The memory diagnostic tool of Windows Vista is used to test the physical memory of your computer. When the computer suddenly acts up, like self rebooting, crashing programs and freezing, then there is a problem with the memory. This utility program will diagnose your computer’s memory as to the cause of the problem and list the errors it finds.
To start using this tool, click on Start
, then Search
, and then enter memory
. Click on the icon for Memory Diagnostic Tool
If it doesn’t appear, you can access it in the Vista DVD
, within the Windows Recovery Environment
. Place the DVD into the drive and turn on the computer. When the BIOS
listings appear and the boot prompt, press any key on the keyboard. If it won’t reboot, press the F8 key
until the Windows Start up menu
Select the Windows Recovery Environment
then press enter. Windows will begin loading files until a Windows Vista screen pops up and asks for your language, time and location. Input the required data then click on Next. The main Windows Vista setup screen appears where you normally install Vista to your computer. Then, click on the option to Repair
your computer. Another screen will appear wherein the repair process will check all installations of Windows Vista on the computer. A System Recovery Options
box will appear when done.
Choose the installation that you need to repair including the drivers needed to access the drives or components. If the need arises, then click on Load drivers. After selection, click on the Next button to proceed to the repair process. If no problem was detected, then recovery tools available will be displayed.
If there was a problem found, it will initiate a Startup Repair to fix the problem. If it doesn’t help, then view the advanced options
for system recovery and support for the list of recovery tools, which includes the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool
to check the computer for memory hardware errors. Click on this tool and a pop up window will prompt you to restart now and check for problems or to do it later. Select
to check later if you want to test the other recovery tools. If not, then proceed to restart the computer and checking for problems, which is highly recommended when problems are detected.
Another way, which is also the fastest way to access the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool is through the Windows Boot manager upon reboot of the computer. Remove all CDs and DVDs before restarting the computer. When the BIOS information is shown, then a blank screen appears, hit the spacebar key. The Windows Boot Manager
will then appear. Use the TAB button to navigate to Windows Memory Diagnostics
, and then enter to start.
Running this tool will take several minutes to hours, depending on the amount of memory your computer has. Messages on the screen will tell you the status of the test, if there are problems detected and such. To make changes to the tests while being run, press F1 key
. A new screen will appear where you can change the options on how the tool will work: either Basic, Standard or Extended. Use the TAB and arrow key to navigate through the box and select your options. When you are done making changes, hit the F10 key
to save your preferences. To have a more extensive test done, select the Extended type of test which is usually run overnight to be able to view the results.
There are two other options available in the tool: Cache
and Pass Count
. The Cache
lets you choose if you want the test to use the CPUs built in cache or not. Running the test with the Cache disabled will slow down the test, but usually is more thorough. For the Basic and Standard tests, the cache is enabled while with the Extended, it is disabled. Pass Count lets you indicate the number of times the tool will perform the test. The default number is two, or twice.
Errors found during the tests will be displayed in the main diagnostic screen. If on the first test, there are no errors found, then your memory is working properly. You may try to use the Extended test to exhaust all signs of errors. When the tests are complete, the Windows Diagnostic tool
will automatically reboot the computer.
The results will be displayed the next day, after opening the computer. If no errors were seen, then fine and good. If errors were present, the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tools
will try to find out what particular memory module is causing the errors. If bad memory is found, then you need to remove that memory and get a replacement.