How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

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How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Postby edbarx » 2014-03-25 09:07

Notes:
  1. Since this is a Debian forum, I will assume readers have Debian installed on their system.
  2. This howto is more suited for those who want to experiment. You can bypass all the hassle of this howto by installing the memtest package, but if you want to experiment, why not, you can go the way of the howto.

First, you have to download the memtest Debian package. After that, extract the memtest86+.bin file. If the package doesn't have a file named exactly like the one I mentioned, select the appropriate file. Needless to state the obvious, it should be a binary file.

The .bin file is like a kernel because it can run alone on a system. This is because it needs total control of the memory so that it can test it as aggressively as necessary.

Copy the extracted binary file in the /home/your-user-name directory, or if you prefer, some other location. Write the full path of the binary somewhere where you can easily refer to it.

Reboot the machine. At the grub menu select the installation of Debian where you copied the memtest86+.bin file. Type 'e' to enter the edit mode. Move the cursor to the line beginning with linux. Delete it. Replace it with linux16, a space, and the full path for the memtest86+.bin file, obviously, including the filename. Remove the initrd.img line.

The replaced line should look like this:
Code: Select all
linux16 /home/user-name/memtest86+.bin


When you are done, type CTRL + x to boot the memory tester.
Last edited by edbarx on 2014-03-26 06:35, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Postby mardybear » 2014-03-25 16:50

Or just run memtest from a liveCD at boot time:
http://www.debian.org/CD/live/
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Re: How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Postby edbarx » 2014-03-26 06:21

How can I run a liveCD without a CD/DVD or a USB stick and without downloading an entire CD/DVD iso image? For those having hardware and internet connection constraints, any form of saving on resources is always welcome. :wink:

The other way, you should have pointed out, instead of using a liveCD, is to install the memtest package as it provides its own grub link.
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Re: How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Postby mardybear » 2014-03-26 07:30

How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Just providing an alternative way to run memtest without installing, as per your thread title. The 'how to' seems primarily aimed towards Debian users that have done a net or minimal install, which wasn't implicit in the title.

Any newer users should note that if they installed via liveCD or CD1 type install then memtest should be pre-installed and available to run from the grub boot menu. Alternatively many probably also have old linux liveCDs sitting in a desk drawer somewhere collecting dust, so for those particular users it's easier to just throw an old liveCD into the drive rather than download the binary.

The memtest86+ package comes in at a whopping 2460Kb, which would have been a big deal in the 56K, floppy days ;)
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Re: How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Postby edbarx » 2014-03-26 17:30

Hello, mardybear.

My first post makes it clear that this howto is intended for those who want to experiment and that there are easier ways for scanning a computer's RAM.

My howto is intended for any installation, especially, Debian installations, which need not be minimal. The only requirement is a working grub bootloader and a partition where to copy the binary. You are right in claiming that my procedure is not the easiest out there, but the easiest, or better, the one needing the least of hassles, is unfortunately, not always the best learning aid.

Thanks for your feedback. :D
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Re: How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Postby mardybear » 2014-03-26 18:22

This howto is more suited for those who want to experiment. You can bypass all the hassle of this howto by installing the memtest package, but if you want to experiment, why not, you can go the way of the howto.

Thanks for the 'how to' and for adding this...now it makes more sense. Always fun to tinker and learn.
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Re: How to do a RAM test without installing memtest*.

Postby acewiza » 2014-03-26 19:21

Many PC's have memory test utilities built into the BIOS. The Memtest ISO is exceedingly small. But your way works too! :wink:
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