How to Upgrade Your Laptop RAM: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Upgrade Your Laptop RAM: A Step-by-Step Guide

Is your laptop running slowly? Have you ever had a memory problem? One of the simplest and quickest methods to improve the speed of your laptop is to upgrade its RAM.

We’ll show you which RAM types are compatible with your laptop and how to update your RAM. That is, provided it is upgradeable in the first place, which we will also assist you in determining. RAM that is swappable is simple to replace. So let’s get started.

What Is Laptop RAM and Do You Need More?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory, although it’s also known as physical memory or just memory. RAM is used by your operating system to temporarily store information from ongoing programs and activities. More RAM implies that more processes can run concurrently.

Because the operating system must store the overflow someplace else, a full RAM might create performance concerns. To free up memory for active processes and activities, the system begins to write surplus data to the hard disk, i.e. information from idle processes or tasks (virtual memory).When a user returns to an idle process or job, the system must first free up RAM before retrieving the required item’s data from the hard drive and loading it into RAM. The user suffers latency because hard disk read/write rates are much slower than RAM read/write speeds.

If your laptop routinely freezes while switching from one application to another, boosting laptop RAM will most likely provide your machine a big boost.

This latency has become considerably less of a concern with the introduction of solid state disks (SSDs). While boosting your RAM is probably the simplest approach to solve lag, switching from a hard disk drive (HDD) to an SSD can also improve your laptop’s speed.

How Much RAM Do You Need?

The quantity of RAM you need is determined by what you do with your computer. Furthermore, the quantity of RAM you may add is restricted by the operating system you use.

How Much RAM Can You Have?

A maximum of 4GB RAM is supported by all 32-bit Windows operating systems, including Windows 10. If it describes you, don’t hold back and take as much as you can. If you use a 64-bit Windows edition, the quantity of RAM you may add may be restricted by the motherboard of your laptop.

The following table summarizes the physical memory restrictions for 64-bit Windows versions:

Windows 10

  • Windows 10 Home: 128GB
  • 2TB Windows 10 Pro and Education
  • 6TB Windows Pro Workstation and Enterprise

Windows 8

  • Windows 8: 128GB
  • 512GB for Windows 8 Professional and Enterprise

Windows 7

  • Windows 7 Home Basic: 8GB
  • Windows 7 Home Premium: 16GB
  • 192GB for Windows Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate

This Memory Limits for Windows Releases page provides a comprehensive overview.

Related: How to Upgrade RAM on Your Mac

How Much RAM Do You Have Right Now?

Now that you know how much RAM your operating system can accommodate, let’s see what you presently have.

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To access the Task Manager on Windows, use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. You may also right-click on the Taskbar and choose Task Manager.

Switch to the Performance tab and look at Physical Memory (MB) or Memory. Depending on your Windows version, the precise language will change. Total in Windows 7 displays the amount of RAM that is presently installed on your machine.

The entire amount of available RAM in Windows 10 may be seen in the upper right corner of the Performance tab.

If your total RAM is less than what your system can handle, you should be able to increase. And if your RAM is full, you have another incentive to upgrade. Continue to use your computer while keeping the Task Manager open to monitor how your RAM performs over time.

Use the Performance Monitor to see how much data your system is writing to virtual memory.

  1. Navigate to Start and put “perform” into the search area.
  2. Open Performance Monitor
  3. Click Performance Monitor under Monitoring Tools.
  4. Then, to add another variable, click the green + sign.
  5. Select the file from the list and click Add >>
  6. Click OK and watch

This will give you an idea how much RAM you really need.

In general, 4GB should be plenty for typical online surfing and text editing. If you routinely run numerous apps at the same time and/or have a lot of browser tabs open, aim for 8GB. Look for more if you use memory-intensive apps, which Chrome is one of.

What Type Of RAM Do You Need?

Before you can update your memory, you must first determine which RAM is compatible with your laptop. In Windows 10, the Task Manager’s performance tab displays the kind of RAM that is currently installed on your motherboard.

Consult With Crucial or Kingston

Using Crucial’s Memory Advisory or System Scanner Tool is the most simple method to peek inside your laptop and decide what will fit. You must specify the laptop manufacturer and model for the first, but the latter is an application that analyzes your system and automatically detects suitable components. Both tools may be found on the Crucial website.

Kingston provides a similar service for locating the correct kind of memory. You may do a search based on system/device, memory component number, or memory type. Crucial and Kingston both discovered our first laptop. Unfortunately, one of them did not have removable memory.

We tested a much older laptop, but only Kingston returned data. It advised us that our Acer Aspire 5251 laptop is restricted to a total of 8GB DDR3 1066 or 1333 MHz Non-ECC Unbuffered SODIMM RAM distributed over two sockets under Compatible Memory Upgrades.

If you are unclear about the model of your laptop, we suggest using Crucial’s system scanner. It will display the kind of memory stick you are currently using and propose a new module based on it. For example, an old Sony laptop we had on hand had one 4GB memory stick, so one of the two slots was open.

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Crucial’s system scan detected a DDR3 PC3-10600 RAM stick and offered a respective module. The result came with several notes about things to keep in mind. Kingston on the other hand determined that a DDR3 1333 MHz RAM stick is compatible with our model’s memory slots, but didn’t provide further details or recommendations. The key pieces of information here are DDR3 PC3-10600 and 1333 MHz.

Take Note of You RAM’s Specs

Thewrong type of RAM (e.g. DDR2 instead of DDR3) won’t fit into your laptop. For best results,be sure to match the clock rate of your RAM sticks. In other words, when youbuy an additional RAM stick, make sure its MHz count is identical to the one/s you already have.

Also keep in mind that laptop RAM modules are significantly smaller than those for desktop computer, hence they are called SO-DIMM for small outline dual in-line memory module. Don’t accidentally buy the wrong type of DIMM.

Here is a summary of what you need to know:

  • RAM type, such as DDR, DDR2, or DDR3.
  • The number of MHz supported by your laptop.
  • Physical dimensions (SO-DIMM for laptops)

Obviously, both Crucial and Kingston offer these free tools because they want to sell you their respective RAM modules. And both manufacturers offer good deals and high-quality hardware. However, with the information gathered from their tools, you can safely shop at eBay or Amazon or your local electronics store.

Can You Keep Your Old RAM Module?

Mixing different RAM modulescan cause performance issues due to RAM incompatibilities. In the worst case, your system won’t boot orit might not recognize one of the RAM modules.

If you want to keep the original RAM module, and if you are not comfortable with adjusting settings in the BIOS, you need to find a second module of the exact same make, i.e. same frequency, latency, and voltage.

Sinceit’s too easy to mess this up and because changing BIOS settings to fix incompatibilities can be challenging,we recommend buying a completely new memory kit and removing the old memory stick. It’s the easiest and safest choice.

How CanYou Fix BIOS Settings in CaseYou Have a RAM Mismatch?

If you have two laptop RAM modules with different frequency, latency, or voltage, your BIOS will harmonize the settings and assign the lowest number as the default. That is, if it detects both modules and boots at all. You may overclock your RAM to avoid performance degradation. You do so at your own peril!

Before installing the new RAM, enter your BIOS and see whether you can alter RAM latency, frequency, or voltage. If that is not feasible, see if you can update your BIOS.

Set the higher values of the two modules if you have the ability to adjust your RAM settings. Again, you are doing this at your own risk! Increasing the voltage in particular may harm the hardware. Save and quit the BIOS before continuing as instructed below.

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How Can You Add New RAM Modules?

Important: Before you touch your laptop, disconnect it, turn it off, remove the battery (if feasible), and ground yourself.

Most RAM modules are quite simple to swap out. On the rear of your laptop, you could locate a RAM access hatch. Otherwise, see if you can remove the back panel or keyboard to have access to the RAM. If you can’t find the RAMsticks, check the handbook or the manufacturer’s website.

We recently showed you how to rescue hardware from an ancient HP Compaq nw8440 and where the RAM modules are located and how to release them.

Today, we’ll show you how to perform the same thing with an Acer Aspire laptop. If you have a different model of laptop, we suggest going to the manufacturer’s website to get a handbook or instructions for your computer.

Step 1: Expose the RAM

Find the detachable plastic hatch covering the RAM section. If you have two compartments, the hard drive is most likely in the bigger one. Remove the lid after releasing the screws. This should reveal one or two RAM slots, one or both of which may be filled.

Step 2: Release the RAM Module/s

Pull the clamps on the left and right sides of the RAM module to the side to release it. When the clamp is loosened, it will pop up and you can simply remove it.

Step 3: Insert Your New RAM Module/s

To enter a new RAM module, slip it into the slot at a 45° angle, check that it is completely seated in the slot, and then press it down.

When the little notches on the sides of the RAM module line with the small protrusions of the clamps, you know you’ve placed the modules correctly.

Step 4: Reassemble Your Laptop

And there you have it! Replace the lid, tighten the screw, and restart your computer.

Step 5: Boot Intothe BIOS or Windows

Before booting into Windows, open the BIOS to see whether the RAM was detected and if there are any further settings you may activate.

Ready, RAM, Go

Upgrading your laptop’s RAM is simple and may provide a significant speed boost to your machine. Because most customers run out of RAM before the CPU hits capacity, replacing the RAM is frequently as wise and as effective as upgrading other hardware or purchasing a new computer. Furthermore, it is far less expensive, and you will not have to worry about moving your data.

Still lagging? Tryboosting your laptop’s gaming performance.

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