How to install PC desktop memory

It's true -- you can install a memory upgrade yourself. If you want to see how it's done, just watch the accompanying video.

To get started, you'll need a few things: a non-magnetic screwdriver for opening your case and your computer manual.

First, ground yourself to avoid "shocking" your computer. The easiest way to do this is for use wrist straps designed for this purpose-you can get them from Crucial. If you don't have wrist straps, here's how to ground yourself:

  • Turn off the computer, monitor, and all accessories, like the printer and speakers.
  • Unplug the computer power cord. It's okay to unplug your accessories if you like.
  • Touch an unpainted metal part of your computer case.
  • Plant your feet without any walking around. If you do need to walk around, ground yourself again before touching any of the internal parts of your computer.

Once you're grounded, open your case. If you've never done this before, don't worry - it's easy. Now every computer case is a little different, so consult your manual if you have any questions about how to do this. If you haven't already done so, turn off the computer, monitor, and all accessories.

  • Remove any screws holding your cover in place.
  • Remove the desktop cover.

You'll want to make sure you put the screws from your computer case in a safe place so that it's easy to put your system back together again when you're through.

Once that's taken care of, find the DIMM slots. Some of your slots likely have modules in place. Now if you have a minitower system, it may be easier to install your memory if you lay your computer on its side.

Next, remove the memory you are replacing (if necessary). If you have an open DIMM slot, you don't need to worry about his. But if all of your DIMM slots are full, you will need to remove one or more of your old modules before you can install the new memory.

  • Press down on the ejector clips on either side of the module.
  • Remove the module from the slot.

Now that the old memory is removed, you just need to install your new modules.

  • Take your module out of its packaging and hold it by the edges. (You'll want to avoid touching the gold pins at the bottom of your module. You probably won't harm them if you do touch them, but it's better to be safe than sorry.)
  • If you have more than one open slot, fill the lowest numbered slot first. If you can't see any numbers on your motherboard, use the slot that is closest to the filled slot
  • Line up the notches in the row of gold pins at the bottom of your module with the keys in the DIMM slot on your motherboard. (If the notches don't line up right away, flip your module around and try it the other way. It doesn't matter which side of your module has the black chips or the stickers on it. The important thing is to line up the notches.)
  • Use your thumbs to press the module into the slot. Press hard! It takes about 20 pounds of pressure to get the module properly inserted in the slot. When you hear a "click" and both side ejector clips snap up around the module, you know it is installed correctly.

Before you close your case, test the memory first. Just turn your computer back on, and the new amount of memory should be displayed on your startup screens or in the properties for "My Computer" if you use a Windows operating system. If everything works correctly, close your case. If for any reason you have trouble with your new RAM, check these things first.

  • Check the power cords to see that everything is plugged in properly.
  • Check the module. Did both side clips pop up to hold the module firmly in place? If not, try removing the module and replacing it to make sure it is seated properly in the slot.
  • Check the wires and cables inside your computer. Perhaps you accidentally bumped one of the cables inside your computer while you were installing your module? Make sure all the cables are firmly in their sockets.

And there you have it -- a big performance boost for relatively little money and you've done it in practically no time at all.