I know how to check hard disk integrity, and how to check RAM integrity (with live cd), but is there a way to check if others hardware is working well or is broken?

For example graphic card, audio card, etc.. ?

I'm not trying to check in an hardware works well with ubuntu (aka driver question), i need to check if an hardware is broken or not

  • I don't think you can. The OS has to be able to talk to the device to test it. RAM & hard disks are just standard enough that talking to not-broken ones is guaranteed, and hard disks have onboard diagnostic utilities, which drivers are implemented to understand. Checking hardware for which you have no driver...how could you do that? The OS wouldn't know what to do to test. And since you have to rely on drivers working to get accurate results, a driver bug will of course screw up the results too.
    – maco
    Aug 18, 2010 at 19:51
  • How do you check hard disk and RAM integrity? Can you do it without a CD?
    – B Seven
    Oct 27, 2011 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


In System->Administration->System Testing there are a set of tests that check your system. They might not cover every piece of hardware but they do a decent job of getting the basics, network, sound, etc.

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  • 1
    This should check if an hardware (or driver) works correctly on ubuntu, not if an hardware is broken..or not?
    – Strae
    Aug 18, 2010 at 17:44
  • 1
    If it doesn't work, then it's either a broken driver or broken hardware. I don't think an OS can determine on its own which it is. Comparing between two OSes (and I don't mean two distros) might though.
    – maco
    Aug 18, 2010 at 18:04
  • In my case, on a old desktop the graphic card drivers seem to work, but the card itself seem to be damaged/broken in some way, it display black shadows around black items in the screen (its not a monitor problem, i tryed with differents monitors). So, how can i check if is really the graphic card, or something else?
    – Strae
    Aug 18, 2010 at 21:35
  • 1
    By trying with a different OS and seeing if you can reproduce the problem
    – maco
    Aug 19, 2010 at 5:35

You can test your sound stuff like this:


Completely contingent upon having working drivers though.


You can check the health of your hard drive with System > Administration > Disk Utility

  • 1
    ... if it's S.M.A.R.T. capable, that is. Aug 18, 2010 at 21:06
  • Are most new hard drives S.M.A.R.T. capable? I really don't know. I know that at least two of mine are. Aug 18, 2010 at 22:25
  • 1
    Yes, but most USB enclosures don't pass SMART info, so it's only useful for internal disks.
    – maco
    Aug 19, 2010 at 0:13

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