XP laptop - Bad memory on laptop can cause corruption to system files?


Laptop repaired and user says the memory was bad and subsequently affected system files and needs a fresh install of windows.  

Can bad memory affect system files / windows to the point it needs to be reinstalled?

The main problem was that windows would not update, but I believe this prob was there before the memory was installed.
fcekAsked:
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Dr. KlahnConnect With a Mentor Principal Software EngineerCommented:
In theory, bad memory in a system should not corrupt pre-existing system files.  These files are read into memory from their disk images, but are not written back to their disk images from memory.  However, this contains the hidden assumption that there are no other disk operations occurring that affect the file system, and this is generally not the case.

As rabindrajha justly points out, bad memory can cause any number of other problems, which can cause the effective appearance of system file corruption.  Lost or misplaced clusters, corrupted disk buffer areas, incorrect driver commands, the list goes on.  And if a defragmenter or the Windows disk background optimizer is run on a system with bad memory, all bets are off on disk integrity afterward.

Suggest you use the Microsoft SFC (System File Checker) utility to check system file integrity.  See this site for a brief overview.  This will not check every system file on the machine, but if it finds any corruptions at all, a system rebuild is probably in order because there's no knowing what is corrupt and what is intact of the files not checked by SFC.
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fcekAuthor Commented:

So presume that the memory is bad .........
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rabindrajhaCommented:
hahaha...will it affect???

see the thing is that, bad memory can cause for BSOD, system hang and ...

so if system is getting hang or getting BSOD...it could lead to file format corruption, windows corruption...etc..
 hope you got the point.
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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
can ram affect system files :  yes - as said above
to the point it needs to be installed ?  depends on what actually went wrong , but yes it can be
even after running sfc, your updating problem can remain, so yes it may be needed to reinstall Windows
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