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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Win XP RAM Upgrade Problem (Win XP SR-1)

    I recently upgraded my HP computer from Win ME to Win XP. It didn't run very well with 128mb of RAM, so I bought two extra 256mb chip sets (I checked the HP web site in advance, and found out I needed P100 RAM, not P133, and took the specs to CompUSA with me -- the memory I bought is by PNY). There are two RAM slots on my motherboard. If I use EITHER 256mb chip set in the first slot, the computer boots fine. However, if I stick EITHER 256mb chip set in the second slot, so that I have 512mb of RAM, Win XP will not boot. It displays the desktop and icons, but then reboots itself continuously. I can sometimes get it to boot in safe mode, but then it still won't boot in normal mode. I tried an additional experiment of sticking the 128mb chip set in the second slot to see if it will boot, and it boots fine. Why in the world would XP not like the second 256mb chip set, especially when there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it cause it works in either slot? Could it be that there's something wrong with the motherboard that will allow the 128mb set to work in the second slot but not the 256mb set? Does the 128mb set use fewer of the connecting pins?? I wouldn't think it would, but who knows. The HP site says that my computer will support 512mb of RAM, and it runs through BIOS startup diagonistic just fine (although it reports it as 511 instead of 512 -- but it's 512 when XP boots in safe mode under My Computer). It's just so strange that it'll boot with the RAM to safe mode, but not to normal mode. Any ideas?? Thanks!! -Rich.

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Win XP RAM Upgrade Problem (Win XP SR-1)

    If you've tried both sticks of memory in the first slot and they work, it's almost certainly a problem with the mainboard. I had an Asus board do that to me slowly, I would get blue screens and other inexplicable errors, until finally I had much the same problem - I couldn't even boot. In troubleshooting, I had returned a brand new stick of RAM to Crucial (who accepted the exchange without question) and the same thing persisted. As it turned out, it was a faulty RAM socket on the motherboard, and nothing more.

    First, try the simple: get a can of compressed air, and blast any dust out of the RAM socket to make sure the connections are good. Make sure that all components on the board are firmly seated, and that the connectors on the RAM sockets snap into place fully. Whatever you do - don't force anything, firm pressure should be all you need.

    Next, I would go into the BIOS and turn OFF the "quick system test" or whatever it might be called, and see if the self-test detects any problems. This applies any time you add hardware, really - let the system do a more thorough test of the components. It may uncover some interesting information. If you're booting into safe mode, there should also be a boot log file created - NTBTLOG.TXT in the C:WINDOWS directory (or wherever Windows is installed). If you can boot to a command line successfully, or use the recovery console, this log file may also be of help in determining what is going on.

    As far as why XP chokes on the added RAM, it's likely because it's very picky about the hardware you run and doesn't tolerate errors very well. Where Windows 9x might just burp and go on, Windows XP and all of its NT based brethren will sooner shut down the OS to prevent data corruption than allow it to continue - and that's a Good Thing. Regardless of how many MB are on a stick of memory, the pins are utilized in the exact same way - so you can discount that theory.

    Although replacing a motherboard sounds horrible, in the scheme of PCs these days it's not all that expensive should it be necessary, and you should be able to keep all of your components that you have - just watch out for the meory sockets on any replacement boards, because DDR RAM is very popular right now, and if you get a DDR based board, your PC 100 memory will not work in it.

    Good luck - and don't be shy abuot posting back, there are a lot of good minds in the Lounge!
    -Mark

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Win XP RAM Upgrade Problem (Win XP SR-1)

    And, if it does turn out as Mark intimates, that it may be the mobo, you could exist for awhile with 384 meg. I would think that XP would perform MUCH better with 384 than 128 and that would give you time to evaluate what you really want to do about it. Is the machine still under warranty? (Rhetorical question) 'Cause if HP doesn't stipulate a SPECIFIC brand of RAM, you may be able to get THEM to replace the mobo!

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Win XP RAM Upgrade Problem (Win XP SR-1)

    If XP can't live on 284MB, then I have a bone to pick with the developers. I ran it confortably in 256MB, and the only time that it wanted to balk was during heavy Photoshopping exercises. I was careful not to push too much with things like CD burning as well, because at idle XP takes roughly 120MB depending on what services are running - launch one app and you're swapping to disk. <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Re: Win XP RAM Upgrade Problem (Win XP SR-1)

    Thanks for the ideas. I blew out the RAM slot with air. I can't even get it to boot into Safe Mode with 512 installed. I've gone back to the 384. After rebate the RAM cost me $30, so I'm now thinking that I'm spending way too much time messing with this than it's worth. It didn't run really at all on 128, but it runs fine with 384. I'd prefer 512, but I'm at a loss as to how to get it to run. I suppose I could take the PC somewhere and have it tested, but then I'm just spending more. I checked the log file you redommended. There are a lot of lines where drivers didn't load; multiple repeats of the same thing. I didn't know what was good and what was bad. Someone else ask if it's still under warranty, and it's not. It's about two years old, I think (might even be three, but I don't think so). Anyway, thanks to everyone who responded. -Rich.

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