Is your laptop old, slow, and the hardware has never been updated? Working on a slow computer can be a real drag. However, before you buy a brand new one, you should think about how to give an old friend a new life. Give your old laptop a new life. donate to the old and decide whether to upgrade or repair your laptop. . In addition to a fresh Windows installation, a RAM memory upgrade and adding an SSD to acquire a solid state quite simple and can make a big difference!

Not sure if you can update the hardware yourself? Don’t worry, it’s probably not as difficult as it might seem. While not every part of a laptop is easily accessible, laptop RAM is often very easy to replace. Check if your laptop has a RAM access hatch on the back or if the back cover or keyboard can be easily removed to open it. If this is not immediately visible, refer to the manual or the manufacturer’s website. Once you know how to physically access the RAM, the hardest part is figuring out how much RAM you need and what type of RAM is compatible with your laptop. So let’s go over the basics and see what you really need before we dive into the real craft.

What is laptop RAM and do I need more?

RAM means R andom A ccess M emory. This is also known as physical memory; Virtual memory is explained in the next paragraph. RAM is used to temporarily store information about running processes and tasks. The more RAM available, the more processes can run at the same time.

Performance issues occur when available RAM is exhausted. To free up memory for active processes and tasks, the system starts writing redundant data, that is, information about idle processes or tasks, to the hard disk (virtual memory). When the user returns to an inactive process or task, the system must first free up RAM, then fetch the requested item’s data from the hard drive and load it into RAM. Since the read/write speed of the hard drive is much lower than the read/write speed of RAM, the user experiences lag.

If you often experience lag when you want to switch from one program to another, adding laptop RAM will probably boost your system a lot.

laptop RAM

How much RAM do I need?

It depends on what you do with your computer and the amount you can add is limited by the type of operating system you have.

All 32-bit Windows operating systems support up to 4 GB of RAM. Windows 7 Home Basic 64-bit is limited to 8 GB of RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit can use up to 16 GB of RAM. All other 64-bit versions of Windows 7 support up to 192 GB of RAM. The regular 64-bit version of Windows 8 is limited to 128 GB of RAM, while the Professional and Enterprise editions support up to 512 GB of RAM. A full overview can be found on this page Memory limits for Windows editions.

Now that you know the maximum amount of RAM supported by your operating system, let’s find out what you currently have. On Windows, press the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [ESC]to open Task Manager. Go to the » Performance and check what it says under » Physical Memory (MB)» . Total shows the amount of RAM installed on your system.

upgrade laptop ram

If your total RAM is less than what your system supports, you have room to upgrade. And if your RAM is depleted, you have a reason to upgrade. Keep Task Manager open and see how your RAM works over time as you continue to use your computer.

You can evaluate how much information is being written to virtual memory by using Performance Monitor. On Windows 7 go to START enter execute in the search field and open system monitor . In chapter » Monitoring Tools» click » Performance Monitor» then click the green icon +, to add another variable. Select swap file from the list and click the button Add >> at the bottom. Click OK and look. This will give you an idea of ​​how much RAM you really need.

upgrade laptop ram

As a general rule, 2-4 GB should be enough for normal web browsing and text editing. 8 GB if you run multiple programs at the same time and/or leave many browser tabs open. More only if you run memory-intensive programs.

What type of RAM do I need?

Before you can upgrade memory, you need to find out what type of RAM is compatible with your laptop. The most convenient way to look into your laptop and determine what will fit is to use memory tips. or Crucial system scanner. For the first one, you need to specify the manufacturer and model of the laptop, and the first one is an executable file that scans your system and automatically detects the corresponding hardware. Both tools are available on the Crucial home page.

upgrade laptop ram

Kingston offers a similar service for finding the type of memory you need. You can search by system/device, memory part number or memory type. Unlike Crucial, Kingston actually listed my laptop model and recommended a compatible module.

upgrade laptop memory

If you are unsure of your laptop model, I recommend running the Crucial System Scanner. It will show you what type of memory card you are using right now and recommend a new module based on it. My laptop, for example, has one 4 GB memory card, so one of the two slots is available.

upgrade laptop memory

The Crucial scanning system detected the DDR3 PC3-10600 flash memory and suggested the corresponding module. As a result, there are a few notes on things to keep in mind. Kingston, on the other hand, determined that the 1333MHz DDR3 memory card was compatible with my model’s memory slots, but did not provide further information or recommendations.

The key information here is DDR3 PC3-10600 and 1333 MHz. Wrong type of RAM (e.g. DDR2 instead of DDR3) will not work for your laptop. And for optimal results, be sure to purchase RAM with the appropriate clock speed (the number of MHz is the same as what you already have). Also be aware that laptop RAM modules are significantly smaller than desktop modules, which is why they are referred to as SO-DIMMs for a standard memory module. Don’t accidentally buy the wrong type of DIMM.

Here is a summary of what you need to know:

  • Type of RAM, i.e. DDR, DDR2 or DDR3
  • Number of MHz supported by your laptop
  • Physical size (SO-DIMM for laptops)

Obviously both Crucial and Kingston offer these free tools because they want to sell you their respective RAM modules. And both manufacturers offer great deals and quality equipment. However, thanks to the information provided by their tools, you can shop safely on eBay or Amazon or your local electronics store. I bought my Kingston 8GB RAM kit from Amazon.

upgrade laptop memory

Theoretically, I could upgrade to 8GB of RAM by adding an additional 4GB module. However, this can cause performance issues due to RAM incompatibility. In the worst case, your system will not boot or one of the modules will not be recognized. If you want to keep the original RAM module, and if you are not comfortable with the settings in the BIOS, you need to find a second module of exactly the same brand, i.e. with the same frequency, latency and voltage. Because it’s too easy to screw up, and changing BIOS settings to fix an incompatibility can be tricky, you’ll often hear the recommendation to buy a brand new memory kit and take out the old memory card. This is the easiest and safest choice.

How can I fix BIOS settings in case of memory mismatch?

If you have two laptop RAM modules with mismatched frequency, latency, or voltage, your BIOS will match the settings and default to the lower value. This is if it recognizes both modules or loads at all. To prevent performance loss, you can overclock your RAM. Do it at your own risk!

Before adding new RAM, boot into the BIOS and see if you can adjust the RAM latency, frequency, or voltage. If this is not possible, find out if you can update the BIOS.

If the RAM settings can be changed, set the two modules to higher values. Again, you overclock your RAM at your own risk! Especially overvoltage can damage the equipment. Save and exit BIOS and continue as described below.

How to add new memory modules?

Once you have new RAM modules in your hands, you have nowhere to run. Now you must lay hands on your laptop and add new hardware. The exact procedure will depend on your laptop model. I previously demonstrated how to salvage hardware from an old HP Compaq nw8440 and showed where the RAM modules are and how to free them. ,

Today I will briefly show you how to do the same with a Sony Vaio VPCCB laptop. If you have a different laptop model, I recommend visiting the manufacturer’s website to find the manual or instructions for your device. Before disassembling the laptop, make sure it is turned off, unplug the power cable, remove the battery (if it’s removable), and ground yourself.

Locate the removable plastic cover that covers the RAM compartment. There are usually two compartments; the larger one holds the hard drive. Loosen the screw on the smaller cover and remove it. This should reveal one or two RAM slots, of which one or both may be full. To release the module, pull both sides of the frame to the left and right.

How to upgrade laptop RAM step by step Sony Vaio VPCCB RAM

To insert a new RAM module, insert it into the slot at a ~45° angle, make sure it is actually in the slot, then push it in. In my case, the top slot will resist the RAM module until I find the right angle first. From the bottom, however, the module just popped in when I pushed it in and down at the same time.

How to upgrade laptop RAM, insert RAM step by step

You know you’ve inserted the modules correctly when the small notches on the sides of the RAM module align with the small protrusions on the frame.

How to upgrade laptop RAM, step by step installed RAM

That’s all! Replace the cover, tighten the screw, and boot up the computer.

You can enter the BIOS before booting into Windows to check if RAM has been recognized and if there are additional options you can enable. My new RAM was recognized fine and there were no additional options to choose from.

laptop RAM


The procedure for upgrading laptop RAM is simple, technically straightforward, and can greatly improve the performance of your system. Because most users max out RAM before the processor reaches capacity, upgrading memory is generally smarter and just as efficient as purchasing a new computer. Plus, it’s much cheaper and you don’t have to worry about data transfers. There are also some tips on how to clear memory and increase the amount of RAM on a Windows computer.

Have you ever upgraded computer hardware yourself and what was your experience?

Image Credit: Snail on Keyboard via Shutterstock

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