Diagnostic Tools for Linux

My Winxx box has been crashing hard lately, and I haven’t the slightest clue why. Up until tonight I didn’t care (too much) because rebooting it “made it all go away…” Well tonight it finally wouldn’t boot at all, before I even had the option to hit F8 it said that it couldn’t load the kernel: “could not load kernel. reason: load dlls failed, contact your support person.” Not even a BSOD– just right after POST it would display this error.

In an effort to recover I downloaded the Linux Crash Recovery Kit ISO (www.crashrecovery.org) and was impressed how quickly I had a working system up and running. I mounted my NTFS partition, enabled the networking stack, and ftp’d all my important files over to my [mac] laptop. Whoot.

Now I want to know what went wrong. Was this some Windoze snafu or do I have a piece of failing hardware? I went on a search for linux hardware diagnostic tools and came up pretty dry. The only thing I’ve found that remotely ressembles hardware diagnosis is the linux “badblocks” tool, which comes standard on most all linux distributions. Running badblocks -s -v -w /dev/hdxx will run a complete read/write scan of your harddrive.

The linux community needs to make a thorough diagnostics suite. A simple RAM read/write scanner, IO port checker and CPU stresser would make a very nice self-boot ISO distribution!

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