How to increase the RAM on your Windows 10 PC

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Miguel Moro Vallina
@miguelmorovallina
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Preliminary operation

Before proceeding with this type of update, you need to know that RAMs are not all the same and that there are modules of different versions and frequencies, apparently similar: this is a very important detail, since a bank of RAM with a version or frequency not supported by the computer in use could prove to be a useless purchase.

To avoid making mistakes, you can write down these details in advance by analyzing the RAM already in your computer. There are several programs suitable for this purpose but, personally, I recommend that you rely on CPU-Z: this software, initially designed to access information on the processor, provides very useful information also aimed at replacing the RAM banks, illustrating the characteristics of those already present, as well as the number of slots available on the motherboard.



To download this program connected to its official website, click on the button ZIP – English placed in the box Download, then start the download by selecting the item Download now; a compressed file will be downloaded (eg. cpu-z_x.xx -en.zip), which you will need to extract to a folder of your choice. If you don't know how to manage .zip files, I invite you to read my guide on how to extract ZIP files.

Now, open the folder containing the files you extracted earlier and launch the program cpuz_x32.exe o cpuz_x64.exe, depending on the type of processor you have (32 or 64 bit), then grant the software the necessary permissions to run it, by clicking on the button Yes, and once in the main screen, click on the tab Memory, which is located at the top.


Through this screen, you will get all the basic information on RAM, including those to be taken into consideration when purchasing additional modules: in particular, the items to pay attention to are Type (i.e. the type of RAM memory installed) e Size (the amount of RAM currently installed).


To get more details on the individual RAM banks, click on the tab SPD located at the top: information on the various memory slots is available (slot 1 will be shown at the base), as well as other valuable details such as the size of the bank possibly installed (Module size), the frequency band (Max bandwidth), the manufacturer (Manufacturer) and information on access times and voltage (section Timings table). Finally, check the availability of free RAM slots by clicking on the field under the section Memory Slot Selection (inside the card SPD).

I advise you to pay close attention to the frequency band, as it will be half the advertised commercial value - don't worry, it's a normal feature of DDR modules. If, for example, if your RAM is listed with a frequency of 667 MHz, in reality it is of 1334 MHz, so you will need to purchase new modules with this latter frequency.

Another aspect to check is the form factor for memory: if you need to expand the RAM on a laptop computer or on a Mini-PC, the form factor for the benches is so-DIMM, while for i Fixed desktop PCs the form factor is DIMM; for both formats, however, all the parameters seen above are equally valid.


Another detail that you can check on RAM memories for fixed computers is the presence or absence of the heatsink, which can respectively give a high profile (High Profile) or a low profile (Low Profile) to the benches in question: the latter may be easier to place on small computers or on those already equipped with an "important" cooling system.


In order not to make a mistake, when buying a new memory module, make sure that the RAM type is identical (With art. DDR3 o DDR4) and that the frequency band corresponds to the one already in use; moreover, I suggest you also check the compatibility with the values ​​of the access times (or CAS). specified in the table Timings attached to the CPU-Z Memory card (usually expressed commercially in the 9-9-9-25 or similar). If these parameters match, the compatibility will be good even if you have to buy modules from different manufacturers than those already present in the computer.

Purchase a new RAM

Now that you know the information to look out for to avoid unnecessary purchases, it's time to understand how (and where) buy new RAM: usually, this type of electronic component is available in the best IT shops or online.

Depending on the sales channel you have chosen, be sure to specify to the employee the precise characteristics of the memory you are looking for, or to carefully check the details of the technical data sheet available online; please, be extremely careful at this stage: if a "guessed" purchase can only benefit your computer, an incompatible or only partially compatible RAM module may not be installable at all, not be detected or, worse still, prevent proper startup and operation of the operating system.


If you still don't feel fully ready to tackle such a step alone, and you want to further explore the main characteristics of RAM memories, I suggest you take a look at my guide on which RAM to buy, in which I have provided you with a series of valid tips on the subject, as well as some advice on the best RAM modules currently available on the market.


How to increase the RAM of the Windows 10 desktop PC

Once you have the new RAM banks, it is time to disassemble the "casing" of your computer, so as to install them correctly on the motherboard. Before even carrying out this operation, make sure that the computer is completely turned off and disconnected from any power source (including any uninterruptible power supplies): in this way, you will drastically reduce the risk of personal damage due to electrical current and / or damage hardware. If you do not feel safe, do not hesitate to ask for the help of an expert: in some cases, it is always better not to make mistakes!

To access the internal components of a PC fixed, you have to access the front of the motherboard (most of the time) by unscrewing the small screws present on the back of the case and necessary to hold the panel of your interest in position; on other types of computers (barebones or mini PCs), however, the panel to be removed is the lower one and is held in place by some long screws, often accessible by turning the device upside down.

Once you open one of the computer panels, you will have access to the motherboard and all other hardware components: immediately identify the slot where i are already installed RAM banks, usually located in the upper right, just next to the processor block (you should only see the fan and the heatsink).

If you need to detach one or more of the RAM banks already present, move them outwards safety levers (similar to small triggers) on the sides of the module: they lock the modules both at the top and at the bottom, so be sure to act on both. Once the levers are moved, you can gently lift the RAM module from its seat and it will come off without too much effort.

To position the new RAM module, move the levers outwards, to avoid them getting in the way during insertion, identify the Free "notch" on the module contacts to get the right direction (the notch must coincide with the "jump" on the slot), then insert the module gently, taking care to push it all the way. Once in the correct position, the levers should automatically click to secure the desk to the slot; if not, you can place them manually. If the RAM does not "enter", do not press further and check the direction of insertion again.

When you have finished, close the panel inserting and screwing the screws back into place, connect the computer to the power supply and turn it on: if everything went well, the computer should immediately recognize the new RAM, starting the operating system correctly. Once logged in, use again CPU-Z to see if the new RAM has been properly handled. Where the computer should turn on but seem "dead", or emit strange sounds during startup, I suggest you reopen it and check the correct insertion of the new memory module.

If you need a hand during the assembly and disassembly of the PC, I invite you to take a look at my guide on how to assemble a PC, in which I have provided you with some useful information on this subject.

Note: in some cases, the BIOS / UEFI may warn you of a change in the system configuration, resulting from the installation of the new RAM; if this happens, press the indicated key to proceed with the normal startup of the computer (usually F1 o F2).

How to increase the RAM of your Windows 10 laptop

increase RAM on a laptop, the steps are quite similar to those seen on the desktop: however, the methods of accessing the appropriate slot on the motherboard change, which could be slightly more complex than previously seen. Again, if you feel unsure, do not hesitate to ask for the help of a technician or friend who is competent in the matter.

Anyway, first of all, turn off the computer, remove the battery (if possible) and disconnect the machine from the power supply, so as not to run any danger. If your laptop does not allow you to remove the battery, I urge you to act equipped with gloves and with insulating screwdrivers, to avoid unwanted electric shock.

Removed power, turn the notebook over, so as to bring the lower panel (the one in contact with the support surface) in the foreground, and identify the viti necessary to disassemble the panel. On some laptops you will only have to remove part of the panel to access the RAM slots, on others, however, you will have to remove the entire panel: you can understand how you will have to act simply by looking at the bottom of the laptop. If they are present small branches, often accompanied by small icons (such as the RAM and disk icons), you will probably only need to disassemble the part dedicated to the main memory.

Once the door is identified, use a small screwdriver to remove the screws e lift the panel to access the so-DIMM slots: usually, the RAM banks are positioned one above the other and can be extracted "by snap". Consequently, you will have to press gently on the small safety levers on the side of each module to lift one side of the module, then remove it by gently pulling it upwards. Removed the upper module, you will also have access to the lower module, which can be removed with exactly the same steps seen a little while ago.

Once you have reached the slot of your interest, gently position the new RAM bank, paying attention to respect the sense of contacts and to observe the indication mark present on the RAM itself. Once you find the right hook, you can simply push down on the raised side of the module until it snaps into place (the levers will hold the module in place). If necessary, repeat the steps to place the second RAM module as well.

Once the installation is complete, replace the protective cover and tighten the screws, then try to start the notebook: if everything went well, the system will start smoothly and Windows 10 will be launched. If you need additional help, I urge you to carefully read my guide on how to take apart a laptop.

Other methods to increase Windows 10 PC RAM

If you want to increase the RAM of your Windows 10 PC without adding modules to your computer, perhaps because you do not feel ready enough to disassemble the computer or, perhaps, because you do not intend to invest money, you can get some benefits by acting on the amount of virtual memory managed by the system.

The virtual memory in question is called paging file and is in effect a file, stored in the system partition, which provides additional virtual RAM memory. When the physical RAM is full, Windows can move some of the data to this file, thus using some of the hard disk space as if it were additional RAM.

I would like to warn you, however, that this is one buffer solution and that you don't have to rely on it much: the communication speed of the disk is significantly lower than that of the RAM memory (although modern SSDs have mitigated the problem), so the computer may seem quite slow in case it is used.

To get a virtual memory boost on Windows 10, open the menu Home by clicking on the icon windows flag (bottom left), then type the words into the search field Advanced settings; finally, click on the result View advanced system settings which should appear after a few seconds.

Arrived in the window dedicated to System propertiesclick here Advanced and then on the button Settings, located within the section Performances. Once the new screen opens, click on the tab Advanced and press pulsating Change ..., placed in the section Virtual memory.

At this point, you can use the proposed items to change the virtual RAM volume: to start, remove the check mark from the item Automatically manage paging file size for all drives, select the partition where Windows is installed, within the section Unit [Volume Label], then put the check mark next to the item Custom sizes.

If everything went well, the two fields should unlock Initial size (MB) e Maximum size (MB): through them, you can choose the minimum size of the paging file, when not in use, and the maximum size it can reach.

If you do not know how much virtual memory to reserve for the system, you can enter the value next to the item in both fields recommended: Generally, it is fine for most usage scenarios. In case you have a PC with less than 4GB of RAM, you can push the virtual memory up to 4096 MB, so as to have an amount of virtual memory suitable to support the difficulties of physical memory.

If the computer you are configuring is intended for video games, I recommend that you read my guide on how to dedicate more RAM to a game, so as to optimize the operating system to allow more physical memory when running a complex video game.

How to increase the RAM on your Windows 10 PC


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