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Bugchecks caused by memory corruption

Bugchecks which are caused by memory corruption can have several root causes.



A faulty driver

A faulty driver can cause memory corruption, however from the bugcheck code and the report can often be concluded whether the bugcheck is a typical software or hardware bug.



Faulty RAM

Faulty RAM obviously can cause memory corruption. If RAM is physically damaged, a memory diagnostic utility will be able to point that out. More often, however RAM fails to behave properly because of a temporary overheating problem. In that case, the memory diagnostic utility won''t be able detect it. To run memory diagnostics on your system select Memory Diagnostic Utility from the Toolsmenu or execute MDSCHED.EXE.



Overheated system

RAM most often does not come equipped with temperature sensors. This means that RAM may reach temperatures higher than other components in the system while the system continue running. At operating temperatures that are too high (often near 100 degress Celcius), RAM starts behaving erratically. This can provoke all sort of weird behavior in the system, often leading to a bugcheck that does not appear related. A RAM diagnostic utility will not help here because the system is very likely to run at a lower temperature during the diagnostic test than it would while running Windows.

If hardware memory corruption is suspected, you should always keep an eye on the temperature of the CPU and other system components. If CPU temperature goes high (say over 85 degrees Celcius), then that is a good indicator of where the memory corruption comes from.
For more information on overheating check out thermal issues.



Faulty power or power supply

Bugchecks caused by unstable power or a faulty power supply very often manifest as memory corruption errors. This is particularly true for desktops and servers. In case the system is not overheating and the RAM in the system has been tested to be working and the memory corruption is not caused by an obvious software bug then a faulty power supply is the next thing that should be checked. Some BIOS/CMOS setup programs allow you to check if proper voltages (3.3V, 5V, 12V and more) are being delivered to your system. Otherwise, voltages can also be tested with a multimeter. In case deviations of over 5% are found you should change the power supply of your system.





WhoCrashed documentation and articles

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