System Memory Problems?

Dell / DIMENSION 8400
Mike January 26, 2009 at 13:47:23
Specs: Windows XP, Pentium 4, 512
I recently got the blue screen of death on my computer, and after I shut it down I was unable to boot up XP again without getting the blue screen again. I tried to start in Safe Mode, but was unsuccessful.

I have my files backed up, so I tried a reinstall of Windows XP using my system disks, but about 2/3 of the way through the installation process started receiving messages of "unable to copy", and thus the installation failed.

I ran a diagnostic using the Dell diagnostic disk, and discovered that my system memory had a multitude of errors.

I'm not sure where to go from I need to replace my existing memory with new sticks? That's the only thing I can think of right now...

Thanks for any help.

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January 26, 2009 at 14:17:31

Your reply above is less than helpful.


Download and run memtest86 from a boot disk. No errors are acceptable. I don't know what type of memory check Dell includes but if it runs in Windows then it isn't any good.

You can also download a drive fitness utility from the manufacturer of your hard drive. You may need to open the case to find out the drive brand.

If the computer is still under warranty then deal with the issues through Dell.

Don't go replacing anything blindly.

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January 26, 2009 at 14:18:00
If you have more than one RAM stick, install one at a time and run the Dell test. Replace the one that fails.

If they both fail, it might be something else that is causing the problem.

FWIW to XP users: When you click on the 'Command Prompt' you are just causing the 'Command prompt' to be displayed. This prompt gives you access to NTVDM.EXE, the 'NT Virtual DOS Manager'.

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January 26, 2009 at 15:28:26
Sean, you also indicate that the OP may need to replace the hard drive. It is obvious the OP is inexperienced.

Advising replacing anything before thorough testing is not wise, IMO.

I don't use Dell computers but as I stated, if the memory testing is done while in Windows then the results could be suspect. RAM doesn't often go bad at any rate.

Aegis1 had a useful tip. If the RAM is bad, chances are it will be only one stick.

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