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Missing Vista Memory Diagnostic Tool


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#1 jeffreywilens

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 12:48 AM

I am running Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit version on a new computer (30 days old). After experiencing several BSOD, I decided to run a memory diagnostic. However, every time I try to run Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool, it starts up to run it but then I get a screen saying it cannot be run because /boot/memtest.exe is missing or corrupted.

It was suggested by a helpful Microsoft tech from India that I should do a "in-place upgrade" however in following the instructions I got to the point where it asks whether I want to do a Upgrade Install and keep my files, programs, etc. or a Custom (advanced) Install but lose my files, programs, etc. The tech suggested I do the latter but I don't want to have to reinstall everything.

1. Any idea why my memtest.exe is not working?

2. What is the proper way to "rewrite" the OS (and presumably a function version of memtest.exe) onto my hard drive without losing all my data.

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#2 usasma

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 07:41 AM

The way to do this would be the In Place Upgrade.

Why memtest.exe isn't working - most likely because it's either not there, or the path to it is incorrect.

My suggestion tho', is to download a free, bootable memory testing utility and leave the system alone (if it's working properly otherwise). Here's a link to one that I use: http://www.memtest86.com/

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )
**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message.

 

My eye problems have lessened and I'm able to post/respond without too much difficulty. (05 Sep 2017)
FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.

If the eye problems come on suddenly, I may not be able to respond.
If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.


#3 jeffreywilens

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 02:09 AM

John,

An in-place upgrade was suggested by Microsoft tech support but the instructions they emailed to me were confusing. They suggested I select the option for "Custom (advanced) Installation" but as I read the description for that it, it looks liike this would wipe out my installed programs, files, etc. So do I want the "upgrade" option that keeps the files, etc?

Also, if I do the inplace upgrade, will this require me to run Windows Update and download all the patches and SP1 again?

I did download Windows XP old memory diagnostic tool but when I use it, I get a warning message that the memory map is detecting more than 4 GB of RAM (I only have 4GB and got this warning even with 3 GB installed as well). I'm not confident the old XP program is testing all my RAM. That's why I wanted to use the memory diagnostic on the Vista disk. Presumably it is a more recent version.

Does Memtest 86 work accurately and with and test all 4 GB of RAM?

#4 usasma

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 09:20 AM

Here's an article from Microsoft MVP John Barnett (who says that he's tried this method): http://vistasupport.mvps.org/repair_a_vist...e_vista_dvd.htm

It differs from your Microsoft instructions - but I suspect that the Microsoft instructions may have more stuff buried inside of them. Would it be possible for you to post the complete instructions from the email?

Memtest and other similar applications (like the Windows Memory Tester) basically search your motherboard for memory to test. In doing so, they've got to make some assumptions about how the memory behaves (and how the motherboard chipset supports it). Depending on this, the 4gB of addressable memory may not be able to be seen - so the only way to tell for your particular system is to try it.

As an option, I can send you a copy of the memtest.exe from my 64 bit system (it's only 384 kB in size) and you can put it in your Boot folder to see if it works for you. If you're interested, send me a PM with your email address and I'll send it off to you. DON'T POST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HERE!!!

Memory amounts of 4 gB and above are still a rarity in the computer world - so you're going to find spotty support for it everywhere. Let me know what you'd like to do.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )
**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message.

 

My eye problems have lessened and I'm able to post/respond without too much difficulty. (05 Sep 2017)
FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.

If the eye problems come on suddenly, I may not be able to respond.
If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.


#5 jeffreywilens

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 06:03 PM

John,

At the bottom of this post is the email from tech support on the doing the inplace upgrade. I question the wisdom because it looks like this approach would delete my installed programs.

I'll send you a PM with my email address although my email address is already posted on the Internet on my own website. I have SpamArrest and it blocks all incoming email unless a human being responds to the automatic response so look for that.



---------------------------------------
Email from Microsoft

Hi Jeff,

This is Praveen with Microsoft Windows Technical Support.

I am following up regarding your Windows service request 1059196147. Here is an outline of the steps that we agreed upon during our call:

Problem Description:
Blue screen error message

Troubleshooting :Performed:Tried mem diagnostic test

Try the following steps for doing a inplace upgrade
Action Plan:

Step 1: Start the current version of Windows

Start the version of Windows that you want to upgrade from.

Step 2: Insert the Windows Vista DVD into the DVD drive

Follow these steps: a. Insert the Windows Vista DVD into the DVD drive , and then close the drive tray.
b. Wait a moment for the Setup program to start automatically.
Step 3: Click "Install Now"

When the Setup program starts, the Install now screen appears. Click Install now.

If the Setup program does not start automatically, follow these steps: a. Click Start, click Run, type <removed tag>Drive<removed tag>:\setup.exe, and then click OK.

Note<removed tag> Drive<removed tag> is the drive letter of the computer's DVD drive.
b. Click Install now.
Step 4: Click the "Custom (advanced)" option to finish the installation

When the Which type of installation do you want? screen appears, click Custom (advanced). Then, follow the instructions to install Windows Vista.
My goal is to ensure that your experience with Microsoft Windows Technical Support leaves you pleased with our products and services.

If you have any feedback regarding Microsoft support, we would be glad to hear from you. If you would feel more comfortable speaking with someone else regarding my service, Santhosh my manager, would be very happy to hear your comments and suggestions. You may reach my manager by sending an email to : v-6sanpr@mssupport.microsoft.com

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Windows Technical Support.

Sincerely,

Praveen
v-6palar@mssupport.microsoft.com
5.30AM-2.30PM PST

#6 usasma

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 08:18 AM

I've sent the email (and a couple of PM's) and have verified it. Interestingly, gMail classified the verification as SPAM - so it's lucky that I was expecting it.

The email from Microsoft doesn't seem to tell much, and if you had done it to their instructions there's a good chance that you'd have wiped everything out!

What I was looking for was a note/instruction later on in the email that'd make reference to techniques that are similar to a repair installation of Win98 (overwriting the system files by installing Windows into the directory that it was originally installed into).

I'm going to have to experiment with this on my system to see what it does - I'll post back with the results as soon as I can find my Vista DVD.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )
**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message.

 

My eye problems have lessened and I'm able to post/respond without too much difficulty. (05 Sep 2017)
FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.

If the eye problems come on suddenly, I may not be able to respond.
If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.


#7 usasma

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 07:12 AM

Just a bump to get this thread back up to the top.

What is the make and model of the system that you're using? Was 64 bit Windows installed at the factory?

Since you're having difficulty with the file that I sent you...
Have you tried this in Safe Mode? Have you ensured that the folder's attributes aren't set to Read Only? Have you tried removing all of the folder's attributes, then copying the file, then restoring the attributes? I really can't think of any other way to get this file into that directory unless you'd like to experiment with Bart PE or the Ultimate Boot CD.

Are you experiencing any other problems with the system?
What was the Blue Screen error message that you received?
Have you checked in your Reliability Monitor and your Event Viewer for error messages related to this issue?

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )
**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message.

 

My eye problems have lessened and I'm able to post/respond without too much difficulty. (05 Sep 2017)
FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.

If the eye problems come on suddenly, I may not be able to respond.
If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.


#8 jeffreywilens

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 12:14 PM

1. I have a custom system and Vista 64 was installed by the system builder.

2. To summarize the problem, my Vista memtest.exe will not boot. I have tried to copy the version of memtest of my DVD or a new file sent to me, but I can't get past the "permission required" to change one of the files in the boot folder on the hard drive.

3. I have not tried starting in Safe mode, but don't see the relevance of that.

4. I am not sure what you mean by removing and restoring the folder's attributes.

5. Yes, I had some BSODs and they most likely are due to a fault memory module. That is why I want to use the Vista memory diagnostic tool which is more recent than the old Windows XP one I have been trying.

(By the way, with the Windows XP memory tool, after swapping in some new DIMMS I still detected one error but it was on the 6th pass of the extended test that ran about 6 hours, so I'm not sure how significant this is.)

But the main goal here is just to run the Vista Memory Diagnostic tool.

#9 Billy O'Neal

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 06:49 PM

5. Yes, I had some BSODs and they most likely are due to a fault memory module. That is why I want to use the Vista memory diagnostic tool which is more recent than the old Windows XP one I have been trying.

(By the way, with the Windows XP memory tool, after swapping in some new DIMMS I still detected one error but it was on the 6th pass of the extended test that ran about 6 hours, so I'm not sure how significant this is.)


Thats significant. Considering the amount of bad ram that can pass ram tests, if yours is flagged bad, get it replaced. Most ram comes with a lifetime warranty anyway. Check with your ram's manufacturer.

Also, Memtest86+ can work on x86-64 systems and test all the ram, but you have to compile the source yourself.... I don't know how to do that.


Billy3
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#10 usasma

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:40 AM

A memory error is. IMO, a significant problem. What happens if that particular error crops up just as you're balancing your checkbook? What's it gonna do to the the data?
OTOH - some people will contend that the error-correcting mechanisms built into the system will compensate for it and render it harmless.

Your data, your choice.

Still can't figure out the reason for the memtest.exe not working, despite experimenting with my system (everything works correctly there). I suspect a corruption of Windows somehow - but that's an awfully generic response for such a specific problem.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )
**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message.

 

My eye problems have lessened and I'm able to post/respond without too much difficulty. (05 Sep 2017)
FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.

If the eye problems come on suddenly, I may not be able to respond.
If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.


#11 Billy O'Neal

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:53 AM

Could you attach a copy of your System event log?

IT should be here by default:
%SystemRoot%\system32\winevt\Logs\System.evtx

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#12 jeffreywilens

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 02:39 PM

I tried to send my most recent event log, but even as a zipped file it is just under 1MB and over the 512K limit here. I will try to PM or email it to John. There is one application that fails a few times a week called TimeMatters. It is a project management program. It always has crashed for years even back in Windows XP for the many years I have used it. Its a SQL database so the crashes never or almost never result in loss of saved data, just any entries at the time of the crash if any. I just mention this because it is not the cause of the Vista problems.

Also, I have detected some memory problems using the old Windows XP memory diagnostic tool. I have also received and tried two replacement DIMMS from my computer seller. Two DIMMS test as bad for sure. I have 4 DIMMS in the machine now. Using these four DIMMs, I still did find one memory error after 6 passes of extended testing (taking several hours) but that could be an artifact. The 4GB currently use pass standard test. This is why I want to run a better memory diagnostic.tool.

I finally managed how to try out the memtest.exe file John sent me, but with disastrous results.

1. I took ownership of the boot folder but it still would not let me overwrite the memtest.exe in the boot folder with the file sent by John.

2. I then took ownership of the memtest.exe file in the boot folder itself and gave myself full control. Now it did let me overwrite the file.

3. I then rebooted and tried to use the memory diagnostic but I got the same error message that memtest.exe is missing or corrupted.

4. Even worse, Windows would not boot at all. It stalled in the boot screen (green bar stuck or going very slowly) for more than 10 minutes.

5. System restart did not work. System restore did NOT work for the most recent two restore points. Thankfully the third restore point did work and I was able to restart Windows. I put the "old" memtest.exe back in the boot folder.

6. Now, I am concerned about even trying to restart. So far, I have not had any BSODS while using Windows (although I got one last night when I was in the process of trying to restart Windows and before the successful system restore).

More questions arise:

1. Something is funky in my Vista installation but what?

2. Memtest.exe won't run even off the DVD. Maybe memtest.exe does not work at all in Vista 64.

3. SP1 is installed on my system since February 11th but the problems predated that date and my successful system restore was after that date. So I doubt SP1 is an issue.

4. I have spoken to 4 different Microsoft techs in the past couple of weeks. They are still "researching" my solution.

#13 usasma

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 08:12 PM

No significant errors in the System log file - but there's a bunch of network timeouts that may be affecting your connectivity.

It appears that there's something amiss with the installation. But, are you trying to run the memtest.exe from within Windows? The executable should load after a reboot and scan your memory outside of Windows: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vis...iagnostic-tool/

Since it runs outside of Windows, it's not a Vista issue. If it fails to run outside of Vista, then it's either a hardware problem with the system - or it's a problem with the memtest.exe file. Then I'd suggest using another memory tester (as mentioned above) to ensure that it's not a file problem.

If the problems occurred before SP1 was installed - then it's not an SP1 issue.

We had a similar, low-level problem at work today (not memtest tho') and a call to Microsoft referred us to Dell (the manufacturer). The Dell rep's solution was a format and reinstall (a bit drastic IMO, but it may become an option after messing with it for a while).

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )
**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message.

 

My eye problems have lessened and I'm able to post/respond without too much difficulty. (05 Sep 2017)
FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.

If the eye problems come on suddenly, I may not be able to respond.
If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.


#14 Billy O'Neal

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 09:33 PM

Reorder your ram in this order:
OLD: 1-2-3-4
NEW: 4-1-2-3

Then see if memtest from the installation dvd works.

Billy3
PS: The reason for this is that memtest requires a small amount of ram at the beginning of the set to store it's own executable code.
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#15 jeffreywilens

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:39 PM

1. Network timeouts meaning the Internet or meaning my LAN (peer to peer)?

2. I am not trying to run memtest.exe from inside Windows. I either

a. from inside Windows use the memory diagnostic tool and that reboots my computer and tries to run memtest, or

b. rebooting myself and starting via the Vista disk and using the tools on it to try to run memtest.exe

Result is the same either way.

3. I don't follow on re-ordering the RAM. I have 4 original DIMMS and got two more from the computer seller to investigate if I have defective RAM. I have swapped them in various combinations and tried memtest.exe periodically. Billy, are you suggesting that maybe DIMM in slot 0 is bad and therefore memtest can't load? Because what is now DIMM in slot 0 is not the same DIMM as on previous occasions when I tried to run memtest. Of course, I suppose there could be a problem with the slot itself or the memory controller (?) and not the DIMM.

4. What about the fact I can run (more or less) the old Windows XP memtest when booting from a floppy disk? Does that provide any clues?

5. On the system log errors, I noticed this message frequently: The following boot-start or system-start driver(s) failed to load:
i8042prt

What does it mean?

Edited by jeffreywilens, 29 February 2008 - 10:40 PM.





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