How to Add RAM to Your Desktop

Adding RAM to Your Desktop

After safely opening up your desktop to reveal its insides, adding new RAM is a simple process.
After safely opening up your desktop to reveal its insides, adding new RAM is a simple process.

­Once you've chosen the right kind of RAM, it's time to install your RAM module into the insides of your desktop. Before you get started, make sure your desktop has been turned off and unplugged from any outlets. Opening up your computer while there's a power source connected to it is dangerous, so to avoid any electrical accidents it's a good idea to make sure you handle everything carefully. You should also ground yourself by touching a metal surface or wearing an antistatic wrist strap. This prevents electrostatic discharge, something many of us have experienced by dragging our feet over a rug, touching a doorknob (or another person) and creating a spark. This happens when two objects touch or rub together and exchange electrons -- one becomes positively charged, the other negatively charged. When one object touches another that has an opposite charge, electrons shoot out to balance the charges. Static charges may give us a harmless shock when we touch a doorknob, but they can damage computer equipment, so grounding yourself will protect sensitive components.

Desktop computers are designed many different ways, but most have either side doors or tops that can be removed with the help of a screwdriver. The RAM slots are located on the computer's motherboard. There are usually two slots, though there may be more. If all slots are filled up with existing RAM modules, you can replace a smaller RAM chip with a larger one. Just release the tabs that hold the module down, remove the old module and insert the new, larger one. If there's a slot open, you simply can slide the new module in place and gently snap it into position.

Once you've installed the RAM, and after you've closed up your desktop safely and properly, you can start up your computer. The system should recognize the new RAM automatically. Now your desktop will boot up faster, run applications more efficiently and switch between programs with noticeable ease.

For lots more information on RAM and computer technology, see the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • "How much memory do you need?" (Jan. 26, 2009)
  • "How to improve the performance of your desktop computer with an easy, affordable desktop memory upgrade." (Jan. 26, 2009)
  • The Memory Suppliers. "How to install memory - installing desktop and laptop memory RAM." (Jan. 26, 2009)
  • Miastkowski, Stan. "Avoid static damage to your PC." PC World. Jan. 31, 2002. (Jan. 26, 2009)