Remove or Replace Memory... Or install more memory

Sometimes more RAM will make a slow computer act like it is brand new.

As I point out in numerous other places on this web site RAM can be the cheapest upgrade you buy for your computer.

So how do you go about either adding new, remove or replace memory in your computer?

First you need to insure you are buying the correct memory for your computer. Research will insure you are not wasting your time or money on something that will not work or worse yet damage your computer!

When I need to find a memory module for a computer I use Kingston.com to find the correct memory for the computer I am working on. Kingston.com has a very nice search function, you put in the computer manufacture or motherboard manufacture and the model number then Kingston gives you the options for the computer or motherboard.

Remove or Replace Memory Instructions:

Once you have the memory you are almost ready to begin. I say almost because you should observe some safety precautions before opening the package the memory is in and the computer case.

  1. Disconnect the power cord.
  2. Use a grounding strap to ground yourself.
  3. Laptops remove the battery

ESD (Electro Static Discharge) will kill your new memory module before you get a chance to install it.

Remove or replace memory for Desktops -

If you can open the case where it sits and work comfortably then you will not need to disconnect any cables just the power cord. Otherwise move the computer to an area where you can see in side the case.

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Depending on the memory you have purchased and the amount of memory you have installed in the computer you may have to remove the old memory before you install the new memory. If you take the old memory out of the computer be careful with it, you may have to put it back in. Normally I put any parts I take out of a computer in an anti-static bag or package.

Open the case, you are looking for the memory slots, like this -

The arrows show the locks for the socket in the memory module notches locking the module in place, press down on both of the white tabs to unlock the module.
The arrows show the locks for the socket

To remove or replace memory to take out old memory out you just press the locks on each end of the socket, this will unlock the memory then you can lift it out and set it aside.

Take the new memory module (one at a time if you have more than one) out of the package, note the slot in the memory between the little copper connectors. This slot is off set from center, the reason that the slot is off set is to keep the memory from being inserted in the slot the wrong way (this would burn up the memory!)

If there isn't any memory in the slot, press the white tabs down out of the way, insert the module with the slot in the correct position, the white arrow shows the where the slot and tab match up.
The white arrow shows the where the slot and tab match up.

Note: On motherboards that have channels the slots will be different colors, the off white slots in this image are Channel A and the black are Channel B. Different motherboard manufactures may use other colors but the channels will be color coded.

Set the memory in the socket, the sockets have slots on each end with a little lock that when you insert it and push down on the memory module they will pivot inward, press down until you hear a distinctive 'click'. You should press with both hands, one on each end of the memory module. This will insure the memory module goes in to the slot evenly.

If you have more than one module it would be better to test one module at a time.

Before powering up the computer for testing the new memory module put the case cover back on. If you have a problem this will preclude you from reaching inside the computer while it is powered up. Touching components while the computer is powered up could cause damage to the computer or kill you!

That is install one module, check your work and then power up the computer. If the computer doesn't start then the module may not be seated, it may be the wrong module for the motherboard, or it may even be a bad module.

(If you change a memory module and the computer beeps then the module is wrong, check the beep code - long and short beeps from the computer speaker - against the manufactures beep code listing. You may have to search the manufactures web site for the code if it isn't listed in the motherboard/computer owners manual).

If the first module tests good then install the next module, then test. And so forth for any more modules. Once all the memory has tested good then put case cover on permanently and then if you moved the computer put it back, reconnect the cables, test, done.

Enjoy your faster desktop!

Remove or replace memory for Laptops -

Before starting check your owners manual for the location of the memory, or if you don't have a manual check the manufactures web site for documentation.

Remove or replace memory module in a laptop involves a few more steps than a desktop.

  1. Disconnect the AC Adapter.
  2. Remove the Battery.
  3. Remove the cover for the memory.

Depending on the laptop the memory could be -

  • Under the keyboard
  • Under a little panel on the underside of the computer
  • Under a panel in the battery bay.

Once you have the panel off look at the memory already installed.

Some manufactures stack the memory one on top of the other, some sockets are facing each other. Normally there will only be room for two memory modules. If you  already have two modules and are upgrading you may have to remove one or both of them.

The arrows show the spring locking clips that hold the module in place.
The arrows show the spring clips that hold the module in place.

To remove or replace memory module there normally are two little 'spring' clips on the edge of the memory, press them outwards away from the memory, the memory module should 'pop' up that is move upwards from the socket, if not lift it gently upwards. Next pull the module out of the slot. Some slots will have tension on the pins inside and will take a little pressure to pull them out. Set the old module aside, use care with handling the module, you may need it if the new memory doesn't work!

With computers you can also use the smaller condensed "Check list" to accomplish a single repair task.

Take one (if you have two) of the new memory module out of the package and align the slot in the module with the tab in the socket. Once you have the memory inserted use a little more pressure to press the module in the slot then down to lock the module in the socket.

You can test the laptop with the memory module cover off because it will be inaccessible when you power it up.

I would suggest you use AC power to test your new memory not the battery.

Power up the computer, did it start? Yes, power down the computer, disconnect the AC Adapter, put in the next module then test.

No then disconnect the  AC power adapter, check your work, retest. Did it start? Yes then put in the next module.

No, then either the memory module is bad or the wrong part, try the other module, if it starts the module was bad. If it doesn't start then the memory is wrong type for your computer.

Once the tests are done reassemble the computer.

Enjoy your faster laptop!

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