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How to Install RAM in Your Laptop

The general process of installing memory modules, or RAM, in a laptop is very similar from one brand to another; today, nearly every laptop design places an access panel on the bottom of the laptop and uses similarly latching sockets. The description used here is for the Toshiba Satellite P205 laptop.

You first want to make sure that the laptop has no electrical power and is cool and stable. Take these steps:

  1. Turn off the computer using the Windows shut-down process.

    Keep in mind that you lose stored data if you use Sleep or Hibernation mode.

  2. Unplug the AC adapter cable that runs to the laptop.

    Why remove the AC adapter and the battery before installing memory modules? First of all, plugging them in while power is on could result in damage to the RAM. Secondly, doing any work on a laptop while power is applied could result in a damaging spark.

  3. Remove the battery.

  4. Disconnect any other cabling to the laptop, including an Ethernet cable or a telephone modem wire.

    If the laptop has been running recently, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes; memory modules can become quite hot when they are in use.

  5. Locate a small Phillips-head screwdriver.

    This is the screwdriver with an X-shaped head.

  6. Place a soft cloth or other protective mat on a desktop.

  7. Turn the laptop over so that its bottom is facing up.

  8. Locate the memory module slot cover.

    The illustration above shows the proper technique for removing the memory module slot cover on the
    Credit: Courtesy of Toshiba America, Inc.
    The illustration above shows the proper technique for removing the memory module slot cover on the bottom of a laptop.
  9. Carefully remove the screw that holds the cover over the memory compartment.

    Hold the screwdriver at a right angle to the bottom of the laptop and turn the screw carefully; it shouldn’t require a lot of force to remove. Once the screw is removed, put it in a safe place. Use a piece of clear tape to attach it to the desktop or the side of the computer.

  10. Ground yourself before touching the memory module.

    Touch any grounded metal surface, like a light stand, or touch the center screw on an electrical outlet.

  11. Carefully remove a new memory module from its packaging.

    Avoid touching the connectors; doing so can reduce conductivity because of oils on your finger.

  12. Locate an empty module slot.

    If two sockets are in the compartment and the top one is filled and the bottom is empty, remove the top module first.

  13. Pick up the memory module by its sides and aim its connectors toward the socket.

    Be sure to align the notch in the connector with the matching key in the socket. See the figure below.

  14. Slide the module into place.

    Align the notch in the connector of the memory module with the corresponding key in the socket. [Cr
    Credit: Courtesy of Toshiba America, Inc.
    Align the notch in the connector of the memory module with the corresponding key in the socket.

    Most sockets align at about a 30-degree angle.

  15. Once the module is fully inserted into the socket, press down on the top edge of the device to latch it into place.

    This way it’s flat to the laptop’s bottom. The carrier should snap into place with latches. See the following figure.

  16. Replace the memory compartment cover and lock it down with the screw.

    Gently push the module, in its carrier, back to a flat position on the bottom of the laptop. It sho
    Credit: Courtesy of Toshiba America, Inc.
    Gently push the module, in its carrier, back to a flat position on the bottom of the laptop. It should gently latch into place.

    Don’t over tighten the screw.

Here’s what you do after installing memory:

  1. Reinstall the main battery.

  2. Turn the laptop right side up.

  3. Reattach the AC adapter cable and other connections.

  4. Restart the computer.

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