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8.3. WHEN THE PROBLEM OCCURS
When the problem occurs is a clue as to the cause.
For example, your response to a memory error message depends on whether:
- You have just bought a new computer.
- You have just installed new memory.
- You have just installed new software or a new operating system.
- You have just installed or removed hardware.
- Your computer has been running fine and you've made no other recent changes.
Here are rules to get started:
YOU'VE JUST BOUGHT A NEW COMPUTER
If you have just purchased a new computer and it is producing memory errors, the problem could be related to anything, including a bad computer board. In this case, you need to troubleshoot the entire computer, including memory. Because the computer dealer will have configured memory and run system tests before shipping, they can best help.
YOU'VE JUST INSTALLED NEW MEMORY
If you have just installed new memory, the first possibility is that you installed incorrect parts. Double-check the part numbers. Confirm that you have configured and installed the memory correctly.
YOU'VE INSTALLED NEW SOFTWARE OR OPERATING SYSTEM
Newer software or operating systems tend to push memory harder than older operating systems. Sometimes memory that worked fine prior to a software installation begins producing errors once it runs memory-intensive software. New software also has bugs, and beta versions are notorious for producing memory errors. In these cases, your first step should be to ensure you have the latest BIOS and service patches for your software. Otherwise contact the memory vendor. A technical support representative may have experience with other software incidents and can walk you through more-detailed troubleshooting.
YOU'VE INSTALLED OR REMOVED HARDWARE
If you have just installed or removed hardware and suddenly receive memory error messages, the first place to look is in the computer itself. A connection may have come loose during the installation or the new hardware may be defective; in either case the errors are manifesting themselves as memory problems. Make sure you have the latest drivers and firmware. Most hardware manufacturers will post updates on their Web sites.
If your system has been running fine, but suddenly starts to produce memory errors, and crash or lock up frequently, the chance of a hardware failure is more likely, since configuration and installation problems show up as soon as the computer turns on. Sometimes you can get memory problems if your computer is overheating, if you are having a problem with your power supply, or if corrosion has developed between the memory module and the socket, weakening the connection.