How to Upgrade the RAM (Memory) on a Laptop

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 Whether your older laptop is feeling sluggish or your newer system starts chocking up when you have too many tabs open, adding more RAM could solve the problem. If your computer doesn't have enough physical memory, it starts swapping data to your hard drive or SSD, which is infinitely slower than even the slowest RAM chip. While not all modern laptops give you access to the RAM, many do provide a way to upgrade your memory.

install memory

If you can upgrade your laptop's memory, it won't cost you much money or time. Moving from 4 to 8GB (the most common upgrade) usually costs between $25 and $55, depending on whether you need to buy the whole amount or just add 4GB. And the process of swapping out RAM chips should take between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on how many screws you have to remove. Here's how to upgrade your laptop's memory.

1. See How Much RAM You're Using

Low memory is often the cause of bottlenecks on a computer, and can lead to not just slow performance but also stability problems. If you're a power user--multitasking across several intensive programs or keeping 30 or so browser tabs open at once--more memory will likely help your system run more smoothly.

You can check your laptop's memory usage in Windows Task Manager. Simply right click the taskbar and select Task Manager  (in Windows 7, hit the Windows key and type "task manager" in the search field). Then, in Task Manager's performance tab, see how much memory is being used out of the total available. You'll also see how many physical memory slots are in use and, thus, how many are available for adding more memory.

task manager

 

You'll get an even more detailed view by clicking on the "Open Resource Monitor" option at the bottom of the Task Manager window and navigating to the Memory tab. Note the screens will look slightly different under Windows 7 (shots below come from Windows 10).

resource monitor
If you're close to or over the amount of physical memory, you know you need more.

2. Find Out if  You Can Upgrade

Unfortunately many laptops have sealed bottoms or memory that's soldered onto the motherboard, both situations which prevent you from upgrade the RAM. It's also possible that the system just can't recognize more than a certain amount of memory and you could already be at the max. To find out whether you can upgrade your RAM, try Crucial's Memory Advisor tool. After entering in your brand and exact model of laptop, you should get a screen that shows the maximum amount of memory and how many slots your laptop has.

Crucial Memory advisor

Crucial also lists memory modules you can buy for your laptop. However, you can get similar DIMMs from other brands as well. Note the speed and type of RAM you need, which is usually either DDR2, DDR3 or DDR4 with a particular speed next to it (ex: "DDR3 PC3-12800").

3. Open the Panel to Locate Your Memory Banks

With your additional memory in hand, it's time to upgrade your laptop memory, a pretty straightforward process. First, turn off your laptop and unplug the power adapter.

Then open the panel on the bottom of your laptop covering the memory banks. (Depending on your system, you might have to unscrew the whole back of the laptop to access the memory and other components.)

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3. Ground Yourself to Avoid Electrostatic Discharge

Before you touch any component in your PC, though, touch any metal surface inside the computer (e.g., the back of the hard drive or a metal connector for another component). This will discharge any potentially damaging static electricity from your body.

4. Remove Memory if Necessary

If all of your memory slots are already filled, you'll need to pull out the existing DIMMs in order to replace them. To remove the memory module, push apart the clips holding it in place. The memory module should pop up at an angle. 

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Then, holding the memory module by its edges--without touching the gold connectors at the bottom, lift the module out.

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5. Install the New Memory Module(s)

Next, insert the new modules into your open slots at a 45-degree angle, with the gold edges facing down. Use even pressure with your fingers at the top of the modules to push them into place. When you hear a click and feel a DIMM snap into place, firmly push the module back until it is installed flat and level, with the clips holding it securely.

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That's it! Power up your laptop and head back to the System Information window or Task Manager to verify your new memory has been added. Enjoy your upgraded memory!

 

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12 comments
  • Marcus Says:

    It's good to see that most laptops still have a special compartment 'trap' door for upgrades, that's what I'm used to. However, only yesterday I had to spent at least a couple hours upgrading the RAM on an Acer Travelmate and you have to take the whole case apart and remove the motherboard. Hopefully in future other laptop manufacterers won't adopt this 'we've made it too difficult for most people to do it, so send it to us for a fee' attitude.

  • daniel destaw Says:

    can i have another tutorial its nice but it t alken about only hardware

  • kasu tayeng Says:

    i have a HCL laptop of 32 bit os with 2.20ghz processor AND 1gb ram ,what type of ram is need and how much gb is need?pleas help

  • Osuji tochi Says:

    Pls help me to upgrade my oldest toshibe ram

  • waisea Says:

    Thanks..
    Question is there no settings you have to change before or after you install your ram..

  • Billy Says:

    That looks way too easy. I will let you know how it worked out within a few days. Thnx.

  • ==terABits== Says:

    i5-5200U, 2.20 GHz, 4gb ram, quad core, NVIDIA GeForce 920M Graphics Card. Please tell me what ram is suitable for my Dell laptop.

  • DEVAJIT MAZHI Says:

    I have a samsung laptop. AMD E1-1200 APU with Radeon(tm) processor HD Graphics 1.40 GHz ,RAM 2 GB,64 bit OS. I want to know what kind of RAM is suitable if I want to upgrade.

  • Dark knight Says:

    One slot in my toshiba c55. Went to 2GB to 4Gb. Major improvement in google use. Using SSD is other gigantic upgrade. From pony to race 🐎 horse

  • Alex Says:

    I have a Lenovo Yoga 2 13. There are not any ram upgrades for this, as i knwo of

  • Daedalus Says:

    Put as much memory as the PC allows and you can afford. There will always be a demand for it now and in the future. I picked up my first laptop in 2009. It was a Lenovo G550. It used a Pentium processor which ran at 2.10 GHz and used 3 GB of memory. It also provided me with 300GB of storage. After a year or so I realized from the alarms that I needed more memory & increased it to 4GB. For a while it helped matters. Then I ran into a problem with some apps that I used. My PC was always overheating. In the end I traced the problem to my internet activity with my browser. The IE from Microsoft is a pig for memory but I was aware of it. What caught me by surprise was the memory that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware used while it covered the internet activity. Malwarebytes is a really fine app. I had picked up its free version & was so impressed that I bought up the complete app. Unlike the free version that's occasionally used, you use the total product all the time. It became as busy as the browser & the laptop was always working. Eventually when I used the browser, I shut down the other apps. Of course I knew that more memory was needed but the G550 only allowed me 4GB. So I couldn't do much about it until I bought my next PC. This year I purchased a laptop with 8GB and a capacity for 16GB. Now I also preferred to use several apps at once on my laptop. You can't do it over a long period of time without memory. There is also another problem. The better apps become the more memory is usually consumed. Sometimes it's wise to pass on upgrades or new software when you don't possess the hardware capacity to handle them. Buy as much memory now as possible & don't get caught short. Also be careful that you buy the right sort of memory. Make sure that it fits into your laptop.

  • harsh Says:

    hello. i've Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4005U CPU @ 1.70GHz, 1701 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s) & dell's laptop . can you tell me which ram will suitable for my laptop?

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