|We need the model of the brand name system, or the mboard model if this is a generic system. |
"...after trying to resolve a incompatible Memory message when booting."
What did you do about that ?
If you have any incompatible ram modules installed you must remove it / them. You do not get messages like that from mere poor ram connection in the ram slot problems.
Not all ram that you think should work will work properly in your mboard. You are supposed to look up which specific ram part numbers work in your model for sure by using the brand name system or mboard model to search with, on a major ram manufacturer's or ram distributor's web site that has something you can do that with, such as a Memory Configurator.
If you have brand name ram, it is usually easy to look up whether it's ID string (part number) is in a list of compatible modules found by using your mboard or brand name system model number.
If the ram is generic, that may be difficult or impossible.
See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
If your ram passes a ram test, it's working fine, even if you can't determine whether it's listed for your mboard or system model anywhere
If you do a ram test, do that AFTER having tried cleaning the contacts and making sure the ram is seated properly - otherwise any errors found may be FALSE.
If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.
NOTE: Sometimes incompatible modules (or matched pairs) won't work properly when more than one is installed, but will pass when by itself.
If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).
If the ram passes the long diagnostic tests, then test the hard drive(s).
Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.
If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.