RAM Slot Not Working? [How to Fix It]

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Random Access Memory is a type of temporary storage that a computer system uses to store data instead of relying on the cache on a CPU chip or the hard drive. Since there are no moving parts, memory problems are fewer and far between than other laptop problems. Due to this, however, memory issues often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Most laptop motherboards have two RAM slots. If one of them fails, the operating system won’t recognize the RAM stick installed. You’ll need to test the RAM slots, which requires a working stick of RAM and patience as you check each memory slot through trial and error.

Can RAM Slots Go Bad?

Absolutely. A RAM slot on the motherboard is where a stick of RAM goes. The RAM slot like everything else on a motherboard can eventually become faulty.

When way to know that it’s gone bad is that your laptop will run “agonizingly” slow. This is due to the fact that since RAM is a temporary place for the laptop to store data, many process go through it in order to work – even the performance of the CPU is affected by the health of RAM.

The System Information might show that there’s less RAM than what’s installed in your system. For instance, Bank 1 slot might show empty when you know there’s a stick of RAM in it.

Check Installed RAM for Possible Errors

Before opening the laptop to get to the RAM modules. First use Windows’ built-in RAM diagnostic tool to check the RAM modules.

In the Start menu, type “mdsched.exe” without the quotation marks and press Enter. Then select whether you want to restart and check the memory now, or next time you bootup the laptop.

If the test returns no errors, you can now rule out the RAM sticks as the problem.

Inspect Individual RAM Slots

Check the motherboard’s memory slots by placing a working stick of RAM into each one, one at a time. With a working RAM module in one memory slot, turn on your machine and see if its able to boot properly.  

If it boots without any issues, then you know that memory slot is good. Now power down your system and place the same stick of RAM in the next memory slot and repeat the process.

Now do the exact same thing with the second stick of RAM, booting up your laptop to see that everything is working normally. And powering it down before changing memory slots.

Doing this will verify which slot is causing the issue.

Can RAM Slots Be Replaced

Once you’ve isolated the memory slot as the culprit. You can replace it. But it’s an involved process that’s better left to a professional with soldering experience. And it can affect other parts of the computer system if not done properly.

Considering the cost both financially and what it will mean for the life and functionality of your laptop. Buying a whole new motherboard is in all likelihood a much better decision.

Other Possibilities

While RAM problems often go undiagnosed. They can also be misdiagnosed. The reason for the memory issue your experiencing may have nothing to do with the RAM module or RAM slot.

  • MHD (mechanical hard drive) problems can look like RAM issues since they both have to do with storage. You can use a utility called CHKDSK to eliminate the storage drive as the problem – Press the Windows button and “R” at the same time. Then type CHKDSK into the dialogue box, and press Enter. This process will take some time. And you may need to restart your laptop.
  • If you only notice RAM issues when using programs that are graphics heavy, like games or modeling and rendering. Your graphics drive may just need updating.
  • Excessive heat robs any computer system of performance. There are lots of ways to keep your laptop cool for optimal performance, even purchasing a laptop cooler will go a long way to help things run smoothly.
  • Dirt and dust clogging up the air vents can act like issues with memory, especially if you have pets. Simply keeping these airways clean can help improve performance.
  • Viruses have been known to look like issues with RAM. Viruses are easy to misdiagnose as hardware issues. Make sure your virus protection is up to date. And run scans regularly.

In Closing

Again, memory modules rarely fail. Often, they’ll outlive the laptop itself. And since RAM doesn’t fail that often (if at all) issues can either go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Some things that can lead to the malfunction of a RAM module are power fluctuations. Abrupt power termination, like cutting power to your laptop while its on. And sometimes sticks of RAM just get old and need to be replaced. Fortunately, there is a way to check to see if memory is faulty. However, it will take quite a bit of patience depending on how many sticks of RAM are in your laptop. And checking them will require some know-how.