Expand RAM on a PC

Table of contents:

Expand RAM on a PC
Expand RAM on a PC
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Does your computer need a boost? Upgrading your RAM is one of the cheapest ways to improve your computer's performance, although it won't solve all the problems of slow computers. If you want to install new RAM, you will need to know what kind of memory your computer supports. When it's time to install it, you can have the whole thing done in minutes.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: Expanding RAM in your desktop computer

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 1

Step 1. Determine what kind of RAM is suitable for your motherboard

Different motherboards support different RAM speeds. You need a type that is supported by your motherboard, otherwise you could have serious problems with your computer's performance. Consult your computer's documentation or look it up online to see which types of RAM are suitable.

  • RAM for regular computers is available at the time of writing as DDR (Double Data Rate), DDR2, and DDR3. DDR is extremely uncommon in modern computers; most modern computers use DDR2 or DDR3. You will need to use the type that your motherboard supports.
  • RAM is measured by two different numbers: PC/PC2/PC3 and the speed in MHz. The PC number (eg PC3 10600) refers to the maximum 'bandwidth' or the maximum amount of data that can be transferred at the same time (eg 10600 = 10.6 GB maximum bandwidth). The clock speed of the RAM, a measure of the speed at which the RAM can perform functions, is indicated by the number after the DDR specification (eg DDR3 1333 = 1333 MHz).
Increase the RAM on a PC Step 2

Step 2. Open the case of your computer

This allows you to inspect the RAM slots for yourself and find out which modules are currently installed, making it easier to choose new RAM.

See wikiHow for more detailed information about opening your computer

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 3

Step 3. Determine how many sockets your motherboard has available for RAM

The number of sockets available affects the RAM you can add. If you want to try an upgrade, but all your sockets are occupied, you will need to remove some modules in order to add new ones.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 4

Step 4. Check your motherboard's documentation to determine how much RAM it supports

In addition to the number of physical modules that can fit in your motherboard, there is usually a limit to the size of memory your motherboard can support in gigabytes (GB).

Your operating system may also limit the amount of RAM it can use. If you are using a 32-bit version of Windows, you cannot use more than 4 GB of RAM. A 64-bit computer basically has no real limit

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 5

Step 5. Check the specifications of the RAM present

If you are planning to expand the installed memory in addition to the existing, old modules, you will have to make sure that the speed of all modules is equal.

If you plan to replace the old RAM, make sure that the specifications of the new RAM are the same and suitable for your motherboard

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 6

Step 6. Purchase the RAM in pairs

Most motherboards require that the RAM be installed in equal pairs, otherwise performance will be drastically reduced.

For example, if you want to install 16 GB, you will need to purchase 4 GB or two 8 GB modules

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 7

Step 7. Make sure you are grounded

Before you start removing old modules and installing new ones, make sure you are properly grounded. This prevents damage from static discharge. You can ground yourself by using an electrostatic wrist strap and attaching it to the computer case, or by touching a metal water tap.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 8

Step 8. Remove the existing modules (if necessary)

If you are removing the old modules to make room for larger memories, or taking them out to upgrade to faster memory, you can quickly remove them by releasing the clips on each end of the module. When the clips are loose, the RAM will rise slightly and you can easily pull it out.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 9

Step 9. Remove the new modules from their protective plastic bag

Make sure you only touch the RAM from the side, so that no skin fat gets on the contacts or the circuit.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 10

Step 10. Align the notch of the new module with the opening in the RAM slot

RAM can only be placed in one direction, so make sure the slot and module are aligned.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 11

Step 11. Push the module firmly into the slot

Apply even pressure to the module, but do not force it. The notches on both sides will click into place when the memory is properly installed.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 12

Step 12. Install the other appropriate module

Make sure the matching pair is installed in the correct slot pair. Most slot pairs that belong together are labeled in different colors or have a label printed on the motherboard. Your motherboard documentation should also have a schematic.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 13

Step 13. Finish installing your RAM and shut down your computer

Install the rest of the modules, making sure all pairs fit together, then close your computer case. Reconnect your devices and external equipment.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 14

Step 14. Turn your computer back on

If your computer boots normally, chances are everything is fine. You can check if your operating system recognizes the RAM by opening the system properties window:

Windows – Press ⊞ Win+Pause

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 15

Step 15. Troubleshoot your RAM

If your computer won't boot after installing the RAM, if you encounter errors or experience other problems, check wikiHow for a solution.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 16

Step 16. Speed ​​up your computer without installing new RAM

There are many maintenance tasks that you can perform on your computer to significantly improve the performance of your PC without spending a dime. See wikiHow for detailed instructions.

Method 2 of 3: Expanding RAM on your laptop

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 17

Step 1. Determine which types of RAM your laptop supports

Usually a laptop will be much more limited than a desktop when it comes to upgrading RAM. In most cases, you can install less memory, and most laptops have no more than two slots available for memory. In general, you can find the supported memory types in the documentation or on the manufacturer's support site.

  • Laptops use SODIMM modules, which are smaller than the standard memories used in desktops.
  • RAM is indicated by two different numbers: the PC/PC2/PC3 number and the speed in MHz. The PC number (eg PC3 10600) refers to the maximum 'bandwidth' or the maximum amount of data that can be moved at one time (eg 10600 = 10.6 GB maximum bandwidth). The clock speed of the RAM, a measure of the speed at which the RAM can perform functions, is indicated by the number after the DDR designation (eg DDR3 1333 = 1333 MHz).
Increase the RAM on a PC Step 18

Step 2. Turn off your laptop and disconnect all cables

This includes the adapter, USB devices and other devices.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 19

Step 3. Remove the panel that allows you to access the RAM modules

This may be indicated by a small image representing RAM modules, or you should refer to your laptop's documentation.

Not all laptops allow access to or upgrade the RAM

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 20

Step 4. Remove the original modules

Chances are that due to the limited space you can't do anything but remove the original RAM modules. Release the clip on the side of the socket and the module will be pushed out at a slight angle. Lift the module out of the socket at an angle of approximately 45°.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 21

Step 5. Remove the new modules from their protective plastic bag

Make sure you only touch the RAM from the side, so that no skin fat ends up on the contacts or the circuit.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 22

Step 6. Install your new modules

Make sure the new module is aligned with the notch in the RAM socket. Press it down firmly, then press the RAM down into the case so that it lies flat. The clip will click shut.

Unlike desktop RAM, most SODIMMs do not need to be placed as equal pairs. However, the speeds must match

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 23

Step 7. Reattach the panel and turn on your laptop

If the laptop boots up as usual, there's a good chance that everything went well. You can check if your operating system recognizes the memory by going to the system properties window:

Windows – Press ⊞ Win+Pause

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 24

Step 8. Troubleshoot your RAM

If your laptop won't boot after installing RAM, encounters errors, or other problems, check out wikiHow for a solution to your problem.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 25

Step 9. Speed ​​up your computer without installing new RAM

There are many maintenance tasks that you can perform on your computer to significantly improve the performance of your laptop without spending a dime. See wikiHow for detailed instructions.

Method 3 of 3: Troubleshoot new RAM

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 26

Step 1. Make sure all your modules are compatible with your motherboard

If you install RAM that is not compatible with your motherboard, chances are the computer will not boot properly. In that case, remove modules one by one until you find a setup that will allow you to boot.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 27

Step 2. Make sure all your modules have the same speed

Mismatched speeds can cause performance issues and even boot problems. Make sure all your RAM is at the same speed.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 28

Step 3. Check if your operating system is compatible

If you try to install more than 4 GB of RAM with a 32-bit version of Windows, any memory above 4 GB will not be recognized or used. To use more than 4 GB of RAM, you will need to upgrade to the 64-bit version of Windows, which requires a 64-bit processor.

Increase the RAM on a PC Step 29

Step 4. Test your RAM with Memtest

Memtest is a program to test your RAM modules that runs during Windows startup. It can let you know if one of the memories is malfunctioning. See wikiHow for detailed instructions on how to download and run Memtest.

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