If your computer is struggling to cope, adding more Ram can be an inexpensive way to give it a boost. Here's how to do it
Expanding your computer’s Ram (random access memory) is a simple upgrade with instant rewards. It’s a cost-effective way to boost your PC’s performance speeds, and can bring a new lease of life even to older computers.
Put simply, Ram is your computer’s working area. When you open a photo, play a video or launch a program, part or all of the data is temporarily stored in your computer’s Ram, then released back to the hard disk when you’re finished.
This is a fairly simple job that you can do yourself, with the aid of a small screwdriver. Follow our steps below to learn how to add Ram to your computer.
1) Find out what type of Ram you need
It’s important to find out which type of Ram your computer is compatible with before you buy new memory. Crucial, which sells memory in the form of Ram and hard disks, has a handy tool that you can use to find out what Ram your computer takes.
Go to Crucial's home page by clicking here, then scroll down the page until you see these two buttons.
You can either click Select computer if you know the make and model, or you can download the scanning tool by clicking Scan computer. That takes you to a cookie consent page, where you can click Decline all. On the next page, tick I agree to the terms & conditions, and then click Start Your Free Scan.
That downloads a file called CrucialUKScan.exe. Browse to that file (probably in your Downloads file) and double-click it. Grant it permission to run, and it will open up a new browser window and when it's finished it will display what Ram you have installed already and what you can buy to add to your computer.
The scanner tool sometimes explains that the best performance comes from using ‘matched pairs’, which means using two identical Ram modules of the same size and make.
2) Buy new Ram
Don’t feel obliged to purchase the Ram that is offered for sale through the Crucial scanning tool. You might find the same Ram from another vendor or on Amazon or eBay.
It’s worth noting that the Ram you need is sometimes offered in two different varieties, DIMM (usually for desktop PCs) or SO-DIMM (for laptops). Make sure you buy the right type.
Want some more help with speeding up your computer? Our friendly tech team can help you with one-to-one support on a range of tech issues. Find out more here.
3) Open your computer to add Ram
Check the instruction manual that came with your laptop or look on the underside of the device for the Ram bay access panel. You will usually need a small Philips-head screwdriver to open it. Before you do so, switch the computer off, unplug it from the mains and remove its battery. We also recommend unplugging any accessories and using an anti-static wristband during the entire installation process.
With the panel removed, you will be able to see your old Ram. Carefully remove the older modules by lightly releasing the metal or plastic clips until you can slide them out fully. Install the new Ram by lining up its notches with the corresponding notches in the memory slot. Gently push it down until it clicks into place. Screw the access panel back on and restart your computer.