How to Upgrade Your PC's RAM

Before You Upgrade Your RAM

The first step to upgrading your RAM involves gathering a little information. First, you need to know how much RAM your computer has already.

If you're using Windows XP, all you have to do is click the Start button on the taskbar. Then, click on the My Computer option in the menu. You'll need to choose the "View System Information" option (sometimes listed as Properties). Or you can choose the Control Panel option and click on the System icon. Either way, this will bring up a box with several tabs. Under the General tab you'll see information about your computer and operating system, including how much RAM is installed.

If you're running the Windows Vista operating system, follow these directions: Click the Start button, then choose Control Panel from the menu. Your next choice is System and Maintenance followed by System once again. There you'll see a category called Memory (RAM), which displays your computer's RAM.

What if you're using a Mac? Apple has made it easy to find out how much RAM you have in your computer. Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen. Choose the option that says About This Computer (it may say About This Macintosh). You'll see a line that says Total Memory. This is how much RAM your Mac currently has.

Once you know how much memory your computer has, you need to find out how much it can handle. There are hundreds of different computers on the market and not all of them have the same features and limitations. It'd be impossible to list all of them here. Fortunately, there are some resources on the Web that keep track of this information. We recommend using:

These resources will not only tell you how much RAM your machine can handle, they'll tell you what kind of RAM you can install. There are almost as many different kinds of RAM chips as there are computer models. You have to match the right RAM to your machine.