Last night, I decided to clean the inside of my four years old computer. I used a brush, compressed air can, q-tips, rubbing alcohol, among other things to remove all the accumulated dust from different parts of the PC. In the process, I had to remove some components like the hard disk, RAM modules, cables etc., that were making it difficult to reach some of the corners that I wanted to clean. After a satisfied cleaning job, I put everything back as it was and tried to power it on. But the computer kept giving long beeps and failed to boot. After checking all the connections, I came to suspect that it has something to do with the RAM.
A quick search on Google verified my suspicions and I examined that some dust had settles on the copper contacts of the RAM module that was preventing the RAM from being detected. So I just cleaned the contacts of the RAM module and reseated it back into the motherboard socket and it started to work. Here is how you can clean the RAM module contacts safely and properly:
- Turn off the PC and detach the power cord from the computer.
- Open the PC cabinet, remove the RAM modules locks and gently remove the modules.
- Get rubbing alcohol that doctors & nurses use (isopropyl alcohol at least 70% solution, but the higher the better) and one cotton-swab. You can get both of these from any chemist or medical store.
- Dab the cotton-swab in the rubbing alcohol and then rub it over the copper contact points in the RAM module. This will clean all the dirt that could be accumulated on the copper points.
- Let the alcohol evaporate or use another cotton swab to wipe it off.
- Re-seat the RAM modules back into the motherboard and lock it in place. Firmly press it inside once more to make sure all the contacts are properly made.
- Attach the power cord back to your PC and try powering it on. This time your PC should boot quickly.
You can actually tell from the number of beeps that your PC is making and failing to boot to find out that it is your RAM module that is having problems. Computers having AWARD based BIOS produce repeated long beeps, Dell computers produce two beeps, Pheonix BIOS based cmputers four short beeps to indicate the RAM related problems. However, if even after cleaning the RAM module the PC has problems, then you should check the Power Supply Unit (PSU) or you may have to buy a new RAM module.