How Long Does MemTest Take? A Professional’s Point of View

Professionals Point of View On MemTest
Professionals Point of View On MemTest

How long does MemTest take?” is a query that professionals in the technology field often encounter. The duration can significantly vary, depending on the system’s RAM size and other factors. This post states the time to run MemTest and the factors influencing the process.

How Long Does MemTest Take?

MemTest can take one hour to 24 hours, depending on the system’s RAM capacity, the number of passes, and CPU speed. For example, for an 8GB machine, a single pass can take between one and two hours. But for comprehensive memtesting, you might need the entire night or more.

What Does MemTest Do?

MemTest (MemTest86) is a diagnostic tool test for faults within the Random Access Memory (RAM). It reads and writes data patterns to and from the random-access memory and compares the results. If it finds any discrepancies, it displays it as a potential memory error.

This essential Windows memory diagnostic tool for memory-related issues can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Error Detection: When you run a memtest, it exposes possible memory-related errors. Such errors cause unexplained system crashes, blue screens of death (BSOD), random restarts, and other malfunctioning behavior.
  • Stress Testing: MemTest can assess how RAM modules respond to stress or if they are stressed. It loads the memory with data and checks if it correctly reads back. This ensures that the RAM can handle heavy workloads without malfunctioning.
  • Identifying Faulty Memory Modules: Since it tests memory functionality, it can determine if one or more modules are faulty. Thus, saving time in diagnosing the issue and helping prevent data loss or system crashes.
  • Verifying Overclocking Stability: For enthusiasts who overclock their memory, MemTest helps verify that the overclock is stable and that the memory still functions without errors at higher speeds.
  • Assisting in Hardware Upgrades: When adding new RAM modules to an existing system or building a new one, running MemTest can confirm that the recent memory is compatible with the system and functions correctly.

How Does MEMTEST86 Tests?

MemTest86 Tests all address bits in all memory banks by writing various data patterns to the RAM and reading it back to verify their accuracy. It uses a single CPU core to perform this test. The write-read-verify process detects memory errors by checking address lines, data lines, and cell interaction.

A typical MemTest will perform the tests below:

– Address Bus Test

MemTest tests address line functionality by writing address patterns in the address and verifying the correctness of the data.

– Data Integrity Test

This test involves writing various data bits patterns such as all zeros, all ones, alternating ones, and zeros to different memory areas, then reading it back to verify if the data is the same. It checks the integrity of the data read and write processes.

Along with this test, MemTest can perform the “Walking Ones and Walking Zeroes Test,” which involves writing and reading back specific data patterns related to binary sequences.

The “Walking Ones” test moves a ‘1’ bit around a field of ‘0’ bits, while the “Walking Zeroes” test does the opposite. These tests verify the data integrity of the memory modules.

– Cell Interaction Test

Here, it checks for cell interaction errors by writing a pattern to a memory cell and verifies that this process does not affect other cells. This test helps to catch “crosstalk” errors.

Other tests include the following:

  • Block Move Test: This test verifies data blocks moved within the RAM retain their integrity. This is particularly important for operations involving moving or copying memory data.
  • Stuck Address Test: MemTest generates many specific memory addresses and writes them to the corresponding location. If any address fails to record the correct information, it might be ‘stuck’ at a particular value.
  • Sequential and Random Test: MemTest writes/reads data sequentially and randomly to check data integrity in all use cases.

What Factors Influence the Duration of MemTest?

The duration of a MemTest is influenced by the size of the RAM being tested, the memory speed, the thoroughness of the test (number of passes), and the processor’s speed. The more memory size and passes needed, the longer the test will take. Faster hardware typically completes tests more quickly.

Let’s look at each factor in detail:

– Size of RAM

The larger the memory size, the longer it takes to complete the test. This is because MemTest performs comprehensive testing on each memory cell, so more memory means more cells to check.

Here is a breakdown of how long MemTest will take for different memory sizes:

  • 8GB: on average, an 8GB MemTest typically takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete.
  • 16GB: For a single 16GB stick, you may need 2.5 hours or longer. However, if you have two 8GB modules, it takes 2 hours to test. The difference in memory configuration brings about the difference.
  • 32GB: MemTest for 32GB RAM takes approximately five to 48 hours. The CPU speed influences the actual time. If the CPU speed is slow, it might take up to four days. This is a stick-by-stick test.
  • 64GB: The average time is about 5 to 48 hours. However, memory configuration and CPU speed play a critical role. The high-speed CPU and the latest MemTest86 take approximately five to 12 hours.

– Memory Speed

Faster RAM allows MemTest to write and read test patterns more quickly, reducing the total test time. Consequently, systems equipped with faster RAM, such as a2,400MHz—or 2400MT/s DDR4 memory, will generally complete the MemTest quicker than those with slower RAM.

– Number of Passes

A single pass will take the shortest time regardless of the memory size, with other factors remaining constant. In most cases, a single pass takes at most two hours.

But if you run several passes, you sometimes have to wait up to 48 hours. Sadly, a single pass may not reveal all potential errors, especially intermittent ones.

The question is, when running memtest86 how many passes are enough? The recommended number of passes for hardware testing is four to five. For MemTEST86+, you may need up to 32 passes.

– Processor Speed

MemTest primarily examines the RAM, but the speed of the computer’s processor also affects the duration of the test. A faster processor can manage memory operations faster. This allows MemTest to perform its write-read-verify processes more rapidly. Therefore, a computer with a faster processor completes a MemTest faster than one with a slower processor.

But does memtest86 test CPU? No. Memtest86 is specifically designed to test the computer’s memory (RAM). However, it implicitly tests the CPU, L1 and L2 caches, and the motherboard.

Why are Multiple Passes Recommended in MEMTEST86?

Multiple passes are recommended in Memtest86 to test the computer’s memory thoroughly. Each pass tests different memory patterns and addresses, allowing potential memtest86 errors to be detected. Running multiple passes increases the chances of identifying intermittent or hidden memory issues.

– Performing a MemTest86 Pass

The process of performing a MemTest is comprehensive but very straightforward. Here is how to use memtest86:

  1. Visit the official Memtest86 website and download the appropriate version for your system. Use the image file to create a bootable USB drive.
  2. Plug your bootable USB drive into the computer.
  3. Restart the computer and boot menu using specific keys based on your PC models (F2, F12, or Del during startup). Select your USB drive as your primary boot device.
  4. Once the PC boots from the media, Memtest86 automatically tests the memory, displaying test patterns and progress information on the screen.

It will perform multiple passes, iterating over different memory patterns and locations. Monitor the test progress and any error notifications or messages that may appear.

A pass is considered complete when Memtest has tested the entire memory space without encountering any errors. If you want to perform additional passes, re-run Memtest. You can also note down the mistakes that are detected. This will help you with further analysis.

How Can You Stop MEMTEST86+?

To stop Memtest86+, you can reboot or power off your computer. Since Memtest86+ runs directly from the bootable media, shutting down or restarting the system will terminate the program. Also, you can press the ESC button on the keyboard to exit from the memtest86+ session.

Remember, it’s vital to let Memtest86+ complete its testing process to ensure a comprehensive memory assessment. Interrupting the test prematurely may lead to incomplete results.


The duration of MemTest can vary significantly. However, MemTest is a necessary process that ensures memory stability and better system performance, as shown in our summary below:

  • MemTest duration depends on memory size, system speed, and stability.
  • On average, an 8GB memtest takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete.
  • A 32 GB memtest may take around 4-48 hours on average.
  • Multiple passes are recommended to detect intermittent errors.

This is enough information to help you handle your MemTest accurately. Keenly follow the steps to get the most from your RAM.


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