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Windows Memory Diagnostic tool: POS

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by Yousuf Khan, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. Yousuf Khan

    Yousuf Khan Flightless Bird

    Not really a problem, just a warning for people. Don't rely on the
    Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to debug memory problems -- it doesn't
    work. I'm not sure why Microsoft even includes such a useless POS at
    all, it's about as useful for memory diagnostics as the BIOS memory
    counter, but takes an hour to complete. The BIOS memory counter never
    catches anything, but at least it finishes in a few seconds. WMDT is
    neither fast nor thorough, i.e. worst of both worlds.

    I was diagnosing a problem a friend was having on his machine constantly
    hanging. Eventually we decided to run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool
    at the boot menu. It ran two full passes and found nothing wrong
    whatsoever. We thought then there was nothing wrong with the memory, but
    the problems still persisted. Then I brought my Ubuntu Linux installer
    CD's, and ran the memory diagnostics from that one, and within seconds
    it found faults in one of the memory modules. Needless to say Windows 7
    is running flawlessly now with the faulty module removed. Even if you
    never intend to use Linux, keep the Live Installer CD's downloaded just
    for the memory diagnostics.

    Yousuf Khan
     
  2. Paul

    Paul Flightless Bird

    Yousuf Khan wrote:
    > Not really a problem, just a warning for people. Don't rely on the
    > Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to debug memory problems -- it doesn't
    > work. I'm not sure why Microsoft even includes such a useless POS at
    > all, it's about as useful for memory diagnostics as the BIOS memory
    > counter, but takes an hour to complete. The BIOS memory counter never
    > catches anything, but at least it finishes in a few seconds. WMDT is
    > neither fast nor thorough, i.e. worst of both worlds.
    >
    > I was diagnosing a problem a friend was having on his machine constantly
    > hanging. Eventually we decided to run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool
    > at the boot menu. It ran two full passes and found nothing wrong
    > whatsoever. We thought then there was nothing wrong with the memory, but
    > the problems still persisted. Then I brought my Ubuntu Linux installer
    > CD's, and ran the memory diagnostics from that one, and within seconds
    > it found faults in one of the memory modules. Needless to say Windows 7
    > is running flawlessly now with the faulty module removed. Even if you
    > never intend to use Linux, keep the Live Installer CD's downloaded just
    > for the memory diagnostics.
    >
    > Yousuf Khan


    AFAIK the memory tester available at boot time, is memtest86+.

    While using the LiveCD is fine, it's a 700MB download.

    If you need to test memory, and are on dialup networking, you
    can go to the memtest86+ author's site and get just the memory tester.
    There are versions there for floppy, CD, or USB key. When installed
    on the floppy, you can't "dir" the floppy, as there is no file system
    present. Just a binary that boots immediately.

    http://www.memtest.org/

    Even memtest86+ isn't perfect, because it can't test the lower
    1MB of memory (reserved for 640K region). To test all the memory,
    there is a possible solution.

    1) Consider installing memory in single channel mode. On a Core i7,
    that means you can (and should) test two DIMMs at a time (on a
    six DIMM slot Core i7). On an older system with four DIMM slots, you
    put two DIMMs on the same channel.

    2) Test the memory installed in the single channel as A:B.
    Then swap the modules, and test as B:A in single channel.

    By doing that, the lower 1MB missed in the first test case (on the
    "A" DIMM), gets covered when you swap the modules (then the bottom
    of "A" gets tested.

    That should cover all of it.

    I had a memory problem, where I couldn't start memtest86+. I was
    running in dual channel mode (interleaved) and one stick had a dead
    chip on it. I could manage to get the memory test program to run,
    once I put the DIMMs in single channel mode. I put the bad DIMM into
    "high memory", and very politely, memtest86+ started scrolling errors
    on the screen at the 512MB mark. Swapping the modules around, resulted
    in memtest86+ not being able to start.

    The other funny thing was, even though a chip was dead on the DIMM,
    the BIOS memory test passed :) Those BIOS guys, are pure comedians.

    HTH,
    Paul
     
  3. philo

    philo Flightless Bird

    On 09/18/2010 01:01 AM, Yousuf Khan wrote:
    > Not really a problem, just a warning for people. Don't rely on the
    > Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to debug memory problems -- it doesn't
    > work. I'm not sure why Microsoft even includes such a useless POS at
    > all, it's about as useful for memory diagnostics as the BIOS memory
    > counter, but takes an hour to complete. The BIOS memory counter never
    > catches anything, but at least it finishes in a few seconds. WMDT is
    > neither fast nor thorough, i.e. worst of both worlds.
    >
    > I was diagnosing a problem a friend was having on his machine constantly
    > hanging. Eventually we decided to run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool
    > at the boot menu. It ran two full passes and found nothing wrong
    > whatsoever. We thought then there was nothing wrong with the memory, but
    > the problems still persisted. Then I brought my Ubuntu Linux installer
    > CD's, and ran the memory diagnostics from that one, and within seconds
    > it found faults in one of the memory modules. Needless to say Windows 7
    > is running flawlessly now with the faulty module removed. Even if you
    > never intend to use Linux, keep the Live Installer CD's downloaded just
    > for the memory diagnostics.
    >
    > Yousuf Khan




    I've used it and it worked fine for me
    but I usually use memtest 86

    at any rate, two full passes is not a sufficient test


    OTOH: Even using memtest overnight ...on rare occasions it passed RAM
    that was still bad.

    (When I replaced the RAM the problem went away)
     
  4. Yousuf Khan

    Yousuf Khan Flightless Bird

    On 9/18/2010 5:48 AM, philo wrote:
    > I've used it and it worked fine for me
    > but I usually use memtest 86
    >
    > at any rate, two full passes is not a sufficient test


    It should be more than enough, when Memtest86+ found the problem within
    seconds of startup, when it didn't even yet go through one full pass.

    Yousuf Khan
     
  5. philo

    philo Flightless Bird

    On 09/18/2010 05:26 AM, Yousuf Khan wrote:
    > On 9/18/2010 5:48 AM, philo wrote:
    >> I've used it and it worked fine for me
    >> but I usually use memtest 86
    >>
    >> at any rate, two full passes is not a sufficient test

    >
    > It should be more than enough, when Memtest86+ found the problem within
    > seconds of startup, when it didn't even yet go through one full pass.
    >
    > Yousuf Khan



    well

    that's why I use several utilities
     
  6. Stan Brown

    Stan Brown Flightless Bird

    On Sat, 18 Sep 2010 02:01:49 -0400, Yousuf Khan wrote:
    >
    > Not really a problem, just a warning for people. Don't rely on the
    > Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to debug memory problems -- it doesn't
    > work.


    One word: memtest.org

    Okay, more words: a free memory tester that really does work. You
    need to download the image on a known good computer and burn it to
    CD, then boot from the CD.

    When I had bad RAM on my personal laptop, it found it. The IT guy at
    work now uses it whenever he installs RAM, because it finds problems
    right away instead of letting a user run for a while (unknowingly)
    with bad RAM.

    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com
    Shikata ga nai...
     

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