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My computer is having... issues... I was thinking it might be the RAM or something. I have now ran Memtest86+ v4.10 for a while and so far it hasn't reported any errors.

If Memtest86+ does not report any errors, can I conclude that the issues must be elsewhere?

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Can you be more specific about the "issues"? –  ChrisF Dec 8 '10 at 21:43
    
@ChrisF: One of my harddrive was close to dying (worst S.M.A.R.T. readings you can get, and computer took ages to boot up, etc), so I bought a new one. Swapped it and decided to reinstall Windows as well. First thing I get after the first reboot is bluescreen. Have tried to reinstall several times, only get blue screens. And right now I don't even get the setup dialog up... Just a blank windows background after booting up from the windows dvd... –  Svish Dec 8 '10 at 21:50
    
If you're having lots of problems with varying hardware in your system, my first instinct is to check/swap the power supply. Next would be the motherboard. Especially if it's more than a few years old -- the capacitors might be from a line that tended to go bad over time. –  afrazier Dec 8 '10 at 23:24
    
A visual inspection of the capacitors is all you need to determine if those are bad or not. The top of a capacitor should be flat. If it's bulging or leaking, it's bad. –  Force Flow Dec 9 '10 at 0:11
    
If only I had a replacement PSU that I could try, hehe. Is there a way I can see if it is likely to be the PSU? Or would I just have to get a new one and see if it works better? –  Svish Dec 9 '10 at 11:10

2 Answers 2

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If Memtest86+ does not report any errors, can I conclude that the issues must be elsewhere?

No. The absence of errors in Memtest86+ doesn't mean that your memory is not defective, but it does reduce the likelihood and indicate that you should probably continue your search for a more likely culprit.

If Memtest86+ does find an error, it means that your system definitely has a problem with the RAM. That doesn't mean that the RAM sticks are necessarily bad either. In a different configuration (chipset, PSU, voltage), it might be fine. However, if everything should be fine, it indicates a compatibility problem at best and defective hardware (RAM, motherboard, PSU, etc. -- not necessarily RAM) at worst.

Memtest86+ is a tool that, correctly used, can help you track down the source of a problem. It's not a magic bullet that can definitively say that your RAM is bad or good.

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I never run memtest for any period shorter than an overnighter which works out at around 46 passes but then most of the faults I work on tend to be intermittent.

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