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Windows 7: Dell Optiplex- bad RAM stick or just dirt?

23 Dec 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Dell Optiplex- bad RAM stick or just dirt?

File this in "I don't need this crap right now".

I have a Dell Optiplex 745 running XP which is used mostly for older games(of which I have a couple that seem to dislike 7, especially Shadow Man which has odd physics bugs) as well as a Youtube video watching- it's sort of a media device so I don't tie up my 7 PC.

So then, used it earlier today, no issues, shut off, decided to pop the case open to brush a bit of dust out, which I've done plenty of times. A bit ago I turn it on, no picture, some beeps, well crap. I eventually determine what these mean, it's beep codes, 1-3-2, which seems to be memory- in this case the first 64K isn't read. Either a mobo issue, I knocked something loose while dusting, or bad RAM. Checked all cables, nothing. Removed DVD drive, nothing. Finally pop out both RAM sticks(two 1 GB sticks), dust them off, dust the slots, switch them around, install the first stick(was second prior), PC boots fine. Shut off, insert second stick, restart, PC detects change in RAM, starts.

So could this be a case of one of the sticks dying, or was it a simpler issue? I could've got some dust into a slot somehow while brushing, even a flake that got in the way- RAM sticks are a lot like old game cartridges, and we all remember how the slightest it of dirt made the NES blink. Or maybe somehow jarred a stick loose just slightly, though I'm not sure how.

Any programs I can use to test the RAM? Shy of just buying new sticks, I guess- though 2 GB might be pushing it for adequate and 3-4 wouldn't really hurt, but right now if I don't have to spend extra money I'd rather not as I already spent almost $80 this past week on PC parts alone and believe it or not I am on a budget.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2014   #2

windows 7 home 64bit

Read the Tutorial below ...

RAM - Test with Memtest86+
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2014   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

Metal parts can form a layer of oxidized material over time. Corrosion by any other name.
When you were cleaning inside the case you may have simply bumped a stick and this is all that is needed to create a condition of poor contact on one or more pins. Re-seating the RAM sticks is a common cure.

Sometimes the corrosion can be so thick you can see it. You can use a pencil eraser to clean and shine up the pins.

Another danger is static electricity. If you are not careful to be sure that you are not charged with static, or that your cleaning method might create static (like using a brush), you can damage parts.
That is why it is recommended to clean the insides of PCs with compressed air. If you need to use a brush do it sparingly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Dec 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

That first RAM stick had a lot of dust along the bottom edge above the pins when I pulled it out, so more than likely it was a fragment that interfered.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2014   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17, Windows 10 Pro TP

Have to agree, not good to rub anything on electronics parts, even brushes can cause problems. There is canned compressed air made for the purpose, available at Wal*Mart and most office products stores. I also use an oil-less compressor for the worst situations. Cleaning the contacts on RAM modules can be beneficial but blow off the residue and blow out the slots.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2014   #6
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Open the Start Menu and type in mdsched.exe, then press Enter. Choose the first option. That will run for a while.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dell Optiplex- bad RAM stick or just dirt?

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