How to Use MS Memory Diagnostic – Guide & Tutorial

How Do I Setup MS Memory Diagnostic ?

First we will cover setting up the “MS Memory Diagnostic Disc”. The first thing you need to do is download a copy of the program from Microsoft.  In Internet Explorer for go to the “TOOLS” menu and select “Windows Update”. If you are not using Internet Explorer you can also search for “Windows Update” and it should be the first link returned in your search.

[You may have problems with the Windows Update site if you are not using Internet Explorer. Microsoft has made changes that can sometimes conflict with other browsers, so if you don't normally run IE you may need to in order to access this part of the site.]

Once you are on the Windows Update site you should see a search field in the top right hand corner of your screen. Type in “Memory Diagnostic” and click search. The first link in your search results should be “Microsoft Online Crash Analysis“. Click on this link and it will take you to the page you can download the software from. At the top of the page you will see three blue links and the middle one should be “Download Windows Memory Diagnostic”. Click on this link and save the “mtinst.exe” file to your desktop.

Once the file has finished downloading double click on the new “mtinst.exe” file that should have appeared on your desktop. It will bring up the license agreement which you will need to “accept” in order to use the software. Once you have done this it will open a small program window that will give you two options.

CREATE STARTUP DISC [How to Create a Bootable Floppy Disc]

SAVE CD IMAGE TO DISC [How to Create a Bootable CD-ROM Disc]

Once you have completed one of the previous sections and created a bootable floppy disc, or bootable CD-Rom disc you should be ready to start the diagnostic. Follow the above guides which pertain to the specific disc you made for how to boot from that type of media.

In a perfect world you should just be able to put either your CD or floppy disc in the system, and it should automatically boot into the diagnostic program.

Running a Diagnostic:

Once the diagnostic program has started you will notice 3 main sections to the program. The first section is a top window with progress bars. There is a number displayed in this section which says pass 1/6 and changes according to what cycle of the diagnostic the program is on. Once it has passed 6/6 the program has completed one full cycle of testing and this is considered a completed tested. You can let it run longer for a more thorough test but 1 cycle is usually enough to find serious faults in your memory.

The next section is in the middle which has a PASS field on the left hand side. This will show you what diagnostic it is currently performing on the memory. This is color coded which helps. You basically want only GREEN and BLUE text. This means your memory is testing fine, and the program has not found any problems. If you see any section in here turn up in RED it means the program has found a problem with your memory. If this occurs write down a note of what test it was performing when this happened. This can help you give tech departments more information when applying for a return authorization on your memory.

The last section is a results field at the bottom of the program. If the program completes one full cycle [or several if you are being very thorough] you should see a message that says “No errors have been found“. If you noticed any RED text come up in the program during the diagnostic, as mentioned above, you will see what looks like a memory dump at the bottom of the screen. This is similar to the error message that is displayed during a Blue Screen of Death in windows.

After the diagnostic is complete, either eject your disc and boot back into Windows. Or if you are testing multiple sticks of memory leave the disc in the system, and power down. Once you have powered down disconnect your AC cable and remove the first stick of memory you tested and add the next stick into the system that you want to test.

[You can test numerous sticks of memory at once if you like, but this is only helpful when determining that all your memory is working fine. If you are testing numerous sticks and the diagnostic does detect problems, you will need to remove all your memory and test the sticks one by one to determine which one/s is being affected by the problem.]

You now have most everything you need to know about setting up and testing your memory with diagnostic programs. This guide should help you get to the source of any intermittent problems related to your memory.

How to Use Memtest86 – Memtest 86 Tutorial & Guide

Setting Up Memtest86:

When you go to the Memtest86 homepage you will see a “download” link at the very top of their page. If you follow this link it will take you to a page with 4 main links at the top. 90% of our users are going to want to download the third link down the page [This is the link for the Windows version of the program] labeled:

Download – Memtest86 v3.2 ISO image (zip)

I recommend saving the file to your desktop so it is easy to find. Once you have the file you will need to extract if from the ZIP file. If you are running Windows XP you should just be able to double click on the ZIP file and the drag it to your desktop. Otherwise if you are running an older version of Windows you will need to download Winzip which can be found at the follow link:

You do not need to buy this program as the evaluation version they offer will do all the basic things you need it to, to extract this file. Once you have Winzip installed follow the above instructions and double click on the file, and then drag the file you see in the window to your desktop.

The file you should have extracted from the above examples is labeled:


[NOTE: Memtest86 only allows for creating a bootable diagnostic CD. If you do not have a CD Burner and are unable to create the diagnostic disc, you may want to refer to the guide on "Setting Up MS Memory Diagnostic" which will give you two options for creating a disc.]

Burning The Program to CD:

As you can see from looking at the file extension this is an ISO file indicated by the .ISO at the end of the filename. An ISO file, also known as an “Image” file is used to burn an exact copy of a file or program within certain CD burning software. One program that works great for burning these types of files is “Nero Burning Rom”. If you have this program you are good to go. If not you can download the program from the following location:

If you do not want to purchase this software, you can look for the “Free Trial” version on their site which will let you use the basic functions of the software needed to burn the ISO file. Once you have Nero downloaded and installed you open up your “memtest86-3.2.iso” file into Nero so that you can burn the diagnostic program to CD.

You need to open the file in Nero a certain way to make to make sure that it burns the ISO file correctly. To do this, right click on the file and it will bring up a menu of options. You want to select the “Open With” option from the menu. Once you have selected this it will open an “Open With” dialog that will display all the software that are currently installed on your system

If you have installed Nero correctly you should be able to scroll down the list and select Nero and then click “OK”. If you like you an leave the “Always use this program to open these files” option checked [or add a check if it is not] and in the future your computer will know to always open ISO image files in Nero so you can burn them.

Once you have selected OK Nero will open automatically and take you to the “Image Recording – Write a premastered image” window. You can leave the options that are set at their defaults and then click the “next” button in the lower right hand corner.

At this point Nero should begin the “Burning Process” which will show you a percentage bar of how much time is left on the program for burning your CD. Since this is such a small file, the burn process should only take about 1 minute and then it will pop up with a window that says

Burn process completed successfully at 40x (6,000 KB/s)

Or something similar to that, you are mainly checking to make sure it says it completed successfully. Click ok on the success window and then click the “next” button in the lower right corner one more time to finish your diagnostic disc.

At this point the program should automatically eject your disc from the system at which point you can close down Nero since we are done using it. I would recommend putting the disc back into the system and then checking through Windows Explorer to make sure you see data on the disc as another method to verify the disc was burned successfully.

Through Windows Explorer click on your CD-Rom drive. If the data has been burned correctly you should see a “BOOT” folder on your CD. If this is there the diagnostic program has been burned correctly.

Once you have verified that your disc is good to go, you can leave it in the drive and reboot the system to start the memory diagnostic. I will only be giving a brief rundown of the program and interface since Memtest86 offers a comprehensive guide to their program on the page you downloaded the file from. If you want more information than what is included here please refer back to that page.

Running the Diagnostic Program:

The basic diagnostic screen has five main sections of relevant information. Three at the top which are labeled, PASS %, TEST %, and TEST #. This will basically show you the total progress of the current test, the overall progress of the diagnostic test, and the test number is currently performing.

On the middle left hand side of the of the program interface there is a “Wall Time” section that will keep track of how long the diagnostic test has been running for. This just gives you an idea if you are not attending the testing process.

The main section to look for is the lower half of the screen which is usually blank. As long as the memory testing is going ok with no errors this section of the screen should remain blank. If the diagnostic program finds any serious faults in the memory you will see it display a memory dump of address’s in this section. This is similar to what is displayed on your screen when you encounter a blue screen of death.

You now have most everything you need to know about setting up and testing your memory with diagnostic programs. This guide should help you get to the source of any intermittent problems related to your memory.

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