Computer Memory Installation Troubleshooting Tips

Desktop memory installation tips

How to install memory in a desktop computer
Watch the desktop memory installation video (text version)

Laptop memory installation tips

How to install memory in a notebook/laptop computer
Watch the notebook memory installation video (text version)

Is your computer having trouble recognizing your new memory upgrade?

Don't get frustrated! Most of the time, customers will find this problem is solved by one of these solutions.

Press harder. Make sure the notches in your module are lined up with the keys in the slot, and then press down hard. It can take 20 to 30 pounds of pressure to install a module. The clips on the side of module should snap into place on their own. If you have to move the clips into place by hand, your module isn't installed properly.

OS limitations. It may not be your hardware. It could be your operating system, because there's a maximum amount of memory that a Windows-based operating system (OS) can accept. Learn more about why a Windows® PC may not recognize all the computer's memory.

Plug it in. Double-check to make sure all your power cords are plugged in. (And don't be embarrassed if you realize your system is unplugged — it happens all the time.)

Check the internal cables. Did you accidentally bump one of the wires or cables inside your computer while you were installing your module? A loose hard drive cable can prevent your computer from booting up properly. Make sure all the cables are firmly in their sockets.

Update your BIOS. If your computer is a little bit older, it may need a BIOS (Basic Input Output System) update in order to work with today's technology. Don't worry — updating your BIOS isn't as difficult as it sounds. You just need to contact your system or motherboard manufacturer. If you need an update, they'll probably point you to a Web site where you can download the new software for free. It's usually very easy.

More installation tips:

  • Make sure that you are working in a static safe environment. Remove any plastic bags or papers from your work space, and make sure to keep your computer plugged in but with the power turned off. Keeping your PC plugged in will keep the case grounded, thus reducing the chance of damaging the module or system. Touch an unpainted metal part of your case before touching your new modules or any other components in your system.
  • Remove and reinstall the modules to make sure that they are seated securely in the socket.
  • Make sure that your new memory is the same type as your old memory (i.e. FPM/EDO/SDRAM, parity/non-parity/ECC, buffered/unbuffered). Using EDO or SDRAM in a system that does not support it will not work, often resulting in a blank screen and no POST (power on self test), or a BIOS/CMOS setup error.
  • Fill your slots starting with the largest density and working to the smallest (put the largest module in slot 0, and the second largest in slot 1, and so on). Some systems go in reverse order, so if this doesn't work, try reversing the procedure.
  • If you get a memory mismatch error follow the prompts to enter setup, then select save and exit. (This is not an error — some systems must do this to update their CMOS settings.)
  • If your system is only reading half of the new module's memory, and the module has chips on both sides, then your system probably will only recognize single-banked or single-sided modules. Please return the memory and request single-sided modules with the same density.

Still having trouble? More help is easy to find. Check out our Crucial Forum.