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Repairing and Upgrading Your PC by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Troubleshooting Memory Installation and Operation

As electronic devices with no moving parts, memory modules seldom malfunction—if they are installed properly. When problems do occur, they may be as obvious as a failed RAM check at boot or as subtle as a few corrupted bits in a datafile. The usual symptom of memory problems is that Windows displays the Blue Screen of Death. Sadly, there are so many other possible causes of a BSOD that it's of little use as a diagnostic aid.

As a first step in diagnosing memory problems, run Memtest86 (http://www.memtest86.com). Memtest86 is available as executables for DOS, Windows, and Linux, but the most useful form is the bootable ISO image, which can load even on a system with memory problems so severe that Windows or Linux cannot load and run. If you have a Knoppix disk handy, insert that, power up the system, type memtest at the boot prompt, and press Enter. However you get it running, ...

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