Exploring Windows’ Administrative Tools: Part 3

Fred Langa

When the need arises to check system RAM, try the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool that comes with Vista and Windows 7 — and is a free download for XP.

This app thoroughly exercises your system’s random-access memory, uncovering problems that can cause crashes, hangs, and other errors.

Every version of Windows, from XP onward, has shipped with professional-quality, system-management utilities, either built in or offered as free add-ons. These apps let you adjust and control many essential operating-system functions and features. Other tools, such as Windows Memory Diagnostic, help diagnose and troubleshoot system problems.

Part 1 of this series, “Accessing and understanding Administrative Tools,” gives an overview of all these tools and explains how to make them easily available from your Start menu.

Part 2 shows how to use Windows’ Performance Monitor to analyze and understand, in real time, a PC’s status as different programs run — or fail to run!

In Part 3, I briefly describe how RAM works, how it can fail, and how to run the Windows Memory Diagnostic diagnostic app.

Understanding the three major components of RAM

All data currently in use by your PC — the code and data of running programs, transient user data, internal system variables, and more — is temporarily stored in a PC’s RAM system. (See Wikipedia’s RAM article for more info.)

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2012-08-16:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.