In all my time using computers, I haven’t had a memory failure since the late 80s on Commodore 64 which was likely caused by a static discharge. Every computer since, laptop or desktop, traveling around the world, have not seen any sort of memory issue. I’ve gong through hard drives, replaced screens, keyboards and touch pads but never memory. I basically assumed such things were a thing of the past. I have and keep many systems running, with the average age of actively used systems at 12 years old all with properly working memory. Yet it is my newest laptop has been afflicted with RAM failure.
Right before Christmas, I was getting all kinds of BTRFS file system errors. I wasn’t sure what was causing them. I thought maybe the nvme drive was failing but it passed all the tests.
The timing was not good, right before Christmas and I heavily use my laptop for various things, writing, editing video, creating lighting sequences for my Christmas display and so forth. I began my web searching for answers as I knew this to be not good.
I stumbled upon an article that said such things are likely caused by memory failure. I thought this to be rather odd as my experiences have taught me that it was unlikely but I thought it was best if I took the time to do a memory test to see if that was, indeed the problem. After some hours, it was true, my system had plenty of errors reported.
From factory this computer came with 8 GiB of DDR4 memory. I added a 32 GiB module and I just assumed that it was the 32 GiB module that failed because, why wouldn’t that be the case? The way I use (abuse) my system, 8 GiB is just not enough, I keep far, far too many tabs open, do a lot of testing in Virtual Machines, do a lot of video and audio editing as well as keep too many chat clients up for me to monitor. As a consequence, I was thinking that this computer is going to become rather unusable and was really pretty down about it. Right before Christmas too…
It sort of reminded me of a few years ago where my water heater decided it didn’t want to hold water anymore just days before Christmas, except a broken computer is less messy and the inconvenience is more digital as opposed to real. I did order a new 32 GiB module because, I would most certainly need it.
So, I took out the 32 GiB module and started the computer up in the HP Diagnostic mode. I had somehow forgotten it had such a thing and I wanted to do a quick test to see if there were any other failures… and the memory came up as “Not passing.” Everything else tested fine, which was great news.
It’s an awesome picture… I know… but it does fuzzily say that memory did not pass. I then thought, “Great, BOTH modules are bad!” Just before giving up and shutting the thing down and stuffing it in my bag to wait for that new module to show up, I thought I’d test the 32 GiB module again, just to be sure. And would you have it, a Christmas miracle, the memory passed! My assumption was off, it was the factory, from HP module that failed, not the 32 GiB module I bought and added to it!
That means, I really didn’t NEED to buy the replacement 32 GiB RAM module, I barely used more than 20 GIB on the average but having 64 GiB in this machine is not a horrible thing. I can be even more wasteful of resources now!
I do have to comment again by how nice it is to work on the HP EliteBook 840 G7. The way the screws on the bottom pan are captive so they cannot be lost and nearly everything is accessible within the machine makes this an absolute fantastic piece of hardware to use.
Don’t assume anything! I have said this to myself so many times but it seems to be a reoccurring mistake I tend to make. Sometimes, it is the obvious that is actual problem. Sure, I’ve gone 30 years without having to replace bad RAM but it obviously happens. Thankfully, the problem was with the RAM added by HP, not the 32 GiB I purchased from Newegg just over 2 years ago. This Elitebook is still a fantastic machine that I am happy to use and call my own.
It truly was a Christmas miracle that the failed memory module was the less critical one. I am very thankful. I am still surprised that it was my newest laptop that was afflicted with a RAM failure but I guess that is the way the silicon lottery works!
HP EliteBook 840 G7
HP EliteBook 840 G7 with openSUSE Continued
4 thoughts on “HP EliteBook RAM Failure”
That is indeed a very odd thing to happen 🤔 Did it corrupt any of the btrfs partitions?
It did cause corruption on the drive and was throwing up errors. The file system was able to scrub the partitions and correct the errors. I did have to manually replace two files from an another computer but everything is good now, amazingly.