Computers Memory

How To Add Memory To a Computer

Published at 02/29/2012 15:35:35


The technical name for memory in a computer is "random access memory," or RAM. However, it's easier to call this hardware component just the "memory" because this is where the operating system, such as Windows, temporarily stores information about what you are doing on a PC. You can equate RAM to a student who reviews and commits to memory what's going to be on the test the next day; for some students, this information stays on the brain for a temporary time, until after the exam is over. That's the basic nature of RAM.

However, your computer is limited in the amount of information that it can temporarily store in RAM. This limitation is determined by the size of the total RAM. If the amount of RAM is too small, then your computer may run very slowly. That's why PC users are encouraged to consider "adding more memory" to get the system to speed up.

The traditional method for adding memory can be expensive for most users, yet it is effective. You can consider four additional methods that can speed your computer, and some of the them mimic the process of adding more memory, though not exactly.


Step 1

Buy additional RAM sticks to add more memory to your computer. This can be an very involved and complicated process, but it is the very effective.

First, determine the amount of memory currently installed on your PC. Windows users can click on the Start button and then type the word "System" in the search box at the bottom of the Start Menu. Press Enter to open a window that shows the amount of memory. Alternatively, shut down the PC, and then open the case to look at the size of the installed RAM. The size measurements are usually in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB).

Next, consult your PC's owner's manual to determine the type and maximum size of RAM that the system is capable of supporting. Perform the calculations between the existing and the amount of extra RAM you need to purchase.

Obtain the RAM from a local or online computer store. Follow the instructions on the RAM packaging or in your computer's user manual to complete the addition of memory to the computer.

Step 2

Increase virtual memory in the operating system to mimic the process of adding more memory to the computer. This is actually using the hard drive to temporarily store information.

Step 3

Insert removable storage media to mimic adding more memory. This includes a USB flash drive or an SD memory card. If you have Windows, this feature is called "Ready Boost."


Step 4

Prevent unnecessary programs from starting up to mimic the effect of adding more memory. For example, prevent desktop widgets and gadgets from starting up if you don't have a use for these applications, because the consume memory. In Windows, you can use the System Configuration utility to prevent programs from starting up.

Step 5

Close programs and their components to mimic the process of adding memory. For example, even after the Windows Update service has downloaded and installed a critical update, the program may continue to run in the background, periodically checking for new updates issued by Microsoft. Open the Windows Task Manager and cancel or "end" the entire process that is related to program, freeing up memory for other applications.


  • Be careful about opening up the inside of your PC to access the RAM sticks on the motherboard. An electric shock from your hand could impair your entire system.

Sources and Citations

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