Running MemTest86+ over PXE

Previously, we looked at Setting up a PXE environment for OS installations. This post will build on that by adding the MemTest86+ to the PXE environment, so you can easily run memory checks on network-connected machines.

This will be a really easy one. First, download the MemTest86+ binary into your /tftpboot directory and decompress it:

cd /tftpboot
gzip -d memtest86+-4.20.bin.gz

Edit the /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default file to add this menu entry for MemTest

LABEL memtest86plus
    MENU LABEL MemTest86+ 4.20
    linux memtest86+-4.20.bin

That's it, you should now be able to run MemTest over the network.

PXELINUX File Extensions

One extra thing to point out in case you're interested...

The PXELINUX menu entry above says linux memtest86+-4.20.bin instead of kernel memtest86+-4.20.bin because when you use the kernel keyword, PXELINUX looks at the file extension '.bin' and treats the file like a CD boot sector (which it is not in this case). When I tried kernel I just got a stream of:


on the screen over and over. Alternatively, you could rename the MemTest file to something without the .bin extension, such as memtest86p420 and then say kernel memtest86p420 and it would work.

The SYSLINUX wiki mentions this on the Common Problems page.