How to Add more memory to your PC?

Upgrade your computer by installing memory, without paying for expert help


Shut down your PC then remove the power cable and all the other cables. To gain access to the memory, you’ll usually need to remove a side panel. This may be fastened by two or three screws along the edge at the rear – then the side panel will slide off.

Some PCs have a spring catch to release the side panel, as is the case in this Dell – check your PC’s user manual if you can’t find your way in. Once you’ve opened the PC, lay the case gently on its side so that the motherboard is horizontal.

The memory (Ram) slots are on the motherboard, not far from the main processor and easy to spot. At the end of each one is a retaining clip. If you need to remove the existing Ram to make space, push both levers outwards simultaneously to release the module and lift it out of the slot.

In this case we have four slots, with two of them occupied. Ram is best added in pairs – one pair of slots here has black clips, the other white. Carefully move any obscuring cables aside or unplug them temporarily. Then make sure the clips on the empty slots are levered outwards – in the release position.

Hold the new Ram module by the two ends over the empty slot – notice that there is a pin two-thirds of the way along the slot.

This helps you to get the module the right way round. Carefully lower the module into the slot, making sure that the notch in the connector along the base aligns with the pin.

Then, placing two fingers along the top edge of the module, push down with firm but even pressure. As the module descends, the clips at either end will move up and inwards, gripping the Ram module securely. You should hear or feel a click.

Reconnect or rearrange any internal cables you moved out of the way, then stand the computer back up. Although you may be adding further upgrades, it’s wise to make sure that everything works correctly at each stage before moving on.

Put the side panel back on. Plug in the monitor, keyboard and mouse, and the power cable, then switch on the PC. When Windows loads, click the Start button then right-click Computer and choose Properties.

Check that Installed Memory shows the correct Ram. If there’s a problem you should repeat Step 1 then check that all the modules are correctly seated in their slots.