Fred, Have you ever reviewed this Memtest86? If so, is it worthwhile? —Duane Howe
Yes, and yes, Duane. <g> In fact, in http://langa.com/newsletters/2004/2004-04-01.htm#3 we discussed MemTest86 ( http://www.google.com/search?q=memtest86 ) and a conceptually similar free tool from Microsoft ( http://langa.com/newsletters/2003/2003-08-21.htm#2 and http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp )
Physical memory (RAM) tends to be very reliable; and these days, it’s relatively inexpensive. But some years ago, RAM was in short supply and almost unbelievably expensive. As a cost-cutting measure, some RAM makers started offering RAM with no error-correcting circuitry built in. At the time, it was a controversial move.
Today, such RAM is common, and usually works fine. But when it doesn’t, there’s no built-in mechanism to catch and correct the errors, and you can end up with very strange, hard-to-diagnose effects in your PC.
Software-based RAM-testing tools can help by exercising every address in a RAM bank, making sure that what comes out is the same as what goes in; and helping you to identify any bad RAM modules. You usually can’t repair RAM; you can only replace it. But a RAM tester helps you replace only what’s truly broken.