Ultimate Memory Guide. 8.4. HANDLING SPECIFIC PROBLEMS

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Here is a list of the most common ways the computer informs you of a memory problem.

  1. The computer won’t boot, merely beeps.

  2. The computer boots but the screen is blank.

  3. The computer boots but the screen is blank.

  4. The computer reports a memory error.
    1. Memory mismatch error
    2. Memory parity interrupt at xxxxx
    3. Memory address error at xxxxx
    4. Memory failure at xxxxx, read xxxxx, expecting xxxxx
    5. Memory verify error at xxxxx

  5. The computer has other problems caused by memory.
    1. The computer intermittently reports errors, crashes frequently, or spontaneously reboots.
    2. Registry Errors
    3. General-protection faults, page faults, and exception errors

  6. The server system manager reports a memory error.

The following translations help you understand what the computer means when it gives you one of these signals.

  1. Computer won’t boot, merely beeps.
    Every time the computer starts, it takes inventory of hardware. Inventory consists of the computer BIOS recognizing, acknowledging, and in some cases, assigning addresses to, the components in the computer. If the computer won’t boot, the CPU is unable to communicate with hardware. The cause can be improper installation or failure of the BIOS to recognize hardware. Follow basic troubleshooting, paying special attention to whether the memory module is completely installed and that you have the latest version of the BIOS.

  2. Computer boots but doesn’t recognize all the installed memory.When the computer boots, a part of the process is counting memory. On some machines the count appears on the screen and on others is masked. If the count is masked, from the computer set-up menu see how much memory the computer thinks it has. If the computer counts to or lists a number less than the memory you installed, the computer hasn’t recognized all the memory.

    Sometimes the computer will recognize only part of a module. This is almost always due to using the wrong kind of memory. For example, if your computer accepts only single-banked memory and you have installed dual-banked, the computer will read only half the memory on the module. Sometimes the computer will accept only modules containing memory chips with specific organizations. For example, the VX chipset doesn’t work well with 64 Mbit chips.

    In many computers the maximum amount of memory the computer can recognize is lower than the maximum amount you can physically install. For example, your computer may have three sockets, each of which can hold a 128MB module. If you filled every socket with 128MB, you would have 384MB of memory. However, your computer may recognize a maximum of 256MB. In most cases you can avoid this problem by consulting your computer manual or a memory configuration Web site before purchasing memory. Or visit the Kingston Web site.

  3. The computer boots but the screen is blank.The most common reason for a blank screen is a dislodged card, memory not fully seated, or memory the computer doesn’t support. Confirm that the memory is installed properly and that other components in the computer were not accidentally disconnected or dislodged while you installed memory.

    Double-check that you have the right part number for the computer. If you have nonparity memory in a computer that requires error-checking memory, or SDRAM memory in a computer that supports only EDO, the screen may be blank at boot up.

  4. The computer reports a memory error.
    Memory mismatch error: This is not actually an error. Some computers require you to tell them that it’s OK to have a new amount of memory. Use the set-up menu to tell the computer. Follow the prompts, enter the new amount, select Save, and exit.

    Computer memory or address errors: All of the following errors, and those similar to them, indicate that the computer has a problem with memory:

    • Memory parity interrupt at xxxxx
    • Memory address error at xxxxx
    • Memory failure at xxxxx, read xxxxx, expecting xxxxx
    • Memory verification error at xxxxx

    Typically the computer will perform a simple memory test as it boots. The computer will write information to memory and read it back. If the computer doesn’t get what it was expecting, then it will report an error and sometimes give the address where the error occurred.

    Such errors normally indicate a problem with a memory module but can sometimes indicate a defective motherboard or incompatibility between old and new memory. To verify that the new memory is causing the problem, remove the new memory and see whether the problem goes away. Then remove the old memory and install only the new memory. If the error persists, phone the memory manufacturer and ask for a replacement.

  5. The computer has other problems caused by memory.
    The Computer Intermittently Reports Errors, Crashes Frequently, or Spontaneously Reboots: Because of the large number of causes, these problems are difficult to diagnose. Possible causes are ESD (Electro-static Discharge), overheating, corrosion, or a faulty power supply. If you suspect ESD damage, contact the memory manufacturer and ask for a replacement. Before you install new memory, see page 85 for information on how to prevent ESD. If you suspect corrosion, clean the memory contacts and the sockets as explained on page 96. If you suspect the power supply, you will have to do overall computer troubleshooting with a focus on the power supply.

    Registry Errors: Windows writes a large portion of the registry to RAM. Sometimes defective memory will cause registry errors. Windows reports a registry error and prompts you to restart and restore. If the prompts repeat, remove your newly installed memory and restart the computer. If the errors disappear, ask the memory manufacturer for replacement modules.

    General-Protection Faults, Page Faults, and Exception Errors: The most common cause is software. For example, one application may not have released the memory after quitting or occupies the same memory addresses as another. In these cases, rebooting should solve the problem. If the computer suddenly displays general-protection faults, exception errors, or page faults after you have installed new memory, remove the new memory and see whether the errors stop. If they occur only when the new memory is installed, contact the memory manufacturer for assistance.

  6. The server system manager reports a memory error.Most servers ship with system managers that monitor component utilization and test for abnormalities. Some of these system managers count soft errors in memory. Soft errors have been corrected by ECC memory. If the rate of soft errors is higher than specifications, however, the system manager issues a pre-failure warning. This warning enables the network administrator to replace the memory and prevent system downtime.

    If the system manager on your server issues a pre-failure warning or other memory error, ask your memory manufacturer for a replacement. If the system manager continues to issue errors after memory replacement, make sure you have the latest BIOS, software service patches, and firmware. The chance of receiving two bad memory modules in a row is low. Contact the memory manufacturer for compatibility troubleshooting. Sometimes the server does not work well with certain types of memory chips or certain memory designs.

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