How to use the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool to check for memory issues

Random reboots and freezes, apps crashing, and even a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) could be signs of a memory issue. Before you start replacing your memory or computer, use the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostic Tool to determine if memory is really the problem. Although Windows may sometimes suggest using the tool after a problem occurs, you can also use the troubleshooter manually to diagnose problems.

How the diagnostic tool works

Many Windows 10 troubleshooting tools run quickly when you use your computer. However, this tool requires you to restart and then run during the boot process. By default, it runs in standard mode and performs two test passes. After that, your computer will restart and provide you with the test results.

You can also run more advanced tests if you want. These allow you to customize the tests. Choose to run a basic or extended test versus the standard test. Select your cache options and the number of passes (up to 15) you want to run. The more passes you select, the longer the test takes.

Tool configuration

You should schedule the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostic Tool to run on your next restart. Go to the start menu and type memory. Select “Windows Memory Diagnostic”. If you have problems running the tool, repeat this process, but select “Run as administrator”.

How to use the Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool startup app

Then choose to run the tool immediately, which will restart your computer, or wait for your computer to restart yourself. If you have unsaved files, choose the second option. Make sure to back up whatever you’re working on and close any open apps before restarting. If you have nothing else open, choose the first option.

How to use the Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool scheduleHow to use the Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool schedule

Running memory tests

If you restart, the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostic Tool starts. Do not turn off your computer during this process. The computer will restart normally after the test is complete.

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By default, the tools jump straight into standard mode, which is sufficient for most problems. The successful test only takes about ten minutes.

How to use the Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool standardHow to use the Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool standard

If you still have issues and suspect a memory issue, run the tool again but press F1 on your keyboard as soon as your computer starts up. This brings you to the advanced options.

How to use the advanced Windows 10 memory diagnostic toolHow to use the advanced Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool

An extended test takes longer and goes more in depth. If you need a faster and easier test, go with Basic.

Review your results

The Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool provides you with your results after the restart is complete. You will see the results on your desktop. If nothing appears, view the results in Event Viewer.

Open the Start menu and type event or event viewer. Select “Run as administrator” under Event Viewer.

How to use the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostic Tool Event ViewerHow to use the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostic Tool Event Viewer

Expand “Windows Logs” and right click on System. Select Search.

How to use the Windows 10 Search memory diagnostic toolHow to use the Windows 10 Search memory diagnostic tool

Type or copy / paste the following into the search box – MemoryDiagnostics-Results and click Search. The most recent result should now be highlighted and the results displayed in the lower pane of the Event Viewer window.

How to use Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool resultsHow to use Windows 10 memory diagnostic tool results

Next steps

If your results show that there are no errors, it probably isn’t a memory issue. However, if there is an error, you can look up the error description and details to determine if replacing the memory will resolve the issue.

Depending on the type of computer you have, you can replace the memory chips yourself or have your computer repaired. You can also take this opportunity to get the new model with all the bells and whistles you’ve been eyeing.

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If instead of memory issues you are having problem with hard drive, here are some ways to check your hard drive status in Windows 10.

Image Credit: BSoD silicon

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Crowder crystal
Crowder crystal

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as a computer technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most out of their devices, systems and applications. She stays abreast of the latest trends and always finds solutions to common technological problems.

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