How to Use Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool - dummies

How to Use Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

By Dan Gookin

Windows 7 and Windows Vista come with a Memory Diagnostic tool, and it’s one of those memory-testing diagnostics, not just a diagnostic that says “You have this much memory.” Here’s how to use the Memory Diagnostic tool:

  1. Save everything.

    Your computer is restarted by the memory diagnostic procedure, so save your stuff, close windows, and get ready for a restart.

  2. Open the Control Panel.

  3. Open the Administrative Tools window.

    • In Windows 7, choose System and Security and then choose Administrative Tools.

    • In Windows Vista, choose System and Maintenance and then choose Administrative Tools.

  4. Open the Memory Diagnostic Tool icon.

    In Windows Vista, you will also need to click the Continue button or type the administrator’s password to continue.

  5. In the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool window, choose the option Restart Now and Check for Problems.

    Wait until the computer restarts. When it does, the Memory Diagnostic Tool screen appears almost immediately. Wait while memory is checked thoroughly. Don’t get bored; the display entertains you.

    When the test is over, the PC restarts again.

  6. Log in to Windows as you normally do.

    The test results are displayed from a pop-up bubble in the notification area.

Because the Memory Diagnostic Tool is a serious diagnostic, don’t use it unless you suspect your PC of falling victim to memory issues, such as random errors, system crashes, and other abnormal behavior.

Windows cannot properly detect memory malfunctions on its own because Windows itself must dwell in the same foul RAM that’s causing the problem. But the Memory Diagnostic tool can get to the bottom of the situation as it starts up as its own operating system.

If problems are detected, the only true solution is to find and replace the bad memory. It can be a pain in the butt, unless you just want to replace all the memory in your PC. And, as long as you’re going to do that, you might as well buy your computer even more memory than it had.