mcelog is the user space backend for logging machine check errors reported by the hardware to the kernel. The kernel does the immediate actions (like killing processes etc.) and mcelog decodes the errors and manages various other advanced error responses like offlining memory, CPUs or triggering events. In addition mcelog also handles corrected errors, by logging and accounting them. It primarily handles machine checks and thermal events, which are reported for errors detected by the CPU.
For more details on what mcelog can do and the underlying theory see mcelog.org.
It is recommended that mcelog runs on all x86 machines, both 64bit (since early 2.6) and 32bit (since 2.6.32).
mcelog can run in several modes:
cronjob is the old method. mcelog runs every 5 minutes from cron and checks for errors. Disadvantage of this is that it can delay error reporting significantly (upto 10 minutes) and does not allow mcelog to keep extended state.
trigger is a newer method where the kernel runs mcelog on a error.
This is configured with:
echo /usr/sbin/mcelog > /sys/devices/system/machinecheck/machinecheck0/trigger
This is faster, but still doesn't allow mcelog to keep state, and has relatively high overhead for each error because a program has to be initialized from scratch.
In daemon mode mcelog runs continuously as a daemon in the background and
wait for errors. It is enabled by running
mcelog --daemon &
from a init script. This is the fastest and most feature-ful.
The recommended mode is daemon, because several new functions (like page error predictive failure analysis) require a continuously running daemon.
- The primary reference documentation are the man pages.
- lk10-mcelog.pdf has a overview over the errors mcelog handles (originally from Linux Kongress 2010).
- mce.pdf is a very old paper describing the first releases of mcelog (some parts are obsolete).
You can run mcelog from systemd or similar daemons. An example systemd unit
file is in
For older distributions using init scripts
Please install an init script by default that runs mcelog in daemon mode.
mcelog.init script is a good starting point. Also install a
logrotated file (mcelog.logrotate) or equivalent when mcelog is running
in daemon mode.
These two are not in make install.
The installation also requires a config file
/etc/mcelog.conf and the default
triggers. These are all installed by
/dev/mcelog is needed for mcelog operation. If it's not there it can be
mknod /dev/mcelog c 10 227
Normally it should be created automatically in udev.
mcelog needs to run as root because it might trigger actions like
page-offlining, which require
CAP_SYS_ADMIN. Also it opens
and an UNIX socket for client support.
It also opens
/dev/mem to parse the BIOS DMI tables. It is careful to close
the file descriptor and unmap any mappings after using them.
There is support for changing the user in daemon mode after opening the device
and the sockets, but that would stop triggers from doing corrective action
In principle it would be possible to only keep
CAP_SYS_ADMIN for page-offling,
but that would prevent triggers from doing root-only actions not covered by
CAP_SYS_ADMIN is not that different from full root)
daemon mode mcelog listens to a UNIX socket and processes requests from
sh mcelog --client. This can be disabled in the configuration file.
The uid/gid of the requestor is checked on access and is configurable
(default 0/0 only). The command parsing code is very straight forward
(server.c). The client parsing/reply is currently done with full privileges
There is a simple test suite in
sh tests/. The test suite requires root to
run and access to mce-inject and a kernel with MCE injection support
CONFIG_X86_MCE_INJECT. It will kill any running mcelog daemon.
Run it with
sh make test.
The test suite requires the
mce-inject executable must be either in
$PATH or in the
You can also test under valgrind with
sh make valgrind-test. For this
valgrind needs to be installed of course. Advanced valgrind options can be
make VALGRIND="valgrind --option" valgrind-test
make iccverify and
make clangverify run the static verifiers in clang
and icc respectively.
This program is licensed under the subject of the GNU Public General License, v.2