How to use Memtest on your PC
Buying memory (RAM) for your PC and installing it seems like a very simple task. Just find a good enough deal for a RAM chip, plop it into your motherboard and that’s about it. Sounds very easy, right? Well, there are a couple of things that you need to consider such as its durability, its compatibility with your computer, whether there are any spots of bad memory or if it’s a good enough quality for your needs. You’ll need a way to stress test the RAM that you just bought or the RAM that you already have installed in your computer to check for all of that. That’s where Memtest86 and Memtest86+ comes in.
Memtest86 created by PassMark Software and Memtest86+ created by Samuel Demeulemeester are both RAM reliability tools to check the quality of your RAM. It does so by using various algorithms to do a comprehensive stress test on the memory that you have installed. At a basic level, memtest simply writes information into the different memory addresses that are available on your RAM module and attempts to read it back. If there are any misread or wrongly written data, then it’s recorded and it adds to memtest’s assessment as to whether the RAM that you have is good or not.
It really pays off to test your PC memory. I for one, try to make sure I have the best components when building a new computer rig. So let me help you to test your memory. Here’s a guide on how to use Memtest86+ on your PC.
How to use Memtest86+ on your PC
One of the amazing things that you should know about Memtest86 and Memtest86+ both do not need an operating system to work. Meaning to say if you just bought a PC and are testing its components before installing an OS, then you can surely do that with Memtest. You’re going to need to install Memtest first in a USB Flash Drive first before using it, though. With that said, here’s an outline of the steps:
- Installing Memtest
- Creating a USB Key
- Create a USB Key using Binary/ISO
- Burning ISO File to CD
- Booting into Memtest
- Using Memtest
Of course, we’ll expand on each step to make it easy for you. Let’s start on how to Install Memtest.
Creating a USB Key (For Windows 7 and below)
The easiest way to use Memtest is to create a USB Key. A USB Key is a bootable drive that will launch Memtest when you boot into it on your PC. Sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo but let’s take it step by step:
- Download the USB Key Memtest (118 KB) by clicking here.
- Plug in the USB Flash Drive you intend to use
- Run the program
- Click on I Agree
- Select the USB Flash Drive that you have plugged in. If you have Windows 8/10 (like I do), it will not work, unfortunately.
- Click on Create and Wait
This procedure is very easy if your PC is compatible with the installer, but if you’re already on Windows 10, then you can still use the next method.
If the above method is not working for you, then you can simply download a USB Boot Maker such as Rufus, UNetbootin or Universal USB Installer and use the Binary file or the ISO File on the website. Here are the steps:
- Download your USB Installer Program
- Download the Memtest BIN or ISO
- Depending on which USB Installer Program you selected, you’ll need to do different steps but you’ll generally want to select the option to ‘create a bootable disk’
- Select the BIN or ISO file
- Click on Create or Start
Using ISO (Burn to CD)
If you’re using an older computer that doesn’t have any USB ports or if the above steps did not work for you, then you can choose to Burn to a CD instead. There are a lot of CD burning software that you can get free on the internet but what you generally want to use is the “Boot as an Image” option. It should be available on all CD Burning software. Simply download either the BIN or ISO File and burn it into the disk. After you’ve burned the CD Image, you’re good to go!
Booting into Memtest
But the key question here is “how do I use it?” You might have already done all the steps and now have a Bootable USB or CD. Here’s what you should do:
- Boot into your BIOS
Booting into your BIOS settings differs per manufacturer. Commonly, you can boot into your BIOS by restarting your computer and while the computer is booting up, you press a certain key (probably the F2 or F12 key for some PCs) and it will pull up a blue screen with various options. That’s what you want.
- Change your boot options to your bootable disk/USB
Look for you “boot options” or something along those lines and move your bootable disk or USB to the first priority when booting.
- Save your settings and restart your PC
- You’re now booted into Memtest!
Memtest is very easy to use. Actually, as soon as you boot into memtest, the tests will begin. Memtest will go through each algorithm that it uses to do a stress test on your RAM, it will even show what memory address is being accessed at the moment. You will see a progress bar so that you can monitor the progress. Once the test is done, you’ll see the screen below:
And that’s it! You’ve found out whether your memory is good or bad! Very easy and straightforward.
Memtest and its variants are great ways to test out installed RAM on your PC, especially now that RAM prices have skyrocketed (due to cryptocurrency mining). Installing it into a USB flash drive and running it is easy enough if you follow the instructions stated here. If you’re going into video editing, 3D modelling, gaming or cryptocurrency mining, then using Memtest will ensure you’re using the best and only the best RAM chips.
Did you find the guide helpful? Let us know in the comments!