Faulty RAM/Socket

So my old Dell Inspiron 5100 has been acting sluggish and I couldn't figure out why. Eventually I found out my computer was only reading 256mb of RAM (should be 512). I wanted to figure if either one of the sticks or the actual socket had gone bad. My fear though was starting up the laptop with the working stick removed in my guessing game. Kinda a n00b question but would there be any detrimental effects to starting up a laptop with 0 RAM or would it just not start? Thanks for any help.

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More about faulty socket
  1. No effects. Should start POST and beep at you.

    Starting up with no ram or drives or battery or addon cards (internal or external) is a good wat to deem if a dead notebook is indeed dead.
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