Technology Advice by Ryan Taylor Adams

Using MemTest86+ To Diagnose RAM Problems

March 11th, 2009 · No Comments · Printer Friendly Version


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MemTest86+ is a diagnostic program used to detect hardware problems with RAM (memory) modules. Since it can be run from a bootable CD, it is faster, safer, and more accurate at detecting memory problems than similar tools which would be run from within Windows.

To use MemTest86+, you first create a bootable CD/DVD with the program on it. You then boot your computer from this CD/DVD and MemTest86+ will start testing your RAM automatically. If there is a problem with your computer’s memory, MemTest86+ will list the errors on screen. Here is how to go about using MemTest86+:

  1. Click here to download the ISO image from the MemTest86+ website. Be sure to select the file named “Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)”.
  2. Save this file to your desktop.
  3. Once the download completes, open the downloaded archive file and extract (drag and drop) the single file contained inside to your desktop. The extracted file should have a “.iso” extension.
  4. Use your favorite CD burning software to burn the ISO image to a CD. Be aware, the ISO file you downloaded is an image of a complete CD. You do not want to just burn the ISO image file to a CD as you would other data files, but instead want to make a CD from the image file. How you do this will vary depending on the program you use, but most will have an option similar to “Burn CD from Image File”.
  5. Once you have a MemTest86+ CD, leave it in your computer’s drive.
  6. Restart your computer.
  7. As soon as your computer begins to restart, you will see the BIOS screen (white text on a black background). You should see an option to access a boot menu (often times you are instructed to press “F12”, “F10” or “Esc” to access the boot menu).
  8. Press the appropriate key to access the boot menu, then select the CD drive with the MemTest86+ CD in it as the boot drive.
  9. Your screen will turn blue and the MemTest86+ program will start its tests. You can watch the progress in the top right.
  10. Depending on the amount of RAM you have, the tests could take a long time. You can either stay and watch the tests run, or leave your computer and return to it later.
  11. Any errors that are found will be listed in red at the bottom of the MemTest86+ screen. If the test complete without errors, you can eject the CD and restart your computer as normal.

What do the errors mean?

If the MemTest86+ scan reported errors, it means that is a problem with your RAM modules or your computer’s motherboard. You should consult a qualified IT company to further troubleshoot the problem and replace any defective hardware.