How to Replace the Memory (RAM) in Your Windows Computer

Increase your Windows computer's processing power by adding RAM

If your Windows PC is running slowly or if you can't run certain software on it or upgrade its operating system, increasing the computer's random access memory (RAM) may help.

The type of RAM you need depends on the make and model of your computer and whether it's a desktop or a laptop. In addition, the computer's motherboard has strict requirements for which generation of RAM it will accept. So, be sure to look up the specifications for your machine. You also need to know which slots on the motherboard and in which combinations you can install the RAM modules.

RAM memory chip

Before Replacing the RAM

See the links at the bottom of this page to get right into the upgrade process, but only if you're sure you're ready.

If you're not sure if you need to upgrade, consider freeing up the memory you already have. There might just be unnecessary strain on the memory that you can clear away to essentially "get more RAM" for free.

If you are confident that the physical RAM sticks need to be replaced, see our laptop memory buyer's guide and desktop memory buyer's guide for information on how much memory is enough, limitations, the RAM types that are available, and more.

Finally, to ensure you get the best RAM for your particular setup, make sure the memory is compatible with your motherboard.

How to Replace the RAM in a Computer

After you purchase the correct RAM chips for your computer, you open the computer and add them to empty slots intended for RAM chips, or you remove the old chips and replace them with new chips.

The specific steps necessary to replace the memory in your computer depends on whether you are replacing the RAM in a desktop or laptop computer.

Below are links to illustrated guides that walk you through the process of replacing the RAM in your computer:

Replacing memory is a simple task that anyone with a screwdriver and a little patience can easily complete in less than 15 minutes.

See our Motherboard RAM Slots piece for more on how to use desktop and laptop RAM slots.

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