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Archives for : RAM

The Importance of Properly (Thoroughly) Testing Your Memory

When I used to teach high school, I would describe RAM (Random Access Memory or simply “memory”) as physical desk space, and virtual memory as putting stuff on the floor. So, stuff on your desk (RAM) is the stuff you can access right away, and when the desk is full, you have to put your stuff on the floor (the hard drive) which takes longer to get. Since all hard drives are slower than RAM, it’s always good to have plenty of RAM.

Over the years I have found it is pretty rare to find memory defects, but when they do exist, your system can become incredibly erratic. Having faulty RAM can cause your system to give you BSODs, lock up inexplicably with no warnings or error prompts, restart endlessly in a loop, not boot at all and can even cause a loss of data if you are able to run the system and a piece of software is attempting to access the faulty area(s) of RAM. I am not necessarily suggesting you purchase ECC (Error-Correcting Code) RAM, but I am suggesting that you take the time to test your RAM at least once — and test it the right way.

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PC ER: Blue Flash Followed by Restart in Endless Loop

Symptoms:

System attempts to load the Windows XP operating system, cuts to black and very quickly flashes a blue screen full of text and reboots in an endless loop. Due to the brief stint of the blue screen, no specific identifiable error messages are retrievable.

Hypothesis:

The system is attempting to display a “stop” error message, commonly referred to as a BSOD (“Blue Screen Of Death”) due to the frequent occurrances of them in the legacy versions of Microsoft Windows. However, because there is a setting in WindowsXP which allows it to “automatically restart” after a catastrophic error, it becomes impossible to read the “stop” error. The BIOS may need updating (as indicated by other issues, such as the need to “start” the computer twice. The hard disk may have a corrupted cluster/sector in a critical area containing Windows system information. If the hard disk checks out fine, then the system memory may have a corrupted area causing a data mismatch and thus needs to be checked.

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