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Memory Error

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#1 Darren De Wilde

Darren De Wilde

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 10:56 AM

Dear All.

Many thanks in advance for your expertise and inputs.

Dell dimension 3000
512MB mem
Basic setup

Two nights ago I got home from work to find a blank / off screen. The computer was on as displayed by the power light on front. I checked for looose cables after realising that the keyboard was not showing activity (no led's on num lock or caps lock) and that there was no mouse life. I therefore restarted the system by hard booting.

The system powered up followed by a series of 6 morse-code like beeps from inside telling me that there was a problem..a serious one.

I repowered a few times trying to find the problem, fearing hard drive damage as there was no boot up sequence apparant. I then proceeded to call DELL and was advised there was a memory error given the diagnostic clues on the led's at the back.

I reseated the mem only to hear the same 6 beeps and the same response. I went out and bought a new stick of 512, installed it and all was well and normal.

Now you may be thinking "you solved the problem, how can we help?"

After solving the problem and being the type of sole who doesn't like leaving events without explanation, I pondered with my fiancee about how the memory decided to throw in the towel for no reason. The comp had been on when we left so this happened during the day. We did have a snow storm the sunday before which meant a couple of power cuts, inevitably making me cringe when the power was re supplied. I did have it plugged in to a surge protector albeit a cheap one.

I argued my side that the memory may have recieved too much juice during the re-supply of power, but my fiancee argued that it was because we left the computer on non-stop with a bunch of stuff open which may have over-worked the memory over a period of a year hence burning it out. It was kingston RAM so i was less inclined to go with that train of thought given that it was high qual memory.

is this error common with memory?

Can memory burn out over constant use by leaving a computer on day and night with windows open?
Could several power cuts and re-supplies have contributed to an "out-of-the-blue" memory failure. Our comp was acting a bit sluggish before the event despite temp file management and temp internet and history folder mgmt. Could one memory bank or two on the chip have failed before leading to an out-right failure?
Is memory usually exempt from limited hardware warranty?

When Win came back on there was a message that described:

Windows has recovered from a serious error
under details it offered several memory references which were obviously the root of the failure.
Thank you for your answers..I would like to be able to avoid this problem happening again but unless I know what contributed to the failure I cannot take any steps to prevent it again in the future. Your advice is much appreciated. We did have a heavy duty surge protector but it was on the floor and got water-logged during a 4inch basement flood last year...I havent had the stupidity to rely on it since.

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#2 RandomUser


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Posted 17 February 2006 - 12:05 AM


Well let me start off by saying that memory can go bad for a number of reasons, none of which you can pin point unless you bring the Tower and Bad memory into a computer engineers Shop. Memory can go bad b/c of other failling parts or simply from continuous errors in programs.

And guess what? You and Your fiancee are both potentially right about why it failed. It could have been either reason. I wouldn't try to lose much sleep over it. Besides, you fixed it.

#3 Herk


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Posted 17 February 2006 - 10:38 AM

. . . and bad memory can be the sign of a failing power supply. The power supply is the single item in the computer most prone to failure. Without a UPS attached to the computer, the power supply is also affected by brownouts as well as blackouts and surges. It is limited in its ability to handle dirty power. Cheap surge protectors usually have an MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) which takes a power hit once, then no longer functions to protect.

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