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Why Does Reseating RAM Fix a Computer?

Posted on 2014-09-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-09-16
On two different desktops (one XP, one Win7), there was no video signal going to the monitor, although the power lights came on. The problem was ultimately solved by removing and (in some cases) reinserting the RAM sticks.

On the Win7 computer, I found that the "no video signal" issue returned IF I put either ram stick into slot 3 of 4. So we avoided using that slot, and so far, computer's working fine.

On the XP computer, after I put BOTH ram sticks back into the slots they used to be in, I still could not get the issue to recur; even after I put the ram back into the same slots as before, the computer starts up fine.

Likewise, on a THIRD computer (XP), the startup process was getting stuck on the BIOS screen, UNTIL I removed and reinserted the RAM.  Now it starts up fine.

So in the first computer (Win7), I'm assuming the motherboard / ram slot is going bad, probably more problems may come in the future, if the mobo is failing.

But what could account for the 2nd and 3rd computers?  Where removing and reinserting the ram fixed a "no video signal" or a "stuck/fixed video image" issue? This article
suggests reseating ram as a fix, so I'm not alone. I guess I"m asking:

(1) How often do you guys try reseating RAM as a fix for such issues?

(2) What accounts for this? Static buildup?

Question by:dgrrr
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:Paul S
Paul S earned 668 total points
ID: 40320494
possible reasons for symptons:

1) possibly bad memory. I have seen bad memory cause weird issues and a unpredictable way.

2) memory that is not compatible with all three systems or mother boards that do not support certain configurations (ex: slot 1+3, but not slots 3+4, etc...)

3) failing motherboard or unstable PSU or unstable building electrical power

I don't see bad memory very often. I just deployed 300 computers and we added 4 GB of memory to each one (8gb total).  only 1 of the sticks was bad out of the 300 we ordered.
LVL 84

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 664 total points
ID: 40320496
Although the gold fingers are not supposed to oxidize, sometimes the connection between the fingers and the memory socket seem to become poor to the point of not working.  And dust that might collect on the socket and fingers can be somewhat conductive so that can compromise operation.  If dust has collected, it should be removed before you plug the memory back in.  And since the memory just plugs in and out, it's something easy to check.  In a study for the military on electronic failures, connectors of all kinds were at the top of the list.
LVL 93

Accepted Solution

nobus earned 668 total points
ID: 40320583
there is  "creeping" which occurs after many cycles off power on/off (heating, cooling) causing bad contacts.
these were known issues , mostly in older equipment - XP style and earlier
nowadays it is rather nonexistent.
another cause can be dust, creeping in the the contacts by vibration sometimes, or just contacts that are not applying the contact force needed
all above is cured in most cases by removing and reinstalling the ram sticks

**to be sure, test the ram though

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