What tools can I use to check that my memory and hard drive are still working correctly?

  • Sorry, I dont know how to add comment, so I will post this as question. (OK, I know now, I need 50 rep. points) Will sudo /touch/forcefsck check all my HDD's/parrtion's or just the one where Ubuntu is installed? Nov 23, 2010 at 22:47
  • You misunderstood. touch is an application. Use sudo touch /forcefsck
    – antivirtel
    Jul 21, 2011 at 11:02

5 Answers 5


Boot with Ubuntu Live CD/USB stick (or press & hold Shift before the splash screen, to enter GRUB menu), and select TEST MEMORY with memtest86+! See this illustration, don't wait for graphical UI!


test image

To test HDD, you can use S.M.A.R.T. data reader, palimpsest disk utility, press Super/Dash button, start typing Disk Utility (for Gnome: System > Administration > Disk utility), and check your S.M.A.R.T. data (YOU MUST UNMOUNT THAT DISK FIRST, YOU WANT TO CHECK ITS FILESYSTEM - that's why, use a Live CD/USB stick - for S.M.A.R.T. reading, the disk could be mounted/used)!

Illustration: S.M.A.R.T. DATA

  • Disk Utility doesnt work for me. I get error because I use entire disk.
    – vrcmr
    Nov 23, 2010 at 19:53
  • Hi! You say, that your root partition doesn't checkable with "Check filesystem" button?
    – antivirtel
    Nov 23, 2010 at 22:27
  • yes I can't check it.
    – vrcmr
    Nov 24, 2010 at 21:49
  • Yeah, you might be in a live system. Use a Live CD, and if it requires, use "Unmount Volume" button!
    – antivirtel
    Nov 25, 2010 at 17:45
  • These are some old screenshots. Has anything changed since 2010? Mar 1, 2015 at 17:45

For HDD, you can use badblocks program which is installed with the e2fsprogs program. It's a command-line program and a read-only scan can be performed with:

sudo badblocks -v /dev/sda

-v causes verbose information to be displayed, /dev/sda is the device name of the disk.

For RAM, you can find memtest86+ on any live CD or USB. It'll prompt you if there's something wrong with your RAM.

  • 1
    I can't find badblocks in the archive Nov 22, 2010 at 2:27
  • 2
    It's in e2fsprogs which should be installed by default.
    – poolie
    Nov 23, 2010 at 23:42
  • 1
    just type $ which badblocks to see if you have it installed, but by sure you will. Nov 9, 2012 at 4:27

Hard disk:

  • open up a command line, (Applications → Accessories → Terminal) and type

    sudo touch /forcefsck

    then reboot your computer. The operating system will perform a hard disk check (fsck) for you during the boot.


  • When the system is booting, just after the POST (power-on self test) screen, hit the ESC key a few times until you see the GRUB boot menu.

    You should see a list of different Linux kernels. Right at the bottom, there's an option captioned somethimg like Memtest86, this will thoroughly test your memory for corruption (also, it will take ages).

  • Your suggestion for hard disk work for me. Suggestion for Ram doesn't work.
    – vrcmr
    Nov 23, 2010 at 19:48
  • what do you mean by it doesn't work? Nov 23, 2010 at 22:36
  • 1
    Clarification: the "hard disk check" with fsck is actually a filesystem integrity check, not a hard disk surface check or something.
    – Lekensteyn
    Jul 21, 2011 at 10:35

My solution for 10.04 (That works for me):

To test RAM I'm using Live CD 10.04:

  1. I reboot my computer with it in cd drive;
  2. then I choose my language;
  3. then I choose Test Ram.

For testing HDD works:

sudo touch /forcefsck

Found also this tutorial on youtube with additional information.


Boot from an install CD, press Esc while it's booting, and you should have the option to check both memory and the hard disk. You can do this whether or not you have Ubuntu already installed.

If you do have it installed, you can run memcheck from the grub menu.

  • It does - clarified.
    – poolie
    Jul 31, 2013 at 6:12

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