A Full Introduction to PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory) [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is PRAM

What is PRAM? PRAM is the abbreviation of Parameter Random Access Memory. PRAM is a kind of memory found in Macintosh computers to store system settings. These settings include display settings (such as screen resolution and color depth), time zone settings, speaker volume, and startup volume selection.

Tip: If you want to learn more information about display and resolution, you can go to the MiniTool official website.

Modern Macs no longer use PRAM. They switched to something called NVRAM (NV for non-volatile). The purpose of NVRAM is roughly the same as that of PRAM, but now it no longer stores a lot of information, but only contains some information: your selected startup disk, speaker volume, screen resolution, time zone.

Also see: NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory) Definition & Reset

The Common PRAM Issues

If the information in the PRAM is corrupted, one or more of the following problems will usually be seen.

Keyboard Not Working

A common symptom of a PRAM problem is a malfunction of the keyboard, such as incorrect characters or unresponsive keys when typing. Some recent Mac laptops have problems with certain keys on the keyboard. This is a hardware-related issue, not PRAM. However, if your desktop Mac or older model has keyboard problems, it may be caused by PRAM.

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Date or Time Are Wrong

If your Mac displays the wrong date and/or time, it is easy to change it in the System Preferences window. However, if you do not remember the changes after shutting down or restarting, it may be a PRAM-related issue.

Volume Control Is Not Working

If Mac's volume control does not work properly, such as increasing or decreasing more than one step at a time, or the volume level changes after restarting the computer, it may be related to PRAM.

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Sudden Unexpected Shutdown

Mac has a reputation for reliability and has fewer crashes and unexpected shutdowns than Windows PCs. If you find that your Mac shuts down randomly regularly, it may indicate a problem with PRAM. If your Windows always shut down, you can refer to this post - Unexpected Shutdown – Missing Data? Get It Fixed Here.

If you encounter any of these issues, resetting the PRAM will usually solve the problem. Resetting PRAM can clear some system settings and restore PRAM to system defaults. Restoring all settings the way you like can be painful, so please try the following troubleshooting steps before doing the reset.

  1. Use Command-Option-Esc to force quit all running applications.
  2. Log out and log back into macOS.
  3. Shut down your Mac and restart it (do not restart, shut down completely).
  4. If your model has a removable battery, turn off your Mac and remove the battery for a minute or two.

If all of them are not working, you can try to do the PRAM reset.

How to Reset PRAM

Now, let’ see how to reset PRAM.

If you have a MacBook, MacBook Pro, etc that you can remove the battery from here is what you do:

Step 1: Shut down the computer (again, full-on off here).

Step 2: Disconnect the MagSafe plug from the machine.

Step 3: Remove the battery. Press the power button for 5 seconds and release.

Step 4: Put the battery back in and reconnect the MagSafe cord.

Step 5: Turn your machine back on with the power button.

For MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and MacBooks where you can’t remove the battery on your own, here’s what you do:

Step 1: Turn off your machine (really, you knew this was coming at step one)

Step 2: Keep the power adapter plugged in.

Step 3: Press at the same time shift-option-control (on the left side of the machine) and the power button

Step 4: Turn your machine back on with the power button.

Final Words

What is PRAM? The first section tells you the specific definition. Then, you can know the common issues of PRAM in the second part. As for the third part, it shows you how to reset PRAM.

Read here, you may have an overall understanding of PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory). Hope the above information can be helpful for you. Here comes to the end.

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