Article Number: 000126066
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This article provides information about memory issues in Dell laptops and how to troubleshoot and resolve memory issues. Memory troubleshooting typically breaks down into three sections.
The common types of memory issues you may see are.
(Fig.1.1 Status LEDs)
(Fig.1.2 Status LEDs)
(Fig.2 Blue Screen NMI parity error)
Fig.3.1 Application error)
(Fig.3.2 Internal error)
(Fig.3.3 Applet error)
Most of this troubleshooting is done as part of a specific troubleshooting guide for a particular fault. This article is a General Overview that can go into a bit more detail than you would normally see.
This article takes you through the diagnostics LEDs and codes for the various models.
The first thing to do is to check if the Pre-Boot System Assessment (PSA) Diagnostics can run.
With the computer powered off, hold down the Fn key and the power button simultaneously. Alternatively, tap rapidly at the F12 key as the computer boots and select Diagnostics from the memory that appears. A Diagnostic Boot Selected message should appear in the top right-hand side corner of the screen.
To run a specific test, perform the following steps.
The computer runs through about 15-20 minutes worth of hardware self-checks. When these complete it asks if you want to run the further memory tests which can take another 30 minutes+. If the PSAs pass, then run the further memory tests.
If all tests pass, then you want to go to the software troubleshooting.
If they fail, then take a note of the error code and go to the next step.
If you have an error code, then you want to check the guide below. It tells you if you can run the newer advanced diagnostics on your computer. These diagnostics identify the fault to a memory DIMM or slot on your computer.
If the diagnostics are possible and you have updated to them on your computer. Contact your support with the results of the diagnostics to take this further.
If the diagnostics are not possible for your computer or you are unable to update to them. You want to go to the hardware troubleshooting.
The concept behind hardware troubleshooting memory is simple. It comes down to part substitution and access to known good working parts.
All laptops with removable memory have access to the memory through the base of the unit. Either the bottom panel comes off or there is a removable hatch cover. You can find the specific method for your computer in the Service Manuals and User Guides for your Dell System.
If you are experiencing a No Post situation, the first step is to remove the memory altogether from the computer. Does the fault change?
If yes then go to Step 2.
If it does not, then you want to follow the No Post Guide below.
Yes, then swap the known good memory with the memory from this unit and see where the fault goes. Contact your support and take this further with them.
No, go to the next step.
Most laptops currently ship with one or two memory modules. Most typically it is two because most memory is designed to work better in matched pairs. Regardless of how many modules you have, the next step is the same. Take one DIMM and test it in either memory socket. Note the results and do the same thing with the second DIMM if you have one. Does the issue change depending on which DIMM or which socket is in use?
Yes. If the fault follows a DIMM or stays with a particular slot on the motherboard, then you have identified the fault. The good news is you can run the machine with reduced memory until you have got in touch with your support to report the fault.
No. Is the fault the same, regardless of which DIMM or which slot the memory is fitted to? Then either the fault is not with the memory or both the memory and the slots are faulty. This is why we suggest carrying out step 2. I would recommend contacting support to take this further.
Software troubleshooting steps for memory issues are brief and mostly deal with virtual memory instead of physical memory.
You can run further memory diagnostics in windows. There are several well-known tests to pick from such as Memtest. However, we would most likely go on the results that are already run in the PSA diagnostics. Especially as the PSAs incorporate the Memtest diagnostics in its tests. If you get an error from third-party diagnostics, we would need to check they are compatible. We would also need the key to the third-party error codes. You would be better to skip this and move to the next step.
To rule out a virtual memory fault, I'd recommend checking a couple of quick things on your personal computer. The first is to confirm that windows is handling your virtual memory? Go to control panel and performance in the hardware window and check your settings. Reset it if needed. Confirm which partition the virtual memory is being allocated from? The Computer assigns space on your Hard Drive to swap memory from your physical memory. The information is at the same place you confirm that the personal computer is handling the memory. Check that partition and ensure at least 6-10 GB is free on that partition. Most paging files are only 2-4 GB, but if the personal computer is handling this it can change the size as needed. Once you have set this, test the computer to see if the fault returns. If it does go to the next step.
If your computer lacks the random access memory (RAM) needed to run a program or operation, Windows uses virtual memory to compensate.
Virtual memory combines your physical RAM with temporary space on your hard disk. When RAM runs low, virtual memory moves data from RAM to a space called a paging file. Moving data to and from the paging file frees up RAM to complete its work.
The more RAM your computer has, the faster your programs generally run. If a lack of RAM is slowing your computer, you might be tempted to increase virtual memory to compensate. However, your computer can read data from RAM more quickly than from a hard disk, so adding RAM is a better solution.
You can monitor the memory usage through Task Manager and event log exceptions. This would let you track if there was a particular program, process, or device that coincided with the errors. Alternatively is your memory usage high? If you can get into the windows environment to monitor these, then it cuts down on the number of issues you must check. I have included a link below to a jump page with how-to guides on these methods for each of the different operating system's.
If Task Manager shows high memory usage. You may simply need more memory. Not enough is installed, to do all the work you want to do on your computer. This would mean replacing the original memory with larger sized DIMMs that you have purchased.
If Task manager shows that the issue is with the operating system, a program or with a process. You can use a free third-party malware checker like Malware bytes. If the problem continues, then restore or reinstall your version of the operating system to resolve the issue.
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10 Nov 2023