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Lately I've been having a lot of glitches with my computer, and I'm really suspicious about my RAM. I need a program compatible with Ubuntu 12.4 LTS that will be able to check my RAM. Also I've tried the memtest86 boot-up program but didn't really understand it, or how it works.

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well try running the command dmidecode -t memory| grep -e Handle -e Size as root and you can have a quick glimpse on the results. Well alternatives are hard to find past memtest. You can only get better to used to memtest and have a Phd on it. – ashutosh May 6 '12 at 3:58
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is not much to explain about memtest. Basically it moves patterns through all the memory cells in all possible combinations and therefore puts stress on the RAM.

There are only 2 things you need to know:

  1. Once you see red lines with error messages in the lower half of the screen you know the RAM is faulty.
  2. How much sets of tests have been completed (passes).

memtest running in a VM :P

Usually if one pass has been completed and you have no error messages the RAM is probably good. There is not much benefit in letting memtest run for over a day. If your system is already heated up, then 1 to 3 passes are enough to know if the RAM is fine or faulty. The technical details show a lot of information that could be related to RAM issues like overclocking for example or a chipset that is beeing known to cause memory issues.

For basic usage and analysis it boils down to:

  • Test normal configuration.
  • Are there any errors?
    • Test every module independently by removing all but one RAM module.
    • Are there any errors? Remove the faulty ones and test the full configuration without the faulty ones.

Note: There are kernel modules like Badram available, that detect bad memory cells and prevent the operating system from using them, but those are meant to be used for servers if I recall correctly and the best solution is still to replace the faulty RAM modules.

What RAM does not like is overclocking and heat.

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i did the test and at test #8 it said that 6 tests passed – Nick Bailuc May 6 '12 at 5:00
If the number below pass in the read circle is greater than 1 and there are no error messages, than the RAM is OK. – LiveWireBT May 6 '12 at 5:05
but the one on the right "errors" said there were 3464 errors found, is that normal? – Nick Bailuc May 6 '12 at 5:34
0 errors is normal. If you have more than one memory module in your computer find out which one is without errors through the procedure described above and remove/replace the faulty ones. – LiveWireBT May 6 '12 at 13:34

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