windows memory diagnostic tool
The first method does not require any third-party software as Windows has built in its own memory diagnostic tool.
- Enter “Windows memory diagnostics” in the search bar of your taskbar and start it.
- Click on » Restart now and check for problems (recommended)« .
- Your PC will restart and will check your RAM for errors. This can take some time depending on how many RAM modules you have installed and how much capacity they have.
- After the test, your PC restarts and Windows then notifies you whether errors were found or not.
HCI’s MemTest has the advantage that you only have to download and start the tool. It doesn’t get much easier than that. The downside here is that the tool can only test unused RAM since it launches from Windows. The main memory that is currently being used by the operating system itself cannot be checked. Windows dynamically moves data in and out of memory, so all areas of RAM will eventually be tested anyway. The test is therefore more accurate the longer you run it.
- Download MemTest from the official website.
- Extract the zip file to a path of your choice. Installing is not necessary.
- Quits all programs running in the background and starts »memtest.exe«.
- Click on »Start Testing«.
- The test can take several hours, so it’s best to let it run overnight. If errors are found early, you can also cancel it early.
PassMark Memtest86 – Can also be used without Windows
Passmark’s Memtest86 is a reliable tool to test your RAM, even without an operating system. The tool itself is launched from a bootable USB stick, so it doesn’t depend on what operating system is on your PC.
- Download the tool from the official website
- Unzip the folder to a path of your choice. An installation is not necessary.
- Insert a USB stick and start »imageUSB.exe«.
- First, you select the USB drive on which Memtest86 should be installed.
- Make sure “Write image to USB drive” is selected in the second step.
- In the third step, Memtest should have automatically found and assigned the necessary IMG file. If this is not the case, you can add them yourself with »Browse«. It’s in the same folder.
- Check again whether all settings are correct and then click on »Write«. Caution: The process will erase all content from your USB stick, so back up important files beforehand.
- Restart your PC and boot the program from the USB stick. For this, you have to press a certain key when starting. In most cases, it’s either F2, Del, F8, F10, or F12. Alternatively, you can also boot from the USB stick via the UEFI / BIOS. To do this, you usually have to press F2 at startup.
- Click on »Config«.
- Then click on »(S)tart Test«.
- The length of the test depends on the size and quantity of your RAM sticks. The process can take several hours, so it’s best to run it when you don’t need to use the PC (such as overnight). If you discover errors in the first few minutes, you can also cancel the test, since even a small number of errors can be fatal for the functioning of RAM.
- After completion, the results are presented to you on the screen and you can save the results in an HTML file on the USB stick.
What to do if the RAM shows errors?
If the tests show no errors, your RAM is fine. If you continue to struggle with blue screens and crashes, then you must continue your troubleshooting and test the other components.
If the tests find errors in your RAM, then you were at least successful in your troubleshooting. The simplest solution would be to replace the RAM sticks. If you have several installed in your system, it is advisable to exchange them all, since mixing RAM sticks from different manufacturers can lead to problems.
However, it can also happen that your RAM causes problems because the clock rate is set faster than the RAM stick can support. This too can lead to blue screens and crashes. The maximum supported clock speed is often printed on the RAM module itself. If this is not the case, you will also find this on the packaging. Additionally, you need to research what RAM speeds are supported by your motherboard and CPU. Enter the name of your motherboard and CPU in a search engine and add “RAM Speed”.
To set the clock speed of your RAM sticks, you have to restart your PC and enter the BIOS / UEFI. Then you have to activate the XMP or DOCP profile there. Exactly how this works varies from motherboard to motherboard. It is best to use a search engine to search for the name of your mainboard and add
XMP. In most cases, activating the profile sets the maximum supported clock rate. Alternatively, you can also set slower clock rates manually and test whether your PC is more stable with it.