Upgrading Your PC’s RAM

One of the most unpleasant aspects of having a computer is that it will eventually be unable to keep up with the demands of your applications. There are a plethora of jokes about a consumer purchasing the quickest equipment on the market only to discover that it has been left behind by the time he gets home. But there is some good news: by boosting your computer’s random access memory, you may help it stay up with the times. Even better, it’s one of the simplest computer adjustments you can do that won’t violate your warranty.

Before we go into the guide, it’s a good idea to understand RAM. RAM is an abbreviation for random access memory. It’s helpful to think about RAM as a large grid, similar to the board in a game of Battleship. Each box in the grid represents a memory cell, and each cell has the ability to store data. If you know what row and column a cell is in, you can access it.

RAM memory cells can have their data rewritten or wiped. That’s one way it differs from read-only memory. The ROM in your computer is hardwired into the circuitry. It holds the data that enables your computer to execute fundamental operations such as booting up the operating system or turning on devices.

RAM allows your computer to run programs. Your computer saves temporary data in memory cells and refers to it while it executes programs. If the information isn’t in your computer’s RAM, it must consult its hard disk. This is slower than retrieving data from RAM. If your computer doesn’t have enough RAM to run many apps or even a single large software, it may feel like it’s crawling along.

Every computer has a maximum amount of RAM that it can accommodate. When you reach that point, you’ve exhausted your hardware’s capabilities. However, unless you’ve modified your system, chances are your computer has plenty of RAM capacity.

Keynotes before you upgrade your RAM

The first step in upgrading your RAM is to gather some information. First, you must determine how much RAM your machine currently has.

If you’re running Windows XP or the latest version of Windows, simply click the Start button on the taskbar. Then, under the menu, select or search the My Computer/This PC option. You must select the “View System Information” option (sometimes listed as Properties). Alternatively, choose Control Panel and then click on the System icon. In any case, this will open a box with numerous tabs. The General tab displays information about your machine and operating system, including the amount of RAM installed.

Follow these steps if you’re using the Windows Vista operating system: Click the Start button, then select Control Panel from the menu. Your next option is System and Maintenance, which is followed by System once more. There, you’ll see a category named Memory (RAM), which displays the RAM on your machine.

What if you have a Mac? Apple has made it simple to determine how much RAM is installed in your machine. In the top left corner of the screen, click the Apple icon. Select the About This Computer option (it may say About This Macintosh). There will be a line that states Total Memory. This is the amount of RAM that your Mac presently has.

Once you’ve determined how much memory your computer has, you’ll need to determine how much it can manage. On the market, there are hundreds of different computers, and not all of them have the same features and limits. It would be hard to list them all here. Fortunately, there are various web resources that maintain track of this data. We recommend using:

  • Crucial
  • Kingston Technology

These resources will inform you not only how much RAM your system can take, but also what type of RAM you can install. RAM chips come in almost as many varieties as computer models. You must match the correct RAM to your computer.

Upgrading the RAM

You’ve done your research. You are aware of how much RAM you have, how much your computer can take, and the type of RAM chip you require for your system. After that, you’ll need to buy the RAM and gather a few tools. In most situations, all you’ll need is a little screwdriver. When in doubt, consult the user manual for your computer.

Before making any changes, check sure your computer is turned off and disconnected. If you’re updating a laptop, it’s a good idea to remove the battery first. Using a screwdriver, open your PC’s casing and find the RAM portion on your computer’s motherboard. If you need assistance, see your user’s handbook. Some laptops even include a separate panel that can be removed to swap out RAM modules.

Before contacting any components within your computer, you should discharge any static energy that has accumulated. The parts within your computer are extremely sensitive to electricity; a brief zap from your hands might harm them. However, discharging static energy is straightforward; simply contact anything metal before proceeding.

If you’re changing RAM modules, you’ll need to remove the ones that are currently installed on your computer. Many computers employ clips to secure RAM. If this is the case, gently raise the clamps to release the RAM modules and lay them aside.

Next, remove your new RAM from its packaging. Take cautious not to touch any of the module’s metal connections or electronics. Align the module with the corresponding slot on your computer. Most PCs feature a notch that will help you install the module appropriately. Press the module into position gently. After you’ve seated the module, shut the clips, reinstall the PC cover, and you’re good to go. If you’re using a laptop, don’t forget to replace the battery. Plugin the PC, switch it on, and check the RAM on your system. You’re good to go if the corrected information is valid. If not, you may have to restart. If the problem persists, turn off the system, unplug it, open it up, and double-check that the module is securely installed.

That’s the only thing there is to it. With additional RAM, your PC will be able to run more apps simultaneously without having to visit the hard disk. While you haven’t boosted your computer’s processing speed, you have decreased the time it takes to search for certain data. It’s a simple and low-cost technique to extend the life of your computer.

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