Random access memory is the essential backbone of the modern personal computer, yet many users ignore it as a potential source of problems. A bad stick of RAM can be the root cause of all kinds of annoying operating glitches ranging from random application lockups to intermittent blue screens of death to boot failure. There are dozens of RAM diagnostic tools available for checking the status of RAM in your PC, but if you are running Microsoft Windows Vista you already have a diagnostic tool built into the operating system.
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Running the Memory Diagnostic Tool opens a screen with two choices: Restart and run the test or run the test the next time you start your computer. The RAM testing will take place during the boot process before Windows Vista is loaded.
The option screen [F1] offers you three testing choices, each with a different set of RAM tests to be performed. This is the Standard RAM test, which includes LRAND, Stride6 (cache enabled), CHCKR3, WMATS , and WINVC.
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By Mark Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.