Can a 'good' scratch cause RAM to become useless? I know it depends on where, so here's a picture:

Here's what happened to my RAM...

(NOTE: The picture is used only for the sake of clarity, and is in no way identical to mine; for example, in picture is the RAM of a desktop, while mine is a laptop.)

My laptop runs Debian 7.0 Wheezy with XFCE desktop environment. My system does show there's 4GB RAM (actually, it shows 3.7GB, so I guess it's pretty obvious), but how do I check if one of two 2GB RAM cards is failing? I mean, how do I check its health?

(I couldn't find any information on checking RAM/Hardware health on Debian/XFCE.)

My system on the whole appears to be running normal, although ever since I messed with the RAM card as described above, I have a feeling that things are a bit slow. I am not really sure.

UPDATE: Just passed the MemTest86+ check in flying colors. Everything seems to be fine!

  • If it shows 3.7GB then something else is going on. My guess is your operating system is reserving memory for your graphic card's virtual memory. Check the BIOS that will display ALL system memory. While a scratch could damage the memory it would not cause your system to run "slower" nor would you lose 300MB instead of the entire 1024MB memory module. – Ramhound Jun 17 '13 at 17:36
  • @Ramhound You totally misunderstood my question. I suggest you read it again. – its_me Jun 17 '13 at 18:51
  • I guarantee you that I understand your question perfectly. If you had damaged a memory module you the entire module would stop working. – Ramhound Jun 17 '13 at 18:58
  • @Ramhound If I am not wrong, a RAM can fail despite being "detected" by the computer. Tell me I am wrong. – its_me Jun 18 '13 at 1:37
  • I have never seen it personally. What I have see is the memory module slot itself not work. In the specific case I am thinking about the system also would not boot with memory in that slot. – Ramhound Jun 18 '13 at 10:31

MemTest86+ can run deep level checks on your RAM sticks. A Linux flavored version of Prime95 could also be used to stress test your RAM modules.


Prime95 won't give you specifics on if the RAM is bad, typically can just cause your computer to crash, which can be indicative of a RAM failure. MemTest86+ will actually scan every address on the RAM and check its read/write abilities. Note that both of these can take a really long time!

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  • Just completed the MemTest86+ check - "Pass complete, no errors." So I guess everything's fine. – its_me Jun 17 '13 at 18:49
  • Yep, I can't think of a situation where the results of MemCheck were incorrect, so you should be in the clear! – Lee Harrison Jun 17 '13 at 19:07
  • @its_me Do the extended test in order to be 100% sure. – TwirlMandarin Jun 17 '13 at 20:58
  • @AlexanderCeed MemTest86+ completed the first check, and (while showing "Pass complete, no errors") then carried on with another check. Is that what you are referring to as "extended test"? If yes, great. I did leave it until both tests were complete. It passed! – its_me Jun 18 '13 at 1:37

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