If you’re thinking about improving your laptop’s performance, there are a few guaranteed ways to do it without having to be a computer wizard. Replacing an older mechanical drive with a faster SSD is a much-needed upgrade.
We’ve seen countless older laptops with non-removable batteries that lag (slow down) when on battery power because the battery no longer holds a decent charge, although this is a bit trickier and will require you to take the whole unit apart ad.
But before we look into that, an easy-to-use option to speed up your system is to upgrade your RAM. This tutorial will focus on how to upgrade your laptop’s amount of RAM, and the best part is that the process is not as technical as the average person might think.
At this point, the obvious question to ask yourself is whether you really need more RAM (system memory). Generally anything less than 8GB is not enough on a Windows/Mac computer and upgrading will result in improved performance. 8GB is enough for most essential tasks, but adding RAM can give a nice boost to multitasking, and 16GB is comfortable for general computing. If you need more memory than that, you probably don’t need to read a tutorial and you already know your stuff.
Find your RAM type and possible upgrade paths
To find out how much RAM you’re currently using, check the Windows Task Manager, which will report RAM usage while running the programs you typically use every day. This will give you a good indication of whether RAM is a performance bottleneck.
Now let’s make sure that your laptop supports RAM upgrades because some laptops come with RAM soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded.
Check how many RAM expansion slots are available on your laptop and how many are free. Windows Task Manager displays this information in the Memory tab, or you can also use an app like Speccy, which shows all your hardware in detail.
With this information at your fingertips, you can determine the best RAM upgrade path, whether you simply need to add more RAM or replace your current modules.
You can find the exact RAM specs for your laptop on the manufacturer’s product page, but at this point we usually like to take a shortcut and just use Crucial’s guide (use the 3-step upgrade selector ) which will help you find the brand of your laptop computer. , model and identify the exact type of memory you can upgrade to.
It is also important to consider the RAM configuration. Most laptops support dual-channel memory, which increases memory throughput and performance, but this requires the installed RAM modules to operate at the same speed and time.
Most modern processors can benefit from faster RAM, but cost-cutting measures prevent laptop manufacturers from installing the fastest RAM modules. Using a tool like CPU-Z can give you the information you need about the speed of your current RAM modules, which could benefit from an upgrade.
Step-by-step RAM upgrade
Now that you know you’re ready for a RAM upgrade, let’s go step by step…
- As before, visit the manufacturer’s page for your laptop model (or use Crucial’s website) and confirm the RAM you need.
- Once you know the RAM you need (capacity, specs, and number of modules), buy it from any auction site of your choice: Amazon, Newegg, or Crucial itself.
- With your new RAM at hand, locate the expansion slots on your laptop. Many modern laptops that offer RAM upgrades provide easy physical access and usually only require a screwdriver to access the holes. Turn the laptop over and pay attention to the RAM marker which shows where your RAM is.
- Slide the straps that hold the RAM in place to the side to remove the RAM module, then remove the RAM from its socket.
- Insert your new RAM module into the socket, paying attention to the alignment hole.
- Once the RAM is in the slot, press down on the outer edge to lock the RAM into the straps and you’re good to go.
- Check that the RAM is fully seated in the socket and that there are no screws or other objects left in the drive bay. Put the laptop cover back in place and it’s time to start.
- Now for the best part. If all went well, your laptop should start up normally and maybe even a little faster. You can confirm that your upgrade was successful by checking the amount of RAM reported by your system by looking at System Properties or Task Manager.
- If it doesn’t go well the first time, don’t panic. Simply hold down the power button until the system shuts down.
- If your laptop won’t start or you hear a beep when you turn on your laptop, it’s possible that the new RAM isn’t properly inserted into the slot. Remove the RAM module and reinsert it and see if it works. If not, try using a different RAM key, or better yet, try your old RAM key to make sure your new RAM is not defective.
Hopefully your RAM upgrade was successful and you will start to notice a healthy performance boost and faster running of apps after the change.