About two months ago I upgraded my system from Windows XP to Windows 7 64-bit, and at the same time from 4G to 8G RAM. As always happens, I was amazed how much faster a new Windows installation was than the old one on the same hardware -- it is insidious how "Windows Decay" chips away at performance.
About a week ago, the system started behaving badly -- IE crashing, Thunderbird crashing, and starting yesterday, the whole thing blue-screening. After wasting a lot of time trying to figure out "what software was updated recently", I started to suspect memory errors. So I ran the Windows memory test program that shows up on the boot screen -- nothing.
After more dorking around, I downloaded and ran MemTest86+ (www.memtest.org), burned it to a USB drive, and ran it. It immediately found thousands of memory errors; by trying various combinations and moving modules from slot to slot, I was able to identify the bad modules. I had bought Crucial's top of the line (Ballistix Tracer LED) from Newegg; the Crucial folks immediately shipped out a replacement.
Given how many errors MemTest found, its amazing that the Windows test found nothing.
Thumbs up for MemTest86+ and Crucial customer service. Thumbs down for Windows Memory Test.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
We've just opened registration for the 3rd annual JVM Language Summit, to be held at Oracle's facility in Santa Clara CA on July 26-28. See http://www.jvmlangsummit.com/ for details.