can faulty memory cause damage

  [DELETED] 14:08 14 Feb 2006

I have just bought a new Emachine for my son with 256mb memory, this is not really enough in my opinion. I am quite happy to buy him some more memory to upgrade it but I have a spare 256mb mem card taken from another PC. My point is I don`t know whether the card I have spare is good or not. If it is faulty can trying it cause any damage or will it just not work.


  woodchip 14:13 14 Feb 2006

If from a old computer it may not fit. It cannot damage the hardware. But it can damage files so that you may have to sort problems, as they crop up. Until you find it is a memory fault

  [DELETED] 14:19 14 Feb 2006

I don't believe that you can cause any damage, Ray, either to the PC or to files stored on the HDD.

  [DELETED] 14:26 14 Feb 2006

Thanks for the replies, it is the correct card ie same type and spec so I`ll probably give it a try but will see if anyone else has any comments before being too hasty.


  [DELETED] 14:31 14 Feb 2006

Both woodchip & rmcqua are correct. In normal, day-to-day use there is little chance of files being corupted - the problem wil arise if you change a file, save it & the memory corupts the 'new' file making it imposible to read. It is highly likely that you wil spot a problem before this [crashes/load errors/etc.] but Murphy's Law states that if it ever happens it will happen when you least want it to!

As long as the RAM module is compatible, there wil be no damage to the hardware within the PC



  [DELETED] 14:49 14 Feb 2006

There is very little chance of a damaged memory card causing problems for the hardware - so long as the pins are not cross-connected, and I've never managed to damage one that much.

File damage is possible, but unlikely. However, you don't need to risk it, or the hassle you might face.

Download memtester

click here

and unzip it to a floppy. Set to boot from the floppy in BIOS,, and test the ram overnight. If it shows up errors, it isn't worth the hassle leaving it in. If it runs clear overnight, it should be fine.

Do remember to earth yourself before handling the memory, and handle it by the edges, not the pins!

I agree you need 512MB for XP, and it would be worth buying more if that old one doesn't do the trick!

  woodchip 16:02 14 Feb 2006

Windows files are changing all the time like registry etc. So if you start having problems you know why

  [DELETED] 16:14 14 Feb 2006

Maybe it is not worth the bother but the card is sitting in front of willing me to try it, I hate wastage:)
Thanks for the link to memtester, once again nothing is ever easy there are different versions on the site. Do I test the mem on my
PC which runs Win2000 or in the one that it will be fitted to which is XP and does not have a floppy drive. What do you think, ie suggestions as to how to test or whether to abandon the idea.


  [DELETED] 16:31 14 Feb 2006

rmcqua, you say that you don't think faulty memory can cause any damage to files on the HDD. I found out the hard way that it can. Last year I upgraded a computer for a friend, and was given a stick of 256M DDR that was no longer needed. All was fine for a few months, then one day my computer wouldn't boot up. To get it going again, I had to discard the donated memory and reformat the hard drive as slave in another computer before I could reinstall Windows. This may not happen very often, but it made me wary of using unknown memory.

  [DELETED] 17:05 14 Feb 2006

not starting to look like a good idea, any more info on the memtest wellcome.


  [DELETED] 17:15 14 Feb 2006

Nasty experience Gongoozler, but surely the DDR must have been OK initially in order for it work for a few months? Any RAM stick can unexpectedly fail after working OK, but as you suggest, very rare.
To return to Ray5576's question, if I were in his position, I wouldn't hesitate in giving it a try. If I were a betting man (which I am not), I would be happy to have a moderate bet with Ray5576 that he won't suffer any problems. However I guess it all depends on what level of risk we each consider acceptable. (my friends call me reckless Richard !)

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