Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool – How to Detect Bad RAM and Fix it

08/13/2019     Author: Billy Gray

If your computer has bad RAM then it can cause a bunch of problems like crashing or the blue screen of death. Here’s how to detect if your computer has got bad RAM.


Bad RAM on your computer can cause all sorts of system failures such as freezing, crashing entirely, or the horrendous ‘blue screen of death’ – a solid indicator that your computer is [email protected] Obviously, it’s best to know if you’ve got bad RAM on your device.

Windows Memory Diagnostic (WMD) is an effective way to test whether the memory on your device has been corrupted or not. What’s great about this tool is that Windows doesn’t have to be working properly (or even installed) to use it. This means that you can use the tool even when your computer is having serious problems.

While there are other memory testing kits on the market that are also recommended, Windows Memory Diagnostic is totally free and is very easy to set up and use. It could save your computer in the event of bad RAM getting the better of you.

In this post, we’ll have a look at WMD and why it’s worth installing on your computer. We’ll first go over what RAM actually is and why it is volatile.

What is RAM?

Random access memory (RAM) is used to store all the data for the programs that are currently running on your computer. That means when you turn your computer off, the data is not saved in your RAM – it’s just temporary. It only process and stores information to run all the apps and things that you’re using at any given moment while the computer is on.

This is why computers with lots of RAM run faster – they have more memory to store activity without slowing down your device. RAM sticks are green boards with microchips in them – as seen in the picture above.

You’re probably wondering why it’s called random access memory. It’s a weird name – the reason for it is that your computer can access any of the data stored in your RAM at the same speed. This means that if it were to randomly pick one piece of data or another, it would take the same amount of time. Thus, it’s called random access memory.

The data that your computer saves even when it’s turned off is called read only memory (ROM). This is a very stable form of memory – it can’t corrupt your computer. RAM, on the other hand, can totally bugger your computer if it gets corrupted.

Diagnosing bad RAM

Your computer’s RAM will wear out over time. RAM is stored in a microchip and this is prone to general wear and tear, like all things. A RAM chip can also be exposed to gamma radiation and other nasty things – possibly electrical damage, too. Although, these chips are generally pretty sturdy.

There are some tell-tale signs to look out for that suggest you’ve got bad RAM.

Corrupt files: If you’ve got corrupted files popping up on your computer – particularly those that you used recently – then this could be a sign that you’ve got bad RAM. RAM is responsible for the recent memory of your computer, and thus if your recent files are dodgy then it’s pretty likely something has gone wrong here.

Freezing, Crashing, BSOD: If your computer is crashing, or has the blue screen of death (BSOD), then it’s very likely that RAM is the problem. Corrupted RAM can cause all manner of problems in the general operation of your computer and freezes and crashes are some of the most common.

Slow: Another giveaway sign that you’ve got bad RAM is that your computer slows down as you use it and then speeds up after you restart it. If this is happening to you then you’ll want to run a check from Windows Memory Diagnostic.

How to use Windows Memory Diagnostic

Using Windows Memory Diagnostic is a sure way to find exactly what – if anything – is wrong with your RAM. You can use it to accurately diagnose which RAM stick is playing up and then replace it to solve the problem.

It’s worth mentioning that while WMD can diagnose the problem, it can’t solve it. You’ll need to replace the RAM stick that is playing up in order to solve the problem effectively.

To use WMD, if you’re using Windows 10, go to the Start menu, the Windows Administrative Tools, and you’ll see Windows Memory Diagnostic.

When you activate the tool, your computer will shut down and restart in WMD mode. This will scan for problems and can take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. It’s worth mentioning that WMD only scans the first 4 GB of RAM (obviously this is no problem if you only have 4 GB of RAM or less on your computer).


This isn’t as straightforward as it could be, but don’t worry, it’s no stress. Simply search for Event Viewer, open it, and follow these steps.

  • Look at the pane on the left. Go to Windows Logs > System > click it, then right click and select Filter current log.
  • Click the drop down Event source menu in the new box.
  • Search for MemoryDiagnostics – Results and check the box next to it.
  • Click OK to close the window.

Now you’ll be back in the Event viewer page – there should be two listings under the System box (although it will likely say there are thousands – there should actually just be two visible). Double click them to open them up and find more information.

Here you will be able to see whether or not you have a problem with your RAM. If you do, then its best that you pull out all of your RAM sticks and then put one back in and repeat this process. Do this with each individual RAM stick to see which ones have a problem. Throw these ones away and replace them with new ones. Problem solved.

We’re aware that this is a very ‘techy’ process

Although this might look like a long and convoluted process, if you follow the instructions right as we say in this post, then you’ll easily be able to detect whether you have a RAM problem and, if so, where it’s coming from.

Don’t be put off by the fact that you have to jump into Windows’ soul and pull out the information you need with your bare hands. It’s actually not that complicated – good luck!

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