Testing your hardware for problems

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Memory

Memory can be tested using "memtest" on the Mepis CD. To test, simply do this:

  • Boot to the Mepis CD
  • When you get to the GRUB menu, select "memtest" and hit enter
  • A blue screen will come up with information about your system. The test will commence automatically.
  • Let the test run for at least 20-30 minutes. If there are errors on any of your RAM chips, you will see entries with a red background appear.
  • If you have more than one stick of RAM, note the address of the problem, as it will help you figure out which stick is having trouble. For instance, if you have two sticks of 512 MB, and the error is at MB 742, you know your second stick is faulty.


Hard drive

You can test your physical drive for bad blocks with "badblocks".

  • Boot to the Mepis CD. To save time, you can boot to runlevel 3 by typing "3" at the grub prompt (this will not run a GUI)
  • Log in as root with password "root"
  • When you get to a command prompt, run "badblocks -v /dev/hdx", where "hdx" is the name of the hard drive device you want to test. For instance, your primary master hard drive is /dev/hda. If you have SATA drives, use /dev/sdx.
  • The test will take at least an hour, depending on the size of your drive and the speed of your system. If there are any bad blocks, they will be listed. If there are none, you will not receive output from the command.

Partitions

Hard drive partitions can be checked with fsck. This should be done booted to the Mepis CD, not while running from the hard drive.

  • Boot to the Mepis CD. As with the bad blocks test, you can boot to runlevel 3 to save boot time.
  • Log in as root with password "root"
  • To check a partition, type "fsck /dev/hdxy", where "x" is the letter for the disk, and "y" is the number of the partition. For instance, to check the 3rd partition on the primary master HD, it would be "fsck /dev/hda3".
  • Depending on which filesystem is in use on the partition, you may be prompted to use extra switches or type a confirmation. Read the instructions carefully and do what it says.
  • If there are any problems, the program will let you know, and may try to fix them if it can

dmesg

The kernel's interaction with your hardware is logged to the dmesg log, /var/log/dmesg. You can see the contents of this file by just typing "dmesg" at the console (you should do this while booted to the hard drive, most of the time). Disk I/O problems are easy to find this way, because they generally fill up the dmesg log.

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