How To Upgrade Your Computer’s Memory

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Hopefully you have done your homework and made sure you purchased the right memory for your particular model and brand of computer. The best place to find out the right part number is the manufacturer’s website. I also like to go to and use their memory selector.
Crucial is a major memory manufacturer and supplier that I trust and have used over the years.

If you have a PC with a tower case then the side panel to your left (if you are facing the machine) is the one that needs to be removed. The panels are usually held on by at least two Phillips style screws. I like to replace these with larger, thumbscrews that are easier to remove and do not require a tool. If you computer case lays flat on the desk there are many ways the cover could come off. Some have spring loaded tabs you depress to release the cover. Most have at least an arrow pointing to the release points. If you are not sure then check with the manufacturer of your computer or the place you purchased it. If those two options are not available there is always

Once the cover is removed, lay the computer on its right side so you do not have to worry about knocking it over and you can see clearer into the computer. Give the computer a good look over to try to familiarize yourself with the layout of components. This is just in case you accidentally bump or move a component while working on your computer.

Carefully move any wires that may be in your view. Sometimes you have to remove a CDROM drive or hard drive or even the power supply to get to the memory sticks. Usually, in this case the parts that are in the way are purposely easier to remove. They usually only have one screw holding them in place and a hinge or slide to move them easily.

Looking at the physical slots for RAM you should notice a clip on either end of the slot. To remove existing RAM you carefully push the clips down and out to the sides.

Before inserting your RAM, make sure you note the position of the notch that is always cut into the edge of the memory stick. This notch matches the tab on the slot like a key to prevent you from inserting the wrong type of memory or from inserting it backwards. Also, if you have old RAM
that came from the particular computer you are working on then lay it next to the new RAM and compare the how they look. It is usually alright if one stick is slightly thicker than the other or the board is a different color but you want to pay careful attention to the length of the stick, the position of the notch and I sometimes count the number of brass or gold colored tabs on the edge of the memory stick to make sure it is the same as the existing memory.

Align the edge of the memory stick with the slot and notch and gently but firmly push it into place. The clips on the ends of the slot should pop up into place by themselves or at least to about 90% of the way. You should be able to easily pull them the rest of the way into place to secure the memory in its slot.

You are finished working inside the case. Reinstall any parts you may have removed to access the memory. Give the computer another good look over to make sure nothing was accidentally moved out of place. Replace the case cover and plug in any wires you may have unplugged to move the computer easier.

Power on the computer and wait a few seconds. You should get a message that pops up on the screen saying that the amount of memory in the computer has changed. Usually you only have to hit a key on the keyboard like F1 to acknowledge the change. Sometimes, but rarely on newer computers, you have to enter the Setup Menu and hit a few more buttons to make the computer auto-detect the new memory. Once this is done the computer should continue through its normal startup process and if no errors occur, you have successfully upgraded the memory in your computer!

Increasing the amount of RAM in your computer is by far the most economical way to increase the speed and compatibility of your system.


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