One of the most subtle problems that can occur when using any computer is a malfunction of the RAM. It is an inconvenience that is not always easy to diagnose because it can manifest itself with different problems: programs that suddenly stop working, an operating system that crashes showing mysterious error messages, sudden system “freezes,” and so on.
Quality RAMs can function for many years without problems, but even these are not eternal, and for various reasons, they may no longer be reliable after time. Many Macs run a quick startup test on RAM operation. A tone that repeats every 5 seconds indicates that no RAM is installed; three techniques in sequence followed by a pause of five seconds suggest that the RAM has not passed the data integrity check.
If your Mac makes these beeps when it starts up, the problem is easy to diagnose. If your Mac allows RAM replacement, you’ll need to shut down the computer, remove any battery, unplug the power cord or power cord from the wall outlet, and replace the RAM. An attempt to restore system operation can be made by removing the memory modules (of course, we repeat, with the computer off) by cleaning the contacts with a pencil eraser and (using a dry shaving brush or a soft, dry toothbrush) memory slots from dust and other items that may be present in the spaces.
At this point, you can try to reinsert the RAM, checking that the memory modules are all installed correctly, aligning the notches on the modules with the relevant indents on the housing slot, and push the modules firmly into the space until the locking tabs lock the modules into place. If the computer restarts without a beep on startup, it is probably just a problem of dust or dirt. If the computer does not turn on and continues to play the error tone for the RAM, you need to identify the defective modules (on some Macs, you can remove the memory modules one at a time until you find the defective ones).
What To Do When RAM Works But Malfunctions?
The test performed when starting up the Mac is simple, very short, and does not perform detailed checks that allow you to rule out problems that may arise in particular cases. A more thorough test can be done with the Apple Diagnostic, a test you can invoke on all recent Macs by holding down the “D” key at startup.
On older Macs (products before June 2013), you can use Apple Hardware Test (AHT). This diagnostic software offers similar functionality and can be invoked by holding down the “D” key at startup. If AHT is not present on the hard drive, the computer will boot with an internet-based version of AHT. On some Macs, the AHT is located on the Applications Install Disc 2, included with some computers.
Using Apple Diagnostic To Test RAM
Before starting Apple Diagnostics, it is best to disconnect all external devices except the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and Ethernet adapter.
- If the computer is on, turn it off by selecting Shut Down from the Apple menu.
- We turn on the computer, immediately press the D key and continue to hold it down until Apple Diagnostics starts.
- The message “I am checking my Mac” indicates how many minutes are left for the check.
When the verification is complete, any problems encountered will be shown, directions for further assistance will be provided, and you will be able to restart or shut down the machine. The error codes shown can be reported to technical support to help identify the problem’s source. The letter “M” in the error code indicates a potential problem with a memory module.
Using Apple Hardware Test
If your Mac allows you to use the Apple Hardware Test (AHT) software as a diagnostic tool, you can start the procedure in this way (in some cases, we repeat, you need the second standard support with the machine, the one on which the wording “AHT” is reported).
- We turn off the computer and turn it on by holding down the “D” key.
- When the diagnostic icon appears, we can free the key,
- Once the startup procedure has been completed, it is possible to choose the language and the type of test to perform: standard or extended.
The test results will be displayed in the console’s window at the bottom correctly.
Other Utilities For Testing
There are plenty of various third-party applications that allow you to run tests on the RAM. The best-known application is Memtest, accessible and usable from the Terminal command line or as disc-images to be burned on a CD to start the tests when the computer starts. Instead of using Memtest, you can download Rember, a package that allows you to run the same tests that Memtest runs but using an easy-to-use interface.
Download the application from here. After downloading the box, you will need to temporarily allow the execution of software that comes from an unidentified developer (System Preferences > Security & Privacy > “Allow apps downloaded from”).
After starting the application, restore the system security settings by selecting “Mac App Store and identified developers” in the “Allow apps downloaded from” section of Security and Privacy. Rember allows you to choose how much RAM to test (all or a certain number of MB) and for how many cycles to run the tests (it is essential because often some errors do not occur at a first pass but only after several processes). At the end of the various tests (the tests could take several minutes: it also depends on how much RAM is present on your computer), a report indicates any problems encountered with some difficulties.