I'm recently getting blue screen of death on my Windows XP machine. I suspect that the culprit is the RAM I've just installed. Is there any program that I can use the test whether my RAM is good or not, on Windows XP?

I am looking at program that does not require me to boot from external device such as floppy disk or CD ROM. The program should run just like normal without requiring me to restart the machine.

  • You can replace the RAM or try it on another computer. – John Feb 24 '10 at 7:43
  • @John, if I had a choice I wouldn't want to do it. – Graviton Feb 24 '10 at 7:50
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    @Ngu You can't really fully test the RAM while running Windows, that's why RAM test programs generally boot from another device. – phoebus Feb 24 '10 at 8:23
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    Please explain why you don't want to restart. As pointed out by phoebus, it's impossible to fully test the RAM while Windows is running (because, among other things, Windows will reserve part of the RAM exclusively for itself, hence no other program will be able to test it). – sleske Feb 24 '10 at 10:29
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    Sorry, but I don't see your problem. What's difficult about burning an ISO and rebooting? – sleske Feb 25 '10 at 9:51

I've used MemTest, which runs under Windows, but I've never quite had faith in it; partly for the reasons other people have mentioned, but also partly because I've never seen used in anger (i.e. on RAM that actually turned out to be faulty) - so I cant vouch for it's effectiveness.

Like many others, I rely mainly on MemTest86+ (boot from CD). I know you might find it inconvenient, but with 4GB+ in many machines these days, and given that you need to run through several passes to be thorough, checking the RAM properly is an overnight job.

Having just upgraded to an i7 mobo, CPU and DDR3 RAM, the first thing I did was test the RAM on the first night. As it happens, the RAM appeared faulty, so each night, I ran another test with various combinations of sticks and various BIOS settings to confirm the extent of the problem. When I return the RAM under an RMA, I'll get charged an admin fee if the RAM isn't found to be really faulty - so it's important to make sure I get my facts right - hence the more laborious route of multiple, overnight memtest86+ runs... It's worth it in the longer run.

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  • @Ngu Soon Hui: Listen to @CJM. You have to reboot to test all your RAM. Run a few (or even 5 or 6) passes of MemTest86+ overnight to thoroughly test your RAM. It's worth the minor "hassle" of rebooting. I do this every time i install new RAM. – Josh Feb 25 '10 at 13:34

I would recomment to use Memtest86+ anyway. Yes, it requires you to boot from external device (they have pre-built CDs) but I think that there is no other proper way to test RAM otherwise--Windows XP won't give full access to the RAM for the testing programme.

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What you are asking for is impossible.

As pointed out by phoebus, it's impossible to fully test the RAM while Windows is running.Among other things, Windows will reserve part of the RAM exclusively for itself, hence no other program will be able to access and test it.

Also, Windows (like all modern OS) uses virtual memory, so a testing program cannot write to a specific hardware memory address (because access is blocked by the OS); it can only ask the OS for memory and access that memory, and it has no control about where that memory lies. So the testing program might be testing the same memory over and over...

So you'll have to reboot from a CD-ROM or other media with e.g. memtest86 on it.

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http://hcidesign.com/memtest/ free.. don't know how good, I use memtest86

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  • memetest86 boots from cd – Graviton Feb 24 '10 at 7:48
  • The first link isn't to memtest86, its a windows RAM tester with a very similar name.. but I haven't used it, I only use the bootCD linux version, because I know it works (Identified several faulty modules.. which got returned same-day of purchase!) You could inspect the dumps... or maybe you cracked the mainboard installing the RAM.. done that before :-( . What is the blue screen message? – Grizly Feb 24 '10 at 13:43
  • it asked me to check the RAM – Graviton Feb 25 '10 at 4:56
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    Is that it, check the RAM, then why specify windows? Are you in a high-security environment where gov peeps will bite you if you boot into something else? I don't get it. – Grizly Feb 25 '10 at 5:53

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