MemTest86 is a powerful utility for testing the memory of any computer. If your computer is hanging up all of a sudden then it could be due to a problematic RAM module. You can use MemTest86 to check whether all the RAM modules of your system are working as expected. MemTest86 is available in two versions – free for personal use and a commercial version with some extra features.
Here is how an individual personal user can use MemTest86 to check memory modules for errors:
Note: Newer versions work only on a UEFI enabled computer. If you have an older computer or a computer with legacy mode enabled, then it won’t work.
- Download MemTest86 personal edition from https://www.memtest86.com/download.htm. Extract its contents to a folder.
- Attach a USB flash drive with capacity more than 512MB and launch imageUSB.exe.
- Carefully select the correct USB pendrive from the list and click on the Write button.
- When USB drive is ready, reboot Windows.
- Press F12 quickly to pull up the boot drive selection screen. Select USB flash drive from this list.
- MemTest86 will automatically start a test for checking your memory modules for problems. At the end of the test, it will display a result summary.
If you see any errors being displayed in the results, then do not instantly point your fingers at the RAM modules. Many things could be faulty in your system. Most often the problem lies with the faulty power supply that cannot supply all the watts needed for your system to work. After this check whether memory modules are properly seated in the slots. And in the end, it could be an aging motherboard with bad capacitors. If the same memory modules show the same errors when tested using MemTest86 on different systems, then they are clearly faulty and need to be replaced.