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ISSUE 20.09.F • 2023-02-27 • Text Alerts!Gift Certificates

In this issue

FREEWARE SPOTLIGHT: A bunch of free RAM testing tools — most called “MemTest”

Additional articles in the PLUS issue • Get Plus!Why?

PUBLIC DEFENDER: How to jailbreak ChatGPT and Bing AI — to see their evil twins

ON SECURITY: Being legal, supported, and secure

EDITORIAL: Who are you?


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A bunch of free RAM testing tools — most called “MemTest”

Deanna McElveen

By Deanna McElveen

While navigating our way down to Austin to visit our daughter over the years, we have learned one thing about Texas. It has too many highways, they are all still being built, and they are all named I-35.

Well, the creators of RAM (random access memory) testing programs must live in Texas because they named most of them “MemTest”!

I’m not gonna womansplain RAM (see Figure 1). Most of you are older geeks — but if you are new to all this nerdiness, here is a handy-dandy Wikipedia article to bring you up to speed. What might be news to you, though, is that these little circuit boards’ failures are the cause, in many cases, of hard-to-diagnose computer issues. This is because these issues can manifest and disguise themselves as any software symptom. Even trickier is that the built-in Windows memory diagnostic tool doesn’t always detect a bad RAM module. Furthermore, it doesn’t run on its own — if you don’t think to run it, it certainly won’t detect bad RAM. Just remember: Any RAM that Windows itself is using (reserved memory) cannot be tested.

RAM Module
Figure 1. A desktop RAM (DDR SDRAM) moduleSource: Micron Technology, Inc.

Let’s begin with two programs not called “MemTest.” The first one is from one of our favorite freeware creators, Nenad Hrg. This program is called QuickMemoryTestOK (see Figure 2) and it is in the category of “Windows-based first-opinion” testers. Such programs can be quickly and conveniently used, but they don’t always detect deep RAM defects. Bootable USB testers, on the other hand, are the bread and butter of any computer tech’s toolbox, with the qualification that they usually take a while to run. Their advantage is that they will not give false positives for bad RAM.

Therefore, if a “first-opinion Windows-based” tester detects an issue, you know you’ve got a problem and don’t need to run a lengthy test from a bootable USB tool.

Figure 2. QuickMemoryTestOK is an easy-to-use, Windows-based memory diagnostic tool.

QuickMemoryTestOK is fully portable. Although you can’t boot from it, you can run it from a USB flash drive — and it is very easy to use. Just unzip and run the executable file, then click Start the Test. In a few minutes, you will have the full results. Also note the Start with Windows checkbox. (It seems like unnecessary wear and tear on your RAM to run this test every time you boot, so I don’t recommend checking this option.)

Go grab QuickMemoryTestOK from

Memory Checker (see Figure 3) is also Windows-based. It runs from a command line (just run the executable to launch, if you’re not making any changes) and is also a memory-stress tester. A stress test can be important because some RAM issues rear their ugly heads only when under a heavy load.

Memory Checker
Figure 3. Memory Checker. With great power comes great opportunity to seriously melt things.

Memory Checker scans can be heavily customized by using this command-line template:

  • MemoryChecker.exe [OPTIONS] [<target_memory_size>[%]] [<threads>]

For OPTIONS, you can use:

  • –batch: Exit the program immediately upon completion or failure.
  • –continuous: Keep the test running until an error or interruption occurs.
  • –debug: Enable additional diagnostic output.
  • –monochrome: Disable colored console output.
  • –high: Run the program with high priority.

Be sure to read all instructions and disclaimers on this one. It’s a powerful tool, but it needs to be used carefully.

This is a good one to have on your flash drive, so go get Memory Checker from

Next is a simple, Windows-based tool I included because it’s called MemTest (see Figure 4). We finally have a tool that matches this column’s title! Without its paid license, it doesn’t give you any cool options beyond the amount of RAM to test, but it will tell you whether you have an easy-to-detect RAM defect.

Download MemTest from

Figure 4. MemTest’s free version is very basic, but it works.

I imagine that the developers of the two bootable “MemTest” offerings below egg each other’s offices on the weekends, or maybe they are great friends. I don’t know. But when the two biggest names in RAM testing are MemTest86 Free and MemTest86+, you know there must be some spicy email exchanges.

First up is PassMark’s MemTest86 Free (see Figure 5). It’s by far the easiest to customize, due to its initial graphical interface. However, the free edition does leave out some features such as logging, reports, ECC error injection, and testing over 16 cores.

Memtest86 Free
Figure 5. Want easy-to-use? Get MemTest86 Free.

MemTest86 Free’s latest editions support only UEFI booting, so don’t be thinking you’re gonna run it on your Packard Bell. For older systems, there is an older version 4 available.

MemTest86 Free also comes with a tool to easily create your bootable USB flash drive. Just remembe:, if you’re using a flash drive, this process will wipe the drive’s previous contents.

Get MemTest86 Free from

Now for our featured act. MemTest86+ (see Figure 6) is a totally free, open-source, and bootable RAM tester that holds no features back. Is it the prettiest? Gosh, no! You want to test RAM, or look good testing RAM?

MemTest86 plus
Figure 6. MemTest86+ is what I use, so it must be the best.

MemTest86+ boots from UEFI or legacy BIOS mode, so one flash drive is all you need for any computer. It is able to run on any platform by making a bootable flash drive — using the installer or following the instructions for Linux or macOS.

First developed in 1994 as MemTest-86 and renamed MemTest86, it was then renamed again as MemTest86+. Finally, it merged with PCMemTest. This tool has been around the track a few times. It is kept very much up to date and supports the very latest DDR5 memory.

Go download MemTest86+ for your flash drive, and be sure to check the README file at

Bonus Software!

Don’t need to test your RAM, but just want to know absolutely everything about it? RAMExpert (see Figure 7) gives you every bit of information about your RAM specifications, and it can even recommend upgrades!

Figure 7. RAMExpert is my go-to tool when I am too lazy to open a computer case.


  • Clear RAM manufacturer data decoding
  • Access to manufacturer’s specifications
  • Upgrade-capability indication, based on motherboard empty slots
  • Real-time memory usage indication
  • User-friendly interface
  • Internationalization support

Grab RAMExpert from

Happy computing!

Grandma & Apple Pie Our entire philosophy at OlderGeeks is built on being a safe download site offering software you can trust. We use every program we consider, checking it carefully for bundleware or other sneaky stuff. Every downloadable is checked with VirusTotal and Malwarebytes. If a program is updated, we do the same checks again. We reject more programs than we accept, always stressing quality and safety over padding our collection. Every program mentioned in this article meets our rigorous standards. We’re as trustworthy as Grandma’s apple pie!
Talk Bubbles Join the conversation! Your questions, comments, and feedback
about this topic are always welcome in our forums!

Deanna and Randy McElveen are celebrating more than a decade of running, over two decades in the computer business, and even more than that putting up with each other. Their computer store is in a small town in the Missouri Ozarks. Believing that happy customers are always the best advertisement, they hope to squeeze in a couple more decades doing the same.


Here are the other stories in this week’s Plus Newsletter


Brian Livingston

How to jailbreak ChatGPT and Bing AI — to see their evil twins

By Brian Livingston

The world has gone gaga for chatbots: text-based artificial intelligence apps like Open AI’s ChatGPT — which Microsoft is using for its new, gabby Bing AI.

The power of these bots, which converse in a frighteningly human-like way, may be the greatest technology breakthrough since Gutenberg invented movable type, eliminating the tedious hand-copying of manuscripts.

However, that’s like saying the invention of the electric chair was a great advance for criminal justice over the older guillotine technology.


Susan Bradley

Being legal, supported, and secure

By Susan Bradley

Who regulates your software decisions?

As an operating system comes to the end of its life span, we users have to decide what to do with our technology. Do we continue using it as is, with no consideration of risks? Do we stop using the technology and look for alternatives? Or do some of us do a combination of both?

With proprietary software, our decisions are often driven by what type of customer we are.


Will Fastie

Who are you?

By Will Fastie

Here are a few things we learned from this year’s reader survey.

First, many thanks to the large number of readers who took the time to complete our 2023 reader survey. Your response is very gratifying and greatly appreciated.

Although we can’t share every detail of our results, and we haven’t published them in the previous two years, we now feel we have enough information to present the basics.

Know anyone who would benefit from this information? Please share!
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