If your computer is running slowly, you may be able to improve its performance without needing to upgrade the RAM.
- Do a full virus and spyware scan. Malware is a major cause of poor performance
- Defragment your hard drive. This boosts efficiency by putting related files close together
Our Knowhow guides will give you more information on each of these subjects:
- Virus, worm or trojan - Spotting the warning signs
- Maintaining your computer - Spring cleaning for performance
Also try the following:
- Increase your virtual memory. Your computer can use part of your hard disc as a resource that acts a bit like RAM
- Open the Control Panel
- Double-click to open System and click the Advanced tab
- Under Performance, click Settings
- Click to the Advanced tab and choose Change under Virtual Memory
- Make sure Custom Size is selected
- Under Minimum size, enter double the default amount
- Click OK
If you still are not noticing a decent improvement in performance, additional RAM may be needed.
Upgrading your RAM
How much RAM do you have?
- Click on Start and All Programs
- Open the Accessories folder, select System Tools and open System Information
- Look in the System Summary section
- The Physical Memory lines will show you how much RAM is installed
How much RAM do you need?
- The System Requirements for your software will tell you how much memory it needs
- These are normally the minimum needed for the program to run
- Exceeding these requirements can improve performance
- Many programs, especially games, require 3 or 4GB to run effectively
How much RAM can your version of Windows use?
- The amount of memory Windows is able to use can vary
- Most home users have a 32-bit version of Windows which can only use up to 4GB memory
- 64-bit versions can use more RAM; up to almost 200GB in some versions of Window 7
Microsoft gives a guide to how much physical memory each version of Windows can use. Click on the "Physical Memory Limits" line for your version to see how much it can use: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778(VS.85).aspx
What type of RAM do you need?
- Your computer may have come with a user manual. This should tell you the type of RAM the system uses and how much you can install
- The technical support line of the place you bought the system should also be able to give you this information
- A web search for the make and model of your PC may provide you with the technical specifications
- Websites like http://www.crucial.com/ let you enter your system’s make and model to find out what type of RAM it needs; The type required and any considerations will be listed on the left of the screen
- The above website also has a system scanning application on the System Scanner tab which identifies the RAM
Warning: The following sections require you to open your computer case. This can invalidate your warranty or any service plans you have in place; some may require these actions to be performed by approved specialists only, or for components to be bought from certain dealers. Please check before proceeding. Although adding RAM is fairly routine, there is a risk you can damage your system; if you are at all unsure, leave it to a professional
- Order the type of RAM you identified above; it may help to take a printout of the information to the store
- If you have no free memory slots, you will need to replace your existing RAM rather than just adding to it
- Handle the modules as little as possible. Only touch them by the edges to avoid damaging components
- Turn off your PC. Unless your computer has specific instructions to the contrary, leave it plugged in but turn the electricity supply off
- Detach all other cables and connections from your PC
- Remove the case; you may need to unscrew or unclip it
- Ground yourself to discharge any static electricity by touching the metal chassis of the computer
- The RAM may be covered by a cover; unscrew or unclip this to open
- Look for the area where the RAM fits; the modules are long green strips with sets of black chips on - they should look almost exactly like the new set you have bought
- Gently remove any RAM modules you are replacing
- Your new RAM fits in the same way as the old; line it up in the same way and carefully push it into position
- Make sure the memory is properly inserted - it needs to be slotted in fairly firmly
- When all the RAM is installed or replaced, put the memory unit cover back on
- Leave the main cover off, but reconnect all the cables
- Turn the PC on. It should automatically detect the new RAM and boot up
- If the system doesn’t boot or just beeps, the memory may not be correctly installed. Turn the computer off and make sure each unit is properly inserted before trying again.
- Once the system accepts the memory, turn the system off and replace the cover
You can now use the System Information tool, as above, to view the new physical memory levels. You should notice quite a boost of speed as soon as you load a program. With the extra RAM in its engine, your PC will leave everything else standing at the station.
Knowhow can professionally install any new hardware and give expert advice on what you might need. For more information, click on the link below: