My PC has 'memory loss' - advice needed please?

Please could somebody help me with the following issues?  

My husbands PC had trouble shutting down a couple of nights ago and since then when he  switches it on it is extremely slow and has trouble doing anything more than a single command at a time.  This computer is around 5 years old and my partner is adamant that it had a 512mb memory but I have just checked the system information and it gives the following:

AMD Athlon (tm) XP 1800+
1.54 GHz, 224 MB RAM

My question therefore is - can the computer actually have lost some memory, causing the slow problems and also error messages as I didn't think memory was ever installed in 224mb size (ie; would normally be either 256mb, 512mb etc)?  If so, can this problem be rectified by buying some more memory and if it can be what is it that I need to buy?

Thanks for any help,

Sulli1
Sulli1Asked:
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Delphineous SilverwingGood Ol' GeekCommented:
The machine is probably 256 MB with 32 MB being appointed to the Video Board.  Check the BIOS settings for shared video memory to change how much system memory is given to the video Board - Reducing this too far will impact your video performance.
Alternatively, you may have a failed DIMM inside the machine.  Depending on the manufacturer, there may be a memory diagnostic tool built into the BIOS to use.
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uucknaaaCommented:
Hi

The difference between the amount that is showing and 256 is probably used for on board video.  If you had 512 and it is now 256, then something is wrong.

There is a program that is free called CPUid that will give you some detailed information about the memory.  It's a free program and can be downloaded at the CPUid web site.

Hope that helps about the memory being used for video.
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Delphineous SilverwingGood Ol' GeekCommented:
Any machine running Windows XP with service pack 2 or higher should be running at least 512 MB of memory, but 1024 MB (1 GB) is recommended.
Microsoft Memory Diagnostic - http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp
 
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kingshaCommented:
Hi Sulli1.

Could you please provide us with the exact model of your computer. I would suggest buying a new stick of ram or two. They are really cheap. Especially since you state your computer is 5 years old or so, that type of ram would be quite inexpensive. I can tell you the exact type of ram when you tell me your exact model. This small upgrade will DEFINITELY make your PC a lot faster!

Cheers.
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Sulli1Author Commented:
Hi all,
Thanks for explaining the discrepency between regarding the system RAM - I will run the memory diagnostics test link that Delphineous has attached for me.  In the meantime though, (and I know how daft this may sound...) I am unable to find anywhere on the PC what the actual model is, could somebody please point me in the right direction of where to find this on system information?

Thanks again,

Sulli1
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kingshaCommented:
First, what make is the computer? Is it a dell, hp, IBM, etc.?

Next, it usally has the model number somewhere on the CPU itself. Try searching for it.

If anything, just tell us the make, then I could help you figure out the model.
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uucknaaaCommented:
Hey ..

If this is just a generic, clone, custom build PC, then we need to know the manufacturer and model number of the motherboard.  You'll get that inside the case and looking at the main board that everything is plugged into -- including your memory.

Hope that helps and get back with any questions.
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Sulli1Author Commented:
Right then, I have found the information that we are after from the advanced system information in the help & support section of the PC - it is a Time Computer model 8366-8233, x86-based OCm SM BIOS Version 2.2.  There isn't anything on the physical CPU itself, but is this enough information to be able to help?

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uucknaaaCommented:
Well ...

So I find this link and it says you should have 512 MB RAM.  Could you look this configuration over:

http://www.d-a-l.com/help/general-hardware-issues/44920-inconsistant-hardware-things.html

If it is right, we need to find out what happened to the other 256 MB RAM.

Waiting your response
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uucknaaaCommented:
Hi

Here's some memory information for your board:

184-pin DIMM Banking:   2 (2 banks of 1)
Chipset:   VIA Apollo KT266A
Error Detection Support:   Non-ECC only
Graphics Support:   AGP 4X
Max Component Density:   512Mb
Max Unbuffered DDR SDRAM:   2048MB
Module Types Supported:   Unbuffered only
Supported DRAM Types:   DDR SDRAM only
USB Support:   1.x Compliant

Would it be possible for you to open the case and see how many memory sticks are installed?
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Sulli1Author Commented:
Hi uucknaaa,

Thank you very much for looking into this for me, I have had a lot of trouble getting back into EE tonight as my PC is running on super slow power.  I will open the case in the morning and look at how many memory sticks are installed - would you be able to advise further at that stage?

Thanks again :o)
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uucknaaaCommented:
Hey there ...

You bet.  I'll keep an eye out for your response tomorrow.

Later
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Sulli1Author Commented:
Hi Uucknaaa,

I've tried every which way I can to get the casing off of my Time PC but I can't see how to do it - I'm not sure what else to try - does anybody else out there have a time PC that could advise me at this stage please?

With fingers crossed..

..Sulli1
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Delphineous SilverwingGood Ol' GeekCommented:
You may want to bring your computer into a local repair center.  The internal components are sensitive to stress and static.  Should something happen while you are attempting to open the case or install memory, you may damage the machine and result in a higher repair build.
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uucknaaaCommented:
Hi

Just waking here.  What we need to do now is determine how many memory slots are actually populated.  I know of some software that'll do the trick.  I'll try and give the step by step instructions.

1 - Go to this site:  http://www.cpuid.com/
2 - On the left at the top you'll see an item listed "CPU-Z"
3 - Click and install CPU-Z (no need to install ASK toolbar)
4 - Run the program
5 - Choose the SPD tab
6 - Get the information for each memory slot from the drop down box.

Report back.

Any problems, get back.

I'm waiting your response.


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Sulli1Author Commented:
Hi Uucknaaa,

I have run the cpu id diagnostics that you have sent me and on the memory tab it is showing that the pc only has 256mb memory installed - there are no drop down boxes for any other slots showing though.  

I could really do with getting the cover open to look inside the cpu itself couldn't I?



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uucknaaaCommented:
Hi

Well, according to the documentation on thae time computer that I found, you should only have one 512 MB stick of memory installed in a single slot.  That tells me that there is something wrong with the memory you have installed right now .. if it's only showing 256 -- or 224 with the video.

I don't know for sure how many slots are in the machine.  Maybe I can find some more specifications and determine that.  Whatever, we need to be able to get the case open to upgrade the memory.  Why don't you see if one of  your friend or family can help open it and get back to me.  My email is in my profile.

Later ...
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Sulli1Author Commented:
Hi Uucknaaa,
I am awarding you the full points for your answer and help - I managed to get the casing off the pc in the end, amazingly there was only one 256mb memory card in the slot so I have added another 1gb and the pc is now whizzing along nicely - we are still absolutely adamant that the pc was sold to us as 512mb originally.

Thanks for everything,

Sulli1
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uucknaaaCommented:
Hi there ...

I just wanted to comment that it sure is great to see you figured out what's going on with your PC.  Even though  you should have had 512 installed, and by the way, that is the standard configuration for your model -- It is really nice to have everything make sense in the end.  With that memory upgrade, you'll get at least another year out of that computer, and maybe more as a second PC.

Have fun and come back to EE with any other questions.
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