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Memory died, what could cause this?

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

Before going to sleep last early morning I left EasyLFS to compile. Sometime later as I woke up I saw the kernel configuration interface loaded waiting for me to configure it and let it continue with the compiling.

However, when I tried to do anything, it didn't respond. Typing on the keyboard produced no result. I even change its battery, but that didn't seem to help. I really didn't want a yet another EasyLFS install to go uncompleted, but that's what happened after all.

It turned out to be quite a disaster so to speak although I didn't let myself much time to despair. What was happening is that I couldn't boot into anything, my main Ubuntu install, any livecd I had and even Windows. GNU/Linuxes always said the same thing:

Kernel panic. Attempted to kill idle process.

Finally I decided to run the memory test from Ubuntu's grub and what I saw wasn't nice. It's as if everything it checked had an error in it. Everything was red. Apparently my RAM got bad..

Since I have a 3 year warranty on it (and it's quite new) I went to replace it, but I brainlessly forgot to take my bill of purchase (I only took the warranty paper and the memory in its original box) which is why I could only get it tomorrow if I bring them the bill. In the meantime, although with some hesitation I bought a 512 MB memory stick of the same type, only different manufacturer, to serve as a reserve memory for today (and if I don't manage to get a replacement tomorrow and as long as necessary) and any other times that may happen for a memory module to go bad. It just feels safe, after this, to have two modules in there than one. And a 512MB module isn't too expensive, while having more RAM once I rejoin my old 1GB can never hurt!

So I'm wondering what could cause memory to go bad so suddenly? Could it be the increased stress from compiling EasyLFS or running KVM with 512MB being dedicated to it? Could it be overheating? Or is this sort of thing happening randomly under any load?

This is the first time in my life I've had a bad memory.

Thank you.

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Joined: 2006-03-28
Whoa, that's shocking. Of

Whoa, that's shocking.
Of course compiling EasyLFS or running a complete OS in KVM is quite stressing for CPU and RAM, but I have never experienced something like this. No matter what I did, and I compiled EasyLFS countless times.
I guess your RAM might have been faulty in the first place, and that stress was just the last drop it needed to go completely bonkers.

By the way, that you already got to the kernel-config is quite good. That's pretty far into stage2, right after the dependencies for the optional stuff, and right before all the optional stuff, so there's just some packages left to compile, depending on what you selected. The biggest of those should be RPM I guess.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I guess it probably was

I guess it probably was faulty in some way all the time, but there it held for 3 months. Smiling

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Joined: 2006-03-28
Well, I guess everything

Well, I guess everything should get better when you got your new RAM. Maybe run MemTest over night to see if there's anything funny with that too.

You mentioned 3 years warranty. As far as I remember my dealer told me about lifetime warranty for my RAM (Kingston). It's hard to believe (except this means the lifetime of the RAM, in which case the warranty is useless ;-) ), and I have to check the certificate again for that, but I remember that he said something like that.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Got it now. I guess I'll

Got it now. I guess I'll run memtest when I got to sleep one of these nights, although that's about the most boring thing a computer can do.

It actually says lifetime warranty on the original carton inside a plastic case of the RAM, but the warranty paper that comes from the computer shop I bought it in says 3 years. I didn't make much noise over that since 3 years is still quite a lot. We'll probably see a switch to DDR3 or something after that time. But even if I would need a warranty after that time perhaps calling on the lifetime warranty would apply.

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