The blog of Windows Wally, a Windows Support Technician helping common people solve frustrating computer problems.



How To Run a Hard Drive and RAM Diagnostic Scan?

Reader Question:
“Hi Wally, My computer is not doing so well. I started getting the blue screen and figured it was time to reinstall Windows 10, but the installation process isn’t completing. It is showing me a blue screen error again! What should I do ” – J K., Australia

Before addressing any computer issue, I always recommend scanning and repairing any underlying problems affecting your PC health and performance:

  • Step 1 : Download PC Repair & Optimizer Tool (WinThruster for Win7, XP, Vista – Microsoft Gold Certified).
  • Step 2 : Click “Start Scan” to find Windows registry issues that could be causing PC problems.
  • Step 3 : Click “Repair All” to fix all issues.

Setting up weekly (or daily) automatic scans will help prevent system problems and keep your PC running fast and trouble-free.

Wally’s Answer: Blue screen errors, computer crashes, freezes, unexpected restarts, etc. These are symptoms for hardware related issues. Although usually these are driver related, when even reinstalling Windows or restoring to factory settings does not help fix the problem, then you’re probably dealing with a hardware related issue. But, how do you know for sure? You’d need to use a diagnostic scan to find out.

Problem

I think my computer has a hardware problem.

Solution

Here are some ways to run a diagnostic scan on your computer.

When Do I Need To Run A Diagnostic Scan?

You usually need to run a diagnostic scan when your computer is acting strange. If updating drivers and even reinstalling Windows does not help fix the problem, then you should perform a diagnostic scan to find out if it is a hardware issue.

How to Perform a Hard Drive Diagnostic Scan

Every hard drive has a life in which it can function correctly before failing eventually. The hard drive can develop defects throughout its life. Luckily, there are warning signs and we can check before the hard drive stops working. You can use a software like CrystalDiskInfo to read the S.M.A.R.T. log which contains information about the health of the hard drive. This feature is normally included in all modern hard drives made in the last decade. Run CrystalDiskInfo, and it should tell you its health status.

Diagnostic Scan - CrystalDiskInfo -- Windows Wally

If the Health Status is Blue, then you have nothing to worry about. If it is Yellow, then it is a warning. If it is Red then you need to change the hard drive as soon as possible or you might lose important data.

How to Perform a Hard Drive Diagnostic Scan When Windows is Not Working

You can also check your hard drive’s S.M.A.R.T. log by using a command from the Windows command prompt. This can be done from Windows, but it can also be done if Windows is not running. You will need a Windows installation disk for this. Boot the computer with the Windows installation disk, find and run Command Prompt, and run the following command:

wmic
diskdrive get status

Diagnostic Scan - S.M.A.R.T. test - wmic - diskdrive get status -- Windows Wally

How to Perform a Memory / RAM Diagnostic Scan

Memory related issues usually manifest in Windows with the Memory_Management blue screen error. Memory related issues can cause sudden restarts as well. You can check to see if the problems are being caused by RAM by running the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.

  1. Press Windows Key + R > type mdsched.exe > press Enter
    Diagnostic Scan - Windows memory diagnostic tool - RUN -- Windows Wally
  2. Click the first button to restart and scan the cmoputer’s Memory / RAM
    Diagnostic Scan - Windows memory diagnostic tool - mdsched -- Windows Wally

How to Perform a Memory / RAM Diagnostic Scan When Windows is Not Working

There are two ways to perform a Memory / RAM scan diagnostic scan when Windows is not working. You can boot the computer with a Windows installation disk and run the Memory Diagnostic tool from there.

The second way is to use a third-party tool like MemTest86. You can run MemTest86 from a bootable USB or a bootable CD (as well as use it from within Windows).

Image: Andrew Booth via YouTube

Is Your PC Healthy?

I always recommend to my readers to regularly use a trusted registry cleaner and optimizer such as WinThruster or CCleaner. Many problems that you encounter can be attributed to a corrupt and bloated registry.

Happy Computing! :)

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About the Author

Windows Wally is a helpful guy. It’s just in his nature. It’s why he started a blog in the first place. He heard over and over how hard it was to find simple, plain-English solutions to Windows troubleshooting problems on the Internet. Enter: Windows Wally. Ask away, and he will answer.