How to Install Computer Memory- A Guide for Women!

When I taught computers to children, each year had its own theme. The fifth grade year was all about the Personal Computer. One of my favorite topics in that fifth grade year was dissecting the computer's hardware. Oh yeah- my students absolutely loved seeing the inside of the CPU, mouse and keyboard (no monitors due to Mercury). We would pull apart an entire donated computer, name its parts and try (if parts didn't break in the process) to put it back together again. It was so much cooler than dissecting a frog (well, at least I think so!)

With the right know-how, changing your computer's memory (RAM) is as easy as 1....2.....3! I taught my fifth graders how easy it was to take memory modules in and out. I am confident that you can do it too.

Questions before we begin? I never thought you'd ask!
What is Computer Memory (RAM) exactly?  Computer memory, or RAM (Random Access Memory), is memory that is used to "fire up" and use programs on your computer. Once you turn off your computer, RAM erases its memory and you need to start anew. Think of it this way- you turn on your computer (ROM, another topic for another day) and open up Internet Explorer (RAM) to check your e-mail. You then decide to play a game of Solitaire (RAM). In both cases RAM Memory is being used. Finally, you had enough and shut down your computer. Later that day you turn your computer back on and it loads to its original state- no Internet Explorer and no Solitaire is open. That's how RAM rolls ;-)

Where do you buy computer Memory Modules (RAM)? I personally purchased my Computer Memory on Amazon.com. However, you can go to a local or other online computer parts retailer and get it from there.

What type of memory do I need? Whether you purchase memory from a local retailer, or you chose to purchase online, you will need to know what type of computer you are buying RAM (memory module) for. Simply refer to your computers manual or conduct a search using the name of your computer + computer memory if the manual is lost(which is what I had to do). It's really simple, so don't panic. You want to make 100% certain you are purchasing the correct memory- there are different types for different kinds of computers. Some require a SIMM others are a DIMM card.

What does memory exactly do? Read this interesting article from How Stuff Works. It is very well written. In short, adding computer memory (or RAM) is a quick and cheap way to make your computer work faster.

Now let's get to it. Make sure you turn off and unplug your computer before we begin! Also make sure you are grounded by removing all of your static electricity that your body has stored up!

1. Open up your CPU.  It is pretty simple to do. My computer's CPU case had screws that held the opening panel to the rest of the case. Don't be afraid, as it pops off quite easily. Refer to your computer's user manual for further instructions.

2. Locate your computer’s Memory slots. Can you find it in this photo?
Inside your Computer's CPU Case:

No? Not a problem. Take a look at the photo below; they look like long, straight slots with clips on either end. There may be several depending on the type of computer that you have.

3. Install the SIMM or DIMM computer memory by sliding it into the open slot by opening the brackets on either side. Hint: A SIMM card you have to hold on an angel, while a DIMM you slide in straight forward. (DIMM is shown and most used). Both will lock into place using the retaining brackets. Do not force them in, change to another slot if needed or turn the card around and try again. I must admit, I always have to do that. Oh- and only handle the memory modules on the sides and not on the chips themselves!

If needed you can remove old Memory Modules and you can add as many as you wish. When the memory is in, close your computer back up, put back together and turn it on and give it a test. Most updated computers will automatically locate the memory (RAM) that you installed. If not, refer to your computer's user manual to make certain that it is functioning properly.
Good Luck!

Now only if I can install Memory into my husband's brain............................

1 comment:

  1. Hi Aimee,

    Great article & nice to meet another Momtec! It's super easy to change RAM on a desktop and even easier on a laptop. Why pay a technician $ for a 5 minute job? BTW..Crucial.com will do a free scan of your computer and tell you exactly what you have and what you need to upgrade RAM.

    Kind Regards,
    Pinktec Computer Services


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