Add RAM to a laptop

Sluggish system? Check to see how much RAM you have. Older laptops often don't have enough.

So my dad was griping that his Acer Aspire 9300 laptop takes forever to boot. I inspected it for spyware, excessive startup programs, and the other usual suspects, but everything checked out.

Then I remembered that the machine is about three years old and wasn't a powerhouse to begin with. So I checked the RAM. Bingo: it has only 1GB. Windows Vista needs at least 2GB to run smoothly. (So does Windows 7, but I've seen it run reasonably well on less.)

Upgrading a laptop's RAM may sound like a big deal, but it's actually the single easiest upgrade there is. The only challenge lies in determining how many RAM modules your system currently has and what kind they are.

To find out, turn off your system, unplug it, remove the battery, and flip it over. You should see at least one panel that can be removed with a small screwdriver. Consult your manual if you can't find the one covering the RAM sockets--or just open them all.

Most laptops have two sockets. If only one is occupied, just buy a module that exactly matches the existing one and drop it in. That'll effectively double your RAM.

If both sockets are filled, you'll have to replace both modules. In the case of Dad's Aspire, for example, it had a pair of 512MB modules for a total of 1GB of RAM. We elected to replace them with a pair of 1GB modules for 2GB total. (What to do with the displaced RAM? Ebay, of course!)

Not sure what kind of memory your laptop takes? Head to a site like Crucial, which can identify nearly every make and model. (Of course, once you know what you need, you can shop around to find the best price.)

There are countless how-to guides online that can help you further. I just wanted to let you know that if your laptop seems sluggish, it may be because it needs more RAM. Thankfully, it's a cheap and easy upgrade.

Image by _sarchi.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags acermemoryhardware systemslaptopsComponentsupgradingram

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?