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How to install RAM in your desktop or laptop PC

Thermaltake Core P5
Thermaltake Core P5 (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

There's one sure way of boosting performance on any Windows 10 PC, and that's by increasing its RAM capacity. In this guide, we run you through how to do so on a desktop or laptop.

How much RAM does your PC need?

Installing RAM in desktop PCs

Depending on the motherboard, RAM modules are usually installed in corresponding slots (unless you're only installing a single stick). Manuals for motherboards usually state which slots you should use. If you're planning to install four sticks, it's simply the case of populating all the slots (unless you have eight of them instead of four).

Here's how to get started:

  1. Check which slots you'll be using.
  2. Match the notch in the RAM module to the grove in the slot.

RAM

RAM (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)
  1. Slide in the module and push down on the two ends.
  2. Ensure both clips are secured in place.

To extract the module from the motherboard, simply push down on both clips and the module will lightly pop out of the socket.

Installing RAM in laptops

Some laptops can be upgraded, allowing you to not only replace the RAM but also the storage devices and more. Installing RAM in a laptop is a bit different than installing it in a desktop PC. It's best to check the laptop manual for more details, but here's generally how the process works (you'll likely be replacing at least one module, so we included details on removing RAM too):

  1. Push clamps to the side for each RAM stick.

HP Omen 15

  1. Extract the RAM module.

HP Omen 15

  1. Match the notch in the new RAM module to the grove in the slot.

HP Omen 15

  1. Slide in the new module.
  2. Carefully press down on the module until it's locked into place.
  3. Repeat for the second module if installing.

After installing RAM in a PC or laptop, it's a good idea to run a few checks to ensure it has been detected and there are no issues with the modules.

Further reading

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

2 Comments
  • Step 1 should be to touch the PSU or wear an antistatic strap before touching any components inside
  • Another step would be to reseat immediately after first installation. That one move reduces the chance of problems more than any other. May as well do it when the rig's already open.