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how to add ram to a laptop

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If you’re dealing with an older laptop that’s feeling a little lackluster with the apps and programs of today, adding RAM could be the solution, increasing the amount of physical memory at your laptop’s disposal rather than having to pull it from your hard drive/SSD. However, before you start opening up your device, not all laptops enable you to upgrade RAM but we’ll get onto how you can see this later.

If you are able to upgrade your laptop’s RAM, it’s an extremely cost-effective way of almost getting the specs of a more expensive laptop without having to shell out hundreds of dollars. Usually, laptop RAM comes in between the $20 and $60 ranges with the price reflecting how high a GB the stick is as well as potentially the brand you’re going for. The go-to selections for most are between 4 and 8GB laptop RAM sticks with the most popular brand for many being Crucial.

Before we go any further, you’ll need to know if your laptop has the capacity for either additional sticks or simply more memory. Let’s get into it.

Check if you can add RAM to your laptop

As alluded to above, not all laptops will accept additional RAM but you can find out if yours is eligible relatively easily.

Unfortunately, if you have a laptop that has a sealed bottom, you’re not going to be able to get to the internals thus not getting access to your RAM and ultimately, not being able to add new sticks in there. This is similarly true if your RAM is soldered to the motherboard, a specialty of Apple Macbooks, meaning you physically can’t take out the RAM and replace it with a beefier version.

If you believe that you have a laptop that has neither of these downsides, you’ll likely be able to swap your current RAM out as well as potentially slotting in additional sticks if available. One quick and easy to identify whether you are able to do either of these is by installing Crucial’s Memory Advisor tool. This will allow you to see the maximum amount of RAM that your laptop can take as well as how many slots are at your disposal, very handy as you won’t have to open up your laptop to find out. All you have to do is input the brand and model of your laptop and the tool will do the rest of the work for you. It’ll also provide you with some buying options based on your results, whether its DDR2, DDR3, or DDR4 alongside the memory speed.

From here, you can now decide whether you want to buy new laptop RAM sticks, maybe higher GB variants, or if simply buying additional memory to slot into the available bays is the best bet.

How to add RAM to a laptop

So, now comes the trickiest part of the whole process, actually adding in your RAM. Obviously, you’ll need to open up your laptop to do this so turn off and unplug it and get your screwdriver at the ready. Ninety percent of the time the screwdriver you’re going to need is a small Philips head but the size may vary so judge it off eye as to which is required. For the other ten percent, you’re probably older Mac owners that don’t have the RAM soldered to the motherboard. In this case, a pentalobe screwdriver is needed and you can pick one up here as you probably won’t have one lying around in your toolbox.

Now, locate where your memory bay compartment is located and unscrew so you can get access to your RAM. At this point, you’re going to want to ‘ground’ yourself touch a metal surface thus discharging yourself from any static electricity.

If you see that all the RAM slots are filled, you need to take them out and replace them with your newly bought upgraded versions. To do this, unclip the latches and the stick should become raised ready for you to take it out. Remove the RAM by clutches the sides, being careful not to touch the gold connectors at the bottom.

Next is to install your new RAM sticks. Slot them in carefully the same way the others came out, at around a 45-degree angle with the connectors facing toward the laptop. Once they’re in place at an angle, press gently and you should hear a ‘click’ sound. Then, push them down so that they’re fully flat and the clips are now holding it in place. You should now have added new RAM to your laptop!

Before screwing the back of your laptop back on, make sure that everything is operating as it should. Turn your laptop on and open up either the System Information window or Task Manager where you should be able to see how much RAM has now been installed into your device. If it’s displaying the correct number then nothing more needs to be done but if not, turn it back off, ground yourself, flip your laptop back over, and double-check they’re in place. If they’re still not functioning correctly, get in touch with the distributor and see if you can return/exchange the RAM sticks as more than likely, they’re faulty. Once everything is resolved or you managed to be successful the first time, screw the back of your laptop back on and you’re good to go with enhanced performance!

If adding new RAM to your laptop hasn’t provided the oomph you need, you can find some other tips and tricks in our how to speed up your laptop article. Also, adding RAM probably means you’re going to be increasing the number of tasks your laptop’s handling thus potentially heating it up. If you do experience this, head over to our how to cool down a laptop article where again, you’ll be provided with a number of strategies to help you out.

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