RAM problem: crashes

December 6, 2006 at 10:36:40
Specs: XP Pro SP2, 2.8 / 512
I have been suffering from an increasing amount of PC crashes in the last few weeks, which XP, and so did I, first associated with an "winlogon.exe" problem, as you can see in this thread:

After error-reporting the last crash, Microsoft Online Crash Analysis declared the error an "problem in RAM".
First, the exact report:
"Error caused by problem in random access memory: run Windows tool

Thank you for submitting an error report.

Problem description

The error was caused by a problem in your computer's random access memory (RAM). Microsoft is unable to determine if this problem was caused by a hardware or software issue, although this type of problem is usually caused by hardware.


Microsoft recommends that you download and run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool on your computer to find out if this is a hardware or software problem. On most computers, you can download the diagnostic, read the documentation, run the test, and complete the test in less than 30 minutes.

Go to Windows Memory Diagnostic tool"

Second, what should I do?
i'm gonno run the Windows Memory Diagnostic as soon as i find the time (so probably tomorrow), but are there any other utils i should use? and how do i gain more information on my memory?

Thanks to all,

See More: RAM problem: crashes

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December 6, 2006 at 12:07:16
The ram diagnostic tool I use is Memtest86.
Google for it.
Two options. If you have a floppy drive download the .exe to your desktop. insert a formatted floppy and run the .exe
It will create a bootable floppy that contains the test program. Boot up your system using the floppy and the test begins automatically.
If you do not have a floppy, you can download an ISO image to create a bootable CD that will run the test the same way.
If you have more than 1 stick of ram, test them one at a time.

I used to have a signature but it disappeared and I just couldn't be bothered writing another so please feel free to ingore this.

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December 6, 2006 at 17:51:47
It seems you have 512.

Are they 2 sticks of 256?

My computer is a little devil.

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December 6, 2006 at 20:16:47
See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the modules, etc.

THEN test the ram.

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Related Solutions

December 9, 2006 at 01:53:56
Yes, i have 2 modules of 256 MB RAM.
And i think i rather not mass around with anything physically. Is cleaning them physically with alcohol is really necessary?
Especially all the warnings about frying my RAM slots is not to my liking...

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December 9, 2006 at 08:51:27
"Is cleaning them physically with alcohol is really necessary?"

If you want to probably cure your problem, yes. I have found it often cures problems like yours. If you do it properly, it cannot hurt.

If you were not having any problems with this same ram perviously, it is extremely unlikely there is anything wrong with the ram modules.

"...all the warnings about frying my RAM slots is not to my liking"

It's not rocket science. You just have to be careful.

"REMOVE the power to your case"

Either unplug the cord to the power supply on the case, or turn off the power on whatever that cord is plugged into - e.g. a multiple outlet power bar.

"Remove the ram..."

Push down on the latches at the ends of the ram slot a module is in, to put then in their down position. That unlocks slight projections on the the latches from engaging into notches on the ends of the modules, and often lifts the module slightly out of the slot. Pull straight up on the module

".... and clean it's contacts with isopropyl or methyl alcohol, or if you don't have either of those a solution made with a tiny drop of dish detergent in water will do. Wipe off the contacts with a tissue to make sure they are dry. Don't touch the contacts with your fingers after that. Check the ram slots for mung - blow out or brush out (e.g. with a tiny artist's paintbrish)any you mung you see. Insert the ram making sure it is the right way and fully seated, latch the latches.
The notches in the contact edge on the ram modules MUST line up with the bumps in the ram slots..."

If you make sure the notches line up with the bumps in the slot, you can't do the ram or the mboard any harm. When you are inserting the ram, the latches at the ends of the slots should be in their down position. When you press down on the center of the ram module, the latches will be forced into their up position, auto align the module so that it goes to the bottom of the ram slot and lines up with the ram slot contacts properly, and the latches will lock into notches on the ends of the modules.

If you follow the above properly, you don't have to worry above any of the rest.....

"- if you install the module backwards, the latches will be difficult or impossible to latch on one end or both ends, and if you try to boot the computer with the module backwards, the module that is backwards will FRY instantly, the ram slot it is in will FRY instantly and vaporize some of the contacts in the slot and that slot can never be used again, even if you clean up the melted plastic, carbon, and any bridged contacts in that slot."

There are often similar directions and diagrams or pictures about how to install or remove your ram in the manual for your mboard, or certainly in the FAQs on the web site of the mboard maker, or in the FAQs on the web site of a brand name system builder if that applies to you, or in the FAQs on the web site of major ram module manufacturers or distributors.

If you are still leery about doing it, have someone who is competant do it for you.
Your problem will not be solved if you do nothing, and it will likely get worse.

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December 11, 2006 at 22:52:14
OK. after a short research Isopropyl alcohol turned out to be much easier to get then methanol, so i'm gonno use it.
Should is use it as bought from a farmecy, or should i delute it some more (with Distilled water, i'm guessing)?

And ofcourse, thanks again fro having the patience to taking me throu this, althou i was quite nagging.

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December 12, 2006 at 07:27:31
Isopropyl alcohol is usually available as 60% or so a lot more cheaply than as 99%, the remainder being water. It's also known as rubbing alcohol and can be used along with rubbiing or massage to relax aching muscles, etc. Use either straight out of the bottle on a tissue or cloth - it will dry quite fast in either case. It also works well used to clean up mung on components on your mboard, or to clean up dirty case, power supply, and cpu fans, and the interior of mice that have a ball. Try not to get it on the chips though - I have found it can have a bizzare but harmless and temporary effect on electronic chips (for about 4 hours, max) - not so much ram chips, but certainly for other ones on the mboard or on cards or on other electronic devices. E.g. if you use it to clean up the interior components of a touchpad mouse, or possibly if you just clean the surface of a touchpad mouse or a touchpad on a laptop, the cursor may not behave normally for a few hours.

Methyl alcohol is commonly available pure in paint departments in stores, is a major component of gas line antifreeze found at gas stations or where motor oil is sold, and is about half the content of windshield washer antifreeze, the rest being water.
It has no effect on electronic chips I know of.
It works just as well on the ram contacts, but isopropyl will clean up more things related to electronic circuits more easily.

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December 29, 2006 at 03:49:35
OK. First of all - Thanks.
Secound, i cleaned the RAM contacts as orderd, with alcohol.
Then I ran memtest86 from a cd, and i got 5 clean passes with zero errors, then got tired of it and finished the test.
From some web-reading I gatherd that you can't really be sure your RAM is error-free even after a thousand runs, but than even a few runs can give you quite a good indication on the situation of your RAM.

More advice will be welcomed, and for the meanwhile i'm going down the virus path, and running AVG on safemode as suggested here: http://computing.net/security/wwwbo...

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December 29, 2006 at 08:08:33
"...I ran memtest86 from a cd, and i got 5 clean passes with zero errors..."

It's fine then. Even a couple of passes is enough.

Crashes can be caused by all sorts of things, but you shouldn't get any about the ram itself from now on. If you do, go into your bios Setup settings and make sure the settings for the ram are correct - e.g. set the ram detection to by SPD, and make sure the CL rating is not set to a smaller number than the slowest of the ram module ratings - e.g. if the slowest is CL3, the setting must be CL3.

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January 1, 2007 at 10:10:50
richard and Tubesandwires.
Thanks alot for all your help.
As far a I can tell, there was'nt a single crash since the cleaning and the scan.
So thanks for all the carefull and patient explanations. I know that if I'll ever need computer-related help again, I'll come here.

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January 1, 2007 at 10:28:52
Thanks for finishing up the thread.
We're glad we were of help.

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