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Bizarre memory problem prevents Linux Mint from booting, but not Windows 7


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#1 dpitch40

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:56 PM

So on Monday I noticed that my dual-booting Lenovo G770 laptop would not boot to Linux Mint 14. I went through the normal BIOS start screen and the GRUB screen, then it goes to a blank screen with a nonresponsive cursor in the top left corner and stays there indefinitely. Since my computer had been running slowly recently, I thought it might be the hard drive and tried booting to Windows 7. Lo and behold, it booted just fine. I spent Tuesday mistakenly going after some kind of HDD problem, running fsck and Gparted from a live session of Linux Mint, but couldn't find any unfixable problems with the partition Linux Mint is installed on.

 

This morning, I ran Memtest86+ and discovered that my memory passed the first 6 tests just fine, but failed test 7 on seemingly every single address, quickly accumulating hundreds of thousands of errors. When I got home, I opened up the laptop and tested each memory stick (4GB and 2GB) individually. Both had the exact same problem. Now I'm really worried. Unless both sticks somehow had the same problem at the same time, something seems to be wrong with something on the motherboard common to both channels. It baffles me that Windows 7 and Linux Mint's recovery mode somehow still work. Can anyone suggest any possible courses of action for diagnosing or treating this, besides taking it to a service center?

 

UPDATE: Per a suggestion from another forum, I tried swapping in a compatible stick of RAM that I know works. It also had the exact same failure pattern in Memtest86+.

UPDATE 2:The test 7 failures are a known issue with the version of Memtest86+ I was using. My computer's memory is probably fine.


Edited by dpitch40, 29 August 2013 - 11:13 AM.


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#2 dpunisher

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 11:03 AM

Here's the bigger problem: The CPU is also your memory controller.  Besides possibly having a bad motherboard, your CPU could also be faulty.  In olden times when the northbridge controlled memory, you could narrow it down to a motherboard concern, now....flip a coin.

 

I have the feeling it might be time for a pro diagnosis, which will likely involve swapping in known good components till either the CPU or the motherboard is declared bad.  You might go into BIOS and see if there is any "reset to default" or memory voltage options.  Likely not a choice on the voltage options.


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#3 dpitch40

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 11:12 AM

Correction: apparently these rampant test 7 failures are a known issue with the version of Memtest86+ (packaged with Linux Mint) that I was running. With the latest version downloaded from the official site, my DIMMs pass test 7 just fine. So apparently my memory is fine after all. Which still leaves the problem that Linux Mint doesn't boot--I suspect my HDD. As I said, I have run fsck and GParted and not found anything significant. What else can I try?



#4 Guest_RoutaSielu_*

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:48 PM

I was once recommended to use the Ultimate Boot CD, there's utilities for testing HDD as well as RAM and CPU and even BIOS tools. An excellent disc to have if I may say so myself.

 

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/



#5 TsVk!

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 05:25 PM

Ultilex has a pile great resources for testing and config also.






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