Friday, July 27, 2012

Memory Failure

No, not my own personal memory, although that's up for debate - a bank of memory failed in the old Dell Precision 670 that we kind of depend on daily to do mundane things like accounting. It happened shortly after morning startup, so nothing of importance was going on.

Here's what happened. I was starting all the programs and looking at email, then suddenly BSOD with a message I had never seen before:

Hardware Malfunction
Call your hardware vendor for support
This system has halted

Always a nice way to start your day. So I rebooted and got 1-3-2 beeps and the 4 lights on the front were G-Y-G-Y (or maybe Y-G-Y-G). Anyway, looking online I found that the problem was memory not recognized. Uh oh. At least it wasn't a CPU or power supply in that old computer or I'd be out buying new computer right now.

I pulled the computer and took it outside for a major dusting. I used canned air and blew out lots of dust. Sequim is a dusty place. Then I removed the memory and put them all back. The motherboard has 6 slots with 4 populated by 512M DDR2s (laugh if you must). Problem was still there.

I pulled the two in the middle two slots then powered up again with the same problem. Then I put the two I pulled in the top two slots. Powered up fine except now Windows 7 only has 1 Gig. It seems that the original two memory sticks went bad. Which one I don't know and I don't care. Ordered 4 new 1G from Newegg to be delivered on Monday (I hope). Now the old 670 will have 4 or 5 G depending on compatibility with the old memory and I should get another year or so out of it. Time to think about replacing that computer.


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