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Tutorial: How to use Memtest

By N3051M ยท 46 replies
Nov 7, 2006
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  1. **For this tutorial, I will be using the current memtest available (version 1.70) as an example.
    The latest version is 1.70 to date (06 February 07)**

    First, download the program from here:


    There are two types of downloads you can get, a bootable CD (.iso) and a bootable floppy disk. Pick one and download it. If you're experiencing troubles using the CD or Floppy versions, you may try the USB version, but I haven't tried it yet.

    If you use Dual channel or multiple sticks of RAM, take all of them out so you have just the one plugged into the primary slot. Run the test and swap with the other sticks until all is tested individually. Don't forget to turn off and unplug your PC before removing/replacing any components :)

    It is suggested that you run the test for at least 7 Passes. You can run it longer or shorter if you wish but note any errors it states on the information it gives you onscreen. If you do get errors, that means that the stick you have currently is incompatible or faulty or if you're lucky, its only a dirty slot or contact on the module/motherboard. If you don't get any errors, put all your RAM sticks back into its slots and run the test a final time and observe any errors.

    There is also menus, infos and things you can change inside the program. Fiddle if you want to, but don't ask me what they do..

    Memtest CD:
    Download the ISO current version (memtest86+-1.70.iso.zip) to your PC.

    -Extract the .zip file to a location that you know, like the Desktop or Downloads folder or next to the .zip file. You should end up with the file Memtest86+-1.70.iso

    *Note* If you have WinRAR (or similar) installed, it will look like an unzippable archive with nothing inside. Do not open it with WinRAR.

    -Go to your favorite CD burning software, and choose to burn from an image file. Simply point to the memtest.iso file and hit the "burn" button.

    Eg: Nero>Disk Image or Saved Project>[select the memtest iso file]Ok>Next etc.

    -Insert a blank CD into the drive and let it do its magic.

    -Presto, you have a memtest bootable CD. Simply leave the CD in the drive and boot from CD by pressing a key (if needed) then running the test.

    Bootable Floppy Disk:
    Download the package current version (memtest86+-1.70.floppy.zip) to your PC.

    -Extract the zipped file to a location that you know, like the desktop or folder etc. You should end up with a folder named floppy
    -Go into the folder and double click on the install.bat
    A command window will pop up asking you for a location of your disk drive. Insert a blank floppy disk into the floppy drive, then enter the letter of the drive (usually the letter a) then follow the prompts.
    -after it creates the floppy, simply boot your PC with the disk still in the drive and run the test as advised.

    After you've set the test, grab some coffee and a magazine or go watch tv etc. It will take a while.

    **Problems FAQ**
    Q: I put the CD/Floppy disk in and rebooted my PC and it still didn't run.

    A: You may need to select the boot device by pressing a special key or change the boot order of your PC by entering BIOS/Setup. While your PC is starting up, there is a button you have to press to enter it. You can find it by looking for "Press .... to enter SETUP". Most comonly the DEL key or F2, then looking for "Boot devices" or "Boot order" or similar, then following the onscreen prompts to change them.

    Q: I have no floppy drive..

    A: Use the CD version :)

    Q: What if I want to run the test overnight?

    A: Go ahead. If you have the patience..

    Q: Is this test entirely 100% accurate?

    A: Yes and No. I would actualy treat these tests as more of a guideline, since there are other factors that can play into having hardware/RAM trouble. Most common example would be mixed and matched RAM, where both test out OK but when put together won't let your system boot etc. (although there are cases that mixed RAM works fine on most people's system - but that's motherboard dependant.) Some others are under-powered systems etc.

    If you want a second opinion, there are other memory diagnostic programs out there, and one built into Vista (type in the search bar memory and click on Memory Diagnostic Utility. Follow the instructions and reboot)

    Q: Test comes out OK but Windows/OS is still giving me errors?

    A: You can try another new set of RAM if you wish (as per comment above), but you should now be focusing on finding out if it is a windows problem (since this test runs pre-windows boot) or other hardware related problem. I suggest striping your PC to its barebones components where possible then start troubleshoot from there.

    Some good information about RAM and the do's and don'ts from Tedster can be read from here: https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic47210.html

    If anyone has used the Linux packages (.gz), the binary and/or the USB versions, can you please post your own tutorials here or PM me and I'll edit into mine, with credit to you.
    1 person likes this.
  2. cyc85

    cyc85 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    What to do if there are some error during the test??
    ie. replace a new ram?
  3. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 21,238   +17

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    If Memtest86+ gives you errors, then most likely your ram is bad and needs to be replaced.

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  4. cyc85

    cyc85 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    thanx howard_hopkinso...
  5. PCTechie316

    PCTechie316 TS Member Posts: 51

    keep in mind that often if both sticks of ram come with errors, then it is often another problem with the motherboard or another hardware issue. I wouldnt buy ram unless it came with lifetime warrenty. Then you just rma it back to the company and then they will send u a new stick.
  6. cyc85

    cyc85 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    yup, my ram's brand is kingston and it has life time warranty....
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,552   +437

    It should also be noted that completing 7 passes is going to take a VERY long time with large sticks of RAM, even with ddr2 667 or better and a fast processor.

    So don't expect results in a few minutes, and I hope you weren't planning on using your computer for anything other than memtest for a couple days.
  8. Hugemongarse

    Hugemongarse TS Rookie

    This program seems to have got my computer to boot up with my 1gb which i thought was faulty..I have come to the point of running the test but I dont actually know how to run it or which program to run it with? please help :p.


  9. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 2,094

    The test runs before Windows or your OS kicks in. I guess you've already figured that out :D

    Anyways, updated FAQ to reflect current version (1.70) and some additions to the Problems guide.
  10. noobietechie

    noobietechie TS Rookie

    Its maybe a little to late to post but..regarding memtest if the test said that there are no error and it already did a loop does that mean that my ram is ok? Also if your going to test your ram do I really have to remove the second one? I mean doing memtest it should be one ram at a time??

    Hope someone reply this is a major issue to me...:(
  11. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 5,746   +14

    Run memtest at least 7 times for a thorough test. You do NOT need to isolate sticks of ram unless you want to be particular sure. If you pay attention to the bank # or block sequence when you get an error, you can tell which sticks have failed.
  12. noobietechie

    noobietechie TS Rookie

    I have not yet to try 7times I only finished one loop..or pass. So 7loops x 1hr

    So I should leave it 7hours of nonstop memtest?
  13. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 867   +13

    Yep 7+ hours of nonstop testing in your case. Let the program run for as long as it takes to get at least 7 full loops.
  14. crash.zone

    crash.zone TS Rookie

    what about the ram settings in bios ? ---

    i have an asus a8n32-sli deluxe board with
    2gig of corsair twinx2048-3500llpro running duel channel
    seems like my problem started with USB errors -- not recogonizing my sd reader and camera's and such -- my ide drives internally connected as 2nd and 3rd hard drives and my sata as my primary master --

    BFG 7950 GTOC pci-e video card ---

    seems to me after Extensive Reading -- and several Random crahses recently -- resulting in several system restores --working 50/50 .

    ON BOARD sound could be a culprate -- and also i uninstalled all DEC 2007 updates,actually was able to log onto windows after that one ~!?~

    I have twice now had to insert my mobo cd to restore my Bios ???..
    hmm -- even after a new update to it -ran good for several months - then boom -- out go the lights --

    happend a 2nd time with original bios as well -- so -- ?
    hardware --

    Moral of story --- NEVER WAIT TO BUILD NEW SYSTEM ---
    like i did -- a year in gathering parts and all to finnally build then 2 months down the road -- bam --
  15. schenne

    schenne TS Rookie

    Thanks for guide...
  16. fyz

    fyz TS Rookie

    thx for share
  17. jamestaz

    jamestaz TS Rookie Posts: 27

    nero problems

    ive got the test file downloaded but everytime i openit in nero it just keeps copying to disc i cant get the test to do anything? i cant even get the file open it just says saving to disc! how can i open this file to enable me to use it? :eek:
  18. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 13,810

    You need to burn the ISO to disc
    Then start your computer with it (confirming CMOS set to start from CD first)
    That's it.

    Newest version

    Memtest86+ V2.01 (21/02/2008)
  19. jamestaz

    jamestaz TS Rookie Posts: 27

    hi ive restarted my pc and tried to start from the cd but windows just keeps starting instead of the disc scan?what am i doing wrong?
  20. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 13,810

    1. Burn the ISO to disc (this is an image, that will be extracted to a disc)
    2. Confirm CMOS (DEL or F2 or some other key at startup) is set to CD as first boot drive
  21. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 13,810

    Memtest ISO Download:: http://www.memtest.org/download/4.00/memtest86+-4.00.iso.zip
    Or look here for any updates to Memtest: http://www.memtest.org/#downiso
    Here's a free UnZip Program to Download: http://www.jzip.com/
    Free ImgBurn ISO burning application Download: http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download

    Here's what it looks like when you burn the Memtest ISO to CD or DVD Blank media

    Here's Memtest being run from the new Bootable CD: (note: pic supplied by Memtest.org)
    Memtest should be run for 7 Passes (Approx. 4 Hrs) Also, notice the "Pass" up top of screen

    If your Ram is found to be faulty (you will see a large red error box), here's all your options:
    Buy new Ram, to replace the faulty Ram
    That is all !
  22. zoljin

    zoljin TS Rookie

    greattt thanks good tutorial
  23. momok

    momok TS Rookie Posts: 2,127   +6

    Hi, sorry if this seems noobish, is a memtest still relevant if I'm using a laptop? The only reason I'm looking at this is because I'm encountering BSODs very very often.

    edit: When I run memtest, does it require user input in-between the recommended "7 passes"? I'm thinking of letting it run overnight or something.
  24. gillianbrown

    gillianbrown Banned Posts: 141

    Memtes86+ is still relevant and it doesn`t require any input after the initial set up.

    Leaving it running over night is a good idea.

  25. bubrol

    bubrol TS Rookie

    Hey man. thanks a lot.. 7+ hours will took a long time...

    Good Day again.. do u think if i replaced my 2sticks of RAM (1 GB both) and Placed a single 2GB of RAM. Do you think it will fix the problem?

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