|The computer's operating system does not have to be working in order to test the hard drive and ram. |
You make on another computer, or obtain, a bootable floppy disk, or a bootable CD-R, with the ram or hard drive diagnostics on it, and boot the computer with it.
Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
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 it fails the ram test, if you have not installed ram that is not 100% compatible with using it in your computer, the ram may merely have a poor connection in it's slot(s).......
See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
For a laptop, or netbook, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.
For a brand name computer, see the Owner's or User's manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that - it may already be in your installed programs. If you can't get into Windows, it may be on a disk that came with the computer, or you can go online and look at it or download it - it's in the downloads for your specific model.
If the subject computer is an E-machines m6809, apparently it's a notebook computer that first came out in 2004.
In that case, it's unlikely you have a ram problem, unless you have installed ram that isn't 100% compatible with using it in the comuter, or the notebook has been dropped.
Laptop hard drives never have a warranty longer than 3 years, because they're likely to malfunction sooner than desktop hard drives, which can have a 5 year warranty. .
Have you replaced the original main battery since the notebook was new ?
If you haven't, or if you have but not for a long time, laptop batteries only work as they should for a year then they begin to rapidly deteriorate. You are likely to have problems with a 6 year old main battery, or even one older than two years.
Always plug in the AC adapter while doing anything important such as using a Recovery program built into the software on the hard drive or Recovery disk set or a regular Windows CD to reload the hard drive contents.
Are you having the problem you mention while using a CD ?
If so, which CD ?
If so, try cleaning the laser lens on the optical (CD or DVD) drive .
Eject the drive tray, and with no disk on it, clean off the obvious laser lens on the tray with a tissue or soft cloth.