How to Increase Computer Memory

By Jedadiah Casey

Your computer relies on Random Access Memory, or RAM, for temporary high-speed storage to operate from. RAM is much more expensive per gigabyte than hard drive space, because it is so much faster. RAM is also volatile, meaning its contents are lost after the computer is powered off. Over time, your computer's performance may slow down as large programs are loaded onto the computer. Unless you're maxed out on RAM, you can increase your computer's memory by installing new RAM modules.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Knowledge of the RAM type you need

Step 1

Power off and unplug the computer. Remove the battery if you are working on a laptop computer.

Step 2

Remove the side cover of the computer case, or the memory slot cover of a laptop. Laptops and most desktops use screws, while some desktops feature a movable lever.

Step 3

Insert the memory into an available slot. The memory is notched so that it may be inserted in a single direction only. If no memory slots are available, remove the existing memory by gently prying apart the plastic or metal retention clips. The new memory should gently snap into place.

Step 4

Replace the side cover or memory slot cover and power on the computer. The new memory is recognized by the computer automatically.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never force memory into the slot.
  • Refer to your computer's specifications to determine which type of memory to acquire.
  • As of 2011, the most common memory types are DDR2 and DDR3. Desktops tend to use full-size sticks of memory, while laptops use SO-DIMMs, which are smaller versions of the full-size sticks.
  • Discharge static electricity from your body by touching something metal before beginning this procedure.