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

Increase your Windows computer's processing power by adding RAM

What to Know

  • Before replacing, look up system memory limitations and research your motherboard compatibility.
  • Replace RAM: Open computer with screwdriver > add RAM to open slots, or remove old RAM and replace.
  • RAM replacement process may differ between desktop and laptop.

This article explains how to replace the Random Access Memory (RAM) in your Windows PC.

Before Replacing the RAM

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

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. A great way to see what kind, and how much, RAM is currently installed is to use a free system information tool.

How to Replace the RAM in a Computer

After you purchase the correct RAM chips for your computer, 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.

See these Important Computer Repair Safety Tips before you begin work inside a computer.

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 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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