I have ubuntu 11 running off a 3.6gb usb flash/stick drive. System has 4gb ram and blank harddisk (wiped using DBAN tool). How do i check if there are no errors in my RAM ? Is there a guaranteed way to check that via some linux command ? If not, it would be great to know why.


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    Before booting up Ubuntu access the GRUB screen and select memtest. – Uri Herrera Sep 8 '13 at 23:16
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    You can use memtester once booted into linux.. e.g. sudo memtester 1024 5 This should allocate 1024MB of memory, and repeat the test 5 times. – Ricky Hewitt Feb 6 '16 at 22:05

The Ubuntu Live CD includes a tool called Memtest86+ that will do just that—test your computer’s RAM. Boot up from the Ubuntu LiveCD, press and hold the Shift key, which will bring up the GRUB menu. Select Memory Test

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    You don't even have to have the live CD. You can just press Shift repeatedly during startup of linux to get to the exact same menu. – iFreilicht Sep 7 '15 at 9:06
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    The Ubuntu Live CD no longer comes with this option. – machineghost Jun 26 '19 at 16:29
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    Apparently memtest86+ is not available if your computer is running in UEFI mode ("because it is a 16-bit program"). It will not show up in grub. An alternative is memtest86 (without the "+") version, which is not FOSS but still offers a freeware version. They claim you can get it to work with grub but I could not figure it out... However it is easy to set up on a USB memory stick. See [askubuntu.com/questions/917961/… – bct Aug 7 '19 at 7:35

By installing the memtester package, you can check your system for errors while it's still running. No need for a restart, just run that application.

To install it, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install memtester

You can then use it like so:

sudo memtester 1024 5

This should allocate 1024MB of memory, and repeat the test 5 times.

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    Does this somehow mean that only a part of the memory is tested, and the rest remains untested? How can I make sure that all of the memory is tested? – donquixote Mar 8 '16 at 6:16
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    Only that part of memory is tested! – MajesticRa Oct 4 '16 at 11:35
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    Upvoted, but unless I've missed something it is not possible to do a thorough test of the entire memory using memtester as the system becomes totally unresponsive (or even memtester fails to claim the full extent of memory you are asking for). So I guess memtester's use case is when you are trying to test a particular area of memory using some advanced arguments which I haven't explored. Otherwise for a through scan use UNetbootin that runs before loading the operating system and any user programs (so the responsiveness issues becomes moot). – Marcus Junius Brutus Nov 13 '16 at 20:31

Reboot your computer, and at the GRUB boot screen, select memtest.

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    This seems to assume that we would be seeing the GRUB boot screen at statup. I, for one, do not. – 42- Jan 5 '17 at 20:06
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    @42- Hold SHIFT key while booting a computer. – Denis Kulagin Oct 27 '17 at 5:51
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    memtest86+ is not available for EFI systems. It's only for BIOS. You may look for a proprietary alternative for EFI. – Artyom Nov 8 '17 at 19:49
  • For EFI systems, hold ESC while booting. – IronEagle May 24 '19 at 20:41

I have found mprime to be a good tool to test memory: ftp://mersenne.org/gimps/

(mprime can also be used to stress test your CPU)

Alternatively, use the package stress-ng to run all kind of stress tests (including memory test) on your machine.

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