Upgrade the Memory in Your PC - dummies

By Dan Gookin

If your PC is running slow, it may need a RAM (random access memory) upgrade. Most programs assume that your computer will have at least 2 GB RAM. If you have less then that or you are trying to run programs that require even more memory, it’s time to add memory chips to your PC.

Configure the memory

The easiest way to know what kind of memory you need is to use a computer program to determine how much memory is installed in your computer and how best to update. Computer programs can figure out this stuff without the need to open the computer case.

One program that works well for this purpose can be found at www.crucial.com, which also, coincidentally, sells computer memory. Visit the web-site. Use the Crucial system scanner tool; follow the directions on the web page. Eventually, it tells you exactly how to upgrade your PC’s memory.


Install the memory

After you figure out what kind of memory you need and make that purchase, the final step is to install the memory. Here are the general steps to take:

  1. Open the console.

  2. (Optional) Remove any old memory if necessary.

    1. Locate the DIMMs you want to remove.

    2. Push the hooks on the ends of the DIMM.

      By pushing the hooks out and down, you free the DIMM from the slot.

    3. Pull out the DIMM and gently set it aside.

    4. Repeat these substeps for any additional DIMMs you need to remove.

  3. Push down the clips on both ends of the memory bank slots.


  4. Remove the memory from its protective, antistatic bag.

    Avoid touching the metal edge on the DIMM, the part that’s inserted into the slot.

    If you’re removing DIMMs, take the ones you removed and store them in the protective bag that held the new DIMMs.

  5. Ground yourself by touching the case at the same time as you handle the DIMMs.

  6. Line up the DIMM with the slot.

    There are notches on the DIMM. There are keys on the slot. The notches and keys must match in order to prevent you from accidentally plugging the DIMM in backward.

  7. Gently push the DIMM into the slot.

    If you’re successful, the clips on either end of the DIMM automatically snap into position. Otherwise, lift the clips to complete anchoring the DIMM into its slot.

    The clips must be in the fully upright and locked position.

  8. Repeat Steps 3 through 7 for each DIMM you’re installing.

  9. Double-check everything!

  10. Close the console.

Turn the computer on. You should have no trouble, no messages, no nothing; the computer instantly recognizes and uses the extra memory.

  • Refer to Video 186 for a demonstration of installing and removing DIMMs:

  • DIMMs are clipped to anchor them into their memory bank slots. Unlike other internal PC expansion options, DIMMs rarely pop out and need reseating. In the olden days, however, when memory chips were manually pushed into sockets, DIMMs occasionally wiggled out and required reseating.