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Old 01-29-2013, 11:48 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 60
Default Dell Optiplex 960 RAM Error Message

Everything was fine with this Optiplex 960 I bought surplused, in perfect condition. I installed Windows 7, ran updates and away we go.

I hit the power button this morning and before Windows even starts, I get this error message:


System lights ONE and THREE are on, indicating a memory problem.

But nothing was changed, system or memory-wise. I've never even messed with the RAM since I bought it last week.

All four DIMM slots are filled, with a total of 4GB. These are Samsung 1GB sticks, all identical.

I was planning on adding more RAM, anyway, but maybe I should pull all four sticks out and start with two matching pairs? What happened here?

I can't even run the Dell diagnostics to test the memory - this error message halts the system. What if I pulled the CMOS battery? Would that clear this error message?


Thank you.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:26 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 60

Update: I've tried different RAM sticks from another Dell machine, and I still get the same error message.

How do I go about clearing this error message?

Thank you.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:35 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 28,392

I'm guessing that the CMOS battery is old and failing, and it corrupted the CMOS settings. Try replacing the battery, and doing a CMOS settings clear (usually a jumper on the motherboard). If there is no jumper, then remove the battery and unplug the PC and wait 24hr.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:47 AM   #4
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Location: Ohio Valley
Posts: 23,419

Maybe one of your MB DIMM slots has failed.

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Old 01-30-2013, 11:51 AM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 60

Fixed it.

I reset the CMOS and I can now boot normally. Sheesh! What a headache.

Thanks, everyone.
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