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I don’t know if you’ve read it already, but I just did a piece on RAM (Random Access Memory). I thought I’d follow-up with this tutorial on how to upgrade your Laptops RAM. Most of us have one time or another upgraded our Desktop Computer (if not, I’ll tell you all about that in a later article). But have you ever tried to do so on a Laptop ? Or, have you backed off, on account of –  it’s so tiny, and therefore must be tough to do ? Well, actually it’s just as easy – or easier even. Here’s how…

How to

Most Laptops have two slots for R.A.M Chips. Netbooks (’cause they are so tiny) usually have one. In this article I’m upgrading a 10″ Netbook. The procedure however  is exactly the same on a larger computer, with more slots available.

Before you proceed…

Essentially, what you need to know, is the Make and Size of the existing R.A.M. If  in doubt, I suggest you remove the Chip before buying a new one. Bring it with you to make sure you purchase the right type. As you know R.A.M Chips are NOT interchangeable.

Foolproof ?!

R.A.M Chips are essentially a little card with tiny transistors on it. Let’s take a quick look at it shall we ? On each side, you’ll find a notch. These hold the chip in place. On the front end you will see a divider. This divider, prevents you from inserting the chip the wrong way. Basically, making it foolproof.

Step 1. Turn the Laptop Over…

First step, remove the battery. There are two sliders one on each side. Pull them to release the battery, and remove it.

Step 2. Locate the R.A.M Cover

On most Laptops the little door covering the Chip is located on the back. Some laptops however, hide them underneath the keyboard. IF that be the case, you will find a latch, hidden just above the top key row (in between the key and edge). Press that in and gently remove the keyboard. Once the cover is removed you will see one or two R.A.M slots. At least one of them contains a R.A.M chip. On each side of the chip there are two levers. Gently press them away from the chip to release it. Now. This is where you bring the Chip to your dealer. Leave everything as is, then come back when you’ve purchased your new R.A.M. NOTE! Read the “last tip” section below, before going shopping. Also NOTE! While the R.A.M is removed from its dock, the computer is rendered useless and will not be functioning. So Don’t even try that.

Step 3. Insert New Chip

Okay, Welcome Back! Did the shopping go well ? Good ! If your laptop has two available slots, insert the old chip into its original socket and the new one in the other. Here’s how: Locate the front hatch and look into the socket to find the divider. Insert the chip into the socket and gently press down until you hear a click. That’s it. If you cannot make it click into place, you’ve managed to insert the card the wrong way (which of course, is literally impossible).

Step 4. Good to Go !

Now, re-attach the cover and fasten it. Insert the battery and you should be good to go. If your Laptop was sluggish with a slow boot – you will most definitively experience an instant improvement.

A few last notes!

  • Some older Laptops might need you to enter the BIOS in order to access the added chip. But most modern laptops, have plug and play functionality which will handle this quite well on its own.
  • IF your Laptop has two R.A.M slots, I suggest you buy TWO new R.A.M chips instead of just one. This will ensure that the chips cooperate perfectly with each other and that you get the most out of your upgrade. If you are on a 32-bit system you may get as much as 4GB of RAM at your disposal (even more on a 64-bit system).
  • [Update] If you add as much as 4GB of RAM to your 32-bit system, you will come across what many believe to be a bug in Windows. When you check System properties after upgrading your RAM, Windows does not show 4GB of RAM available, only 3,25 something. This is because the 32-bit architechture cannot access more than 4GB as TOTAL. Which means that the RAM located on your Graphics Card will overlap with your Computer RAM. Therefor what should have read 4GB + 750MB, is displayed as 3,25GB. In other words, Windows show you the total amount of RAM minus the overlap. Both RAM partitions are being used, so you do get 4GB of RAM available. Not just according to Windows.

Good Luck !



About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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Comments

8 thoughts on “Upgrade your Laptops RAM [How To]”

  1. SRChiP says:

    Although I have 4GB installed in Vista Home Premium, the system only shows 3GB; so I disagree about the “as much as 4GB of RAM”

    1. Thomas says:

      Well, it is a difference between what Windows SHOWS you and what Windows may access. A 32-bit system can only access 4GB of RAM at any given time (Not 4GB + 256K). And Since most graphic cards today comes equipped with it’s own “bag of RAM” there will be a conflict between the two. As long as you don’t install more than 3GB of RAM you won’t notice this conflict.
      What happens is that the RAM on your Graphics card will overlap the same amount on your computers RAM. Thus preventing Windows from seeing it all.

      So you do get 4GB of RAM, but Windows aren’t able to tell you about it.

  2. Thomas_mintywhite says:

    Well, it is a difference between what Windows SHOWS you and what Windows may access. A 32-bit system can only access 4GB of RAM at any given time (Not 4GB + 256K). And Since most graphic cards today comes equipped with it's own “bag of RAM” there will be a conflict between the two. As long as you don't install more than 3GB of RAM you won't notice this conflict.
    What happens is that the RAM on your Graphics card will overlap the same amount on your computers RAM. Thus preventing Windows from seeing it all.

    So you do get 4GB of RAM, but Windows aren't able to tell you about it.

  3. Ang087 says:

    Thanks for the detailed instructions, Thomas. One very important step that needs to be added is to ground yourself by touching one of the metal connectors before installing a new memory module. If you leave the area, ground yourself again when you return to your laptop. I know that when I added the memory modules in my laptop that it was very important that I grounded myself first.

  4. Thomas_mintywhite says:

    Answer to SRChiP:
    Well, it is a difference between what Windows SHOWS you and what Windows may access. A 32-bit system can only access 4GB of RAM at any given time (Not 4GB + 256K). And Since most graphic cards today comes equipped with it's own “bag of RAM” there will be a conflict between the two. As long as you don't install more than 3GB of RAM you won't notice this conflict.
    What happens is that the RAM on your Graphics card will overlap the same amount on your computers RAM. Thus preventing Windows from seeing it all.

    So you do get 4GB of RAM, but Windows aren't able to tell you about it.

  5. Rich says:

    Good tip! Thank you Angie.

Comments are closed.


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