Every computer depends on sufficient random access memory, also known as RAM, to store information as it runs programs and processes. Without enough memory in your computer, it won't be able to function properly or respond to requests in a timely manner. If you aren't overly skilled with computers, you might be wondering if the issues you've been having with your computer are because of insufficient memory. Here's a look at some of the warning signs of insufficient memory or memory failure and what you can do about it.
Signs of Failing Memory
Almost every process that your computer completes depends on having enough RAM to respond and complete the processes. This means that if the computer's memory is failing or corrupt, it is likely to affect every operation. You'll see system errors, slow file responses and corrupted files as the computer's memory starts failing. As it progresses, you're probably going to start seeing system crashes occur more frequently. These may come with a blue screen listing a series of memory errors. If you don't deal with it, you may ultimately find that the computer won't boot at all.
Causes of Failing Memory
All of the memory modules inside your computer have tiny transistors attached to a circuit board. The board isn't indestructible – it can be damaged by everything from static electricity to power surges. In some cases, if you install the wrong memory module in your computer, it can damage the other modules. They're also vulnerable to damage if they aren't properly seated in place and they get jostled around inside the computer case.
Identification of Failing Memory
If you're seeing signs that some of your computer's RAM is failing, it's important to identify which one is to blame. Start by opening the computer case to examine the memory modules. Touch bare metal before touching anything inside the case, or wear an anti-static strap. The anti-static strap grounds to bare metal, helping to keep static at bay. If you don't have any other bare metal in the area, you can clip it to the bare metal section of your computer case. Most computer cases are made with some small bare metal sections that prove useful for this purpose.
Make sure that the memory modules are all seated correctly in their slots. If so, it's time to examine each one for any visible dust buildup, corrosion or damage. To identify specific modules as problematic, you'll have to start eliminating modules one at a time. Take one module out, close the case, then reboot the computer. If the problem persists, put that module back and pull out another one. Do this until you've checked each one. If you remove one module and the computer boots properly or the symptoms stop, you've found the one that's failing.
Repair of Failing Memory
Once you've identified the failing memory module, it's time to replace it. You may find it easiest to take the old memory module with you when you go to buy the new one. That way, you can be sure that you get the proper memory capacity, style and type for your computer. Look for the same kind as you had before so that you know that it will be compatible with the system.
When you install new memory, you need to be sure that you're handling it carefully. Static electricity discharge from your body can short out a memory module easily, so don't handle the module until you've discharged the static buildup from your body by touching bare metal and then prevented the buildup of additional static by donning a static strap.
A local computer repair shop can help you troubleshoot and repair memory problems, too. Visit a site like http://www.laptoprepairs.com to learn more about repair options and make sure to reach out to a professional if you aren't comfortable doing the work on your own.