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Tips For Upgrading Your Computer's Memory

Aug 17, 2007
One of the most common computer repair tasks involves upgrading your computer's memory. There are lots of reasons you might want to do a little upgrading of this nature. For example, more memory means a faster processing time. From faster loading for web pages to better gaming, it can certainly enhance your overall computing experience. More memory also means that your computer is able to easily move from application to application without a hitch. If your machine is networked, you'll experience a higher level of efficiency, and even if you're not, you'll certainly noticed better printing capabilities when you install more memory. The best news, though, is that upgrading your computer's memory is not only a fairly common computer repair task, it's an incredibly easy one.

The first step is to figure out how much memory your machine has. Right click on your 'My Computer' desktop icon. Choose 'Properties' The first tab you see should say 'General' and at the bottom of that tab, you may notice how much RAM (Random Access Memory) your computer currently has. That's an important number in this equation, and if you think you can't remember it, it might be best to write it down.

The second step is to understand how much memory your computer is capable of holding. Different computers can take on different memory capacities, but exceeding your computer's memory capacity can be dangerous, and all in all, it's a waste of your money to use more memory than your computer can hold. There are a couple of ways to go about this. First, there are some free online scanners out there that will let you know what your computer's memory capacity is, but some of them come with embedded bugs, so it's important to be careful. Another option is to glance at the manual that came with your machine. It should give you some good numbers. Alternately, you can log onto the computer manufacturer's website to get the specs for your individual machine.

There's one more part to this equation before you can rush out and buy the memory your computer needs for an upgrade. You may have come across this already if you've been reading your computer's manual, but if you haven't, you must get this information before you make any purchases. Understand what kind of memory your computer needs. Some machines have SDRAM. Others have DDR. Older machines have EDO or FPM. In order to determine what type of memory your machine currently has, you'll need to either consult your computer's manual, the manufacturer's web site or you can scan your computer with one of those free scanners.

Now you are ready to make a purchase. You have to decide how much memory you want on your computer. Of course, during this process, you should keep in mind how much your machine can hold, but if you're a basic user, you're probably going to want to run at least 256 MB. If you're a bit more advanced, and you use your machine for images and video on a regular basis, you may want to head into 512 MB land. If you are heavily into graphic design, head up toward a gig or so.

Once you've made your purchase, it is time to install it into the computer. Turn your machine off, and be sure it is unplugged. Take the case off. Find the memory slots. If you are taking out your old memory, press the ejector clips, and the stick will pop out. You're ready to put your new memory sticks in, and you can do this by finding the notch on the module's pin-side. They'll line up with the socket for the memory, put it in, and press firmly. The ejector clips will lock in around your new memory stick. Turn your computer back on, and you should be ready for a faster computing experience.
About the Author
Chad Henry is a computer repair technician and writer for easy-computer-repair.com where you can get detailed solutions for the most common computer problems.
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