Why am I getting a memory error message on my newly built computer?

Question

I did a bad, bad, thing. I let a freind of mine build my system for me. It has most of the bells and whistles, but there is a major problem. I was having difficulties with lock ups if the system was left on to long. It would give me the message that I did not have enough memory to run this application. During bad episodes, not even ctrl+alt+del end task ,or shut down would work and I would have to (shudder) just shut it down without warning windows. I downloaded Norton utilities the other day and ran diagnostics on every part of my system. While there were some cosmetic errors in the registry and it needed some de-frag work, it generally checked out o.k. I then opened up some of the sensors that Norton loves to drop on to my desktop and one of them, the MemLoad sensor, tells me that almost 80% of memory resources are being used. When I check the sensor information it says that once the sensor reads 50% all of my physical RAM is commited and windows is now data swapping with virtual memory. With this knowledge in hand, I shut down all applications and checked the sensor. 56%, with nothing running. The properties option when I right click "my computer" shows 128 meg of RAM, but I did see something interesting on startup today. On the DOS window after the windows screen shows for a few seconds, there was a line of text that said "0/1 sdram in slots", or something to that extent. My question in this novel is, how do I tell if the system recognizes my memory, but is not utilizing it?

Thank you for any guidance you can provide.

Carter Hunt.

Answer

This question was answered on September 22, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

It sounds like the error message is telling you that only one simm of memory has been installed, whereas two are required To check this,remove the cover of your computer and look in the memory slots These are probably toward the top of the motherboard, and are probably about 6" long There is also a possibility that what memory you have installed is DIMM, which are not required to be installed in pairs An easy way to identify your memory: If it is a SIMM, there will be an orientation notch along the bottom edge of it, and two alignment holes ( completely circular ) drilled through it that are used to secure it in the slot If it is a DIMM, alignment is handled by tow half-cirlce holes in the bottom edge of the memory, one of which is off-center, the other centered This ensures that the dimm will only be inserted one way

If it turns out that you have a SIMM, (but you should have two), then you can either pop for another SIMM of equal capacity and double your memory, or pop for two smaller ones to equal your current memory If this does not cure the problem, then go to http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/comp.ram/fail.htm This will provide a lot of useful info to help you.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on September 22, 1999