Memory installation troubleshooting tips


Diagnosing the Problem

  • If the symptoms started after you recently added more memory, the new module could be faulty. This seems obvious, but anytime a problem begins after making a change, first check to see if the change caused the problem.
  • Your computer may produce multiple beeps or a continuous beep when you turn it on. These beeps can indicate many different problems, including being a symptom of bad RAM. Beep codes vary depending on the manufacturer of your BIOS. You can look up the beep codes for your specific computer to figure out its specific problem.
  • If you are not comfortable fixing your computer yourself, I recommend taking your computer to a local repair store rather than a big retail store. Big stores are in the business of selling additional parts, not fixing problems.
  • If you are an advanced user, there are diagnostic programs that can help you figure out if you have a memory problem. Your computer may have one pre-installed by the manufacturer or you can download a third-party program. The Windows Memory Diagnostic by Microsoft is also good if you suspect memory problems on a Windows PC.

    If the above programs indicate your memory sticks are functioning, but you still suspect a RAM problem or if you need to find which memory module is the problem, you can try removing the modules and placing them in different slots. Installed RAM


    Fixing the Problem


    Press harder when inserting modules into the memory slot.

    Make sure the notches in your module are lined up with the keys in the slot, then press down using 20 to 30 pounds of pressure. While this may seem like a lot of force to use on a small module, it's necessary to properly "seat" the module. If installed properly, the clips on the side of module should snap into place on their own and a thin portion of the gold pins — 1/16th of an inch or less — should be visible (about the width of a line of pencil drawn on a piece of paper).


    OS memory limitations

    The problem may not be due to your hardware. It could be your operating system, because there's a maximum amount of memory that a Windows-based operating system (OS) can accept.


    Double-check your power cords

    Make sure all your power cords are plugged in. We get multiple calls about memory not working when the computer just needs to be plugged in!


    Double-check internal cables

    Did you accidentally bump one of the wires or cables inside your computer while you were installing your modules? A loose hard drive cable can prevent your computer from booting up properly. Make sure all cables are firmly lodged in their sockets.


    Update your BIOS

    If your computer is older, it may need a BIOS (Basic Input Output System) update in order to work with today's technology. Don't worry — updating your BIOS isn't as difficult as it sounds. To update your BIOS, contact your system or motherboard manufacturer and they'll direct you to where you can download the software for free.


    Test each of your memory modules one at a time

    When you find the sticks that are bad you can order replacements. It is possible all the memory modules are damaged if your computer experienced a serious power surge.


    If all the memory modules appear bad, then the problem is likely with the memory slot itself.

    Try testing each memory module in each of the memory slots to find if one of the slots is faulty. To fix a faulty slot you would need to replace your motherboard.


    Make sure the indention on the bottom is lined up correctly with the slot



    Excessive heat in your machine can cause a variety of problems.


    Failing Power Supply

    Random reboots can be cause by a failing power supply.


    Dirt and Dust

    Dirt and dust can also cause issues that look like memory problems. It is a good idea to clean dust out of your computer at least once a year, more often if you have furry pets.