This is a guest post by Mike Thimmesch
Most people are unaware of the components that go into building a personal computer. You have probably heard words like “motherboard”, “CPU”, and “RAM”, but have little idea about what they mean, how they affect the speed at which information is processed, or how many files you can store at once. In fact, you have probably never seen the inside of your computer casing (unless your PC failed and you had to call tech support to come in and check it out). However, even the layperson can add memory to their computer with relative ease (and that doesn’t mean replacing your computer, either). With just a few simple steps, you can get exactly what you need to ensure that your computer functions properly to meet your current and future needs.
1. Determine the kind of memory you need. There are two types of memory you may want to add – RAM (Random Access Memory) and hard drive space. RAM is easily accessed by the CPU (Central Processing Unit). Generally, the more RAM you have, the faster is your PC. The more hard drive space you have, the more files you can store.
2. Determine if you can add memory. Before you can add memory, you need to see if you have the space to do so. Many computers come with additional empty slots in the motherboard reserved for RAM. To check how much RAM you currently have, simply access your Start menu, enter the Control Panel, and then go to the Systems tab. From there, you should see a heading for RAM that will tell you how much installed memory you have. Then you can check it against the owner’s manual, which should reveal the computer’s capacity for RAM (in other words, how much free space you have available).
3. Buy new memory cards. RAM can be purchased in a variety of sizes in the form of physical cards, and if you write down the model of computer you have, a retailer should be able to tell you what kind of RAM to purchase. The next best way is to remove your memory card from your computer and take it with you to the store as a sample. Once you have your new RAM, it’s time to install!
4. Turn off your computer and unplug it before installation. This may sound pretty self-evident, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this crucial step. Avoid possible injury from electrocution by ALWAYS unplugging electronics that you’re working on.
5. Open case and install memory. From there, installation is a snap. Simply open up your computer casing (you generally need a screwdriver to do this) and find the slot for memory. Although it will probably be labeled, it could have a variety of titles (usually matching the type of memory card). An easier method to find the slot is to simply see where the memory card fits (it should be readily apparent).
6. Boot up and check for install. Once you’ve inserted the card, plug your computer back in and boot up. Follow the instructions listed in step 2 to once again check your RAM. If it is installed correctly, the added memory should be reflected in the control panel.
Of course, you may simply need more storage space, not more speed. This problem is easily solved by simply purchasing an external hard drive or offloading older files to disc (those that you don’t access often but wish to save) and then erasing them from your hard drive. Whatever the case, it’s probably a lot easier than you think to increase the memory in your PC. You don’t need to pay a professional to do it for you. By following a few simple steps, you can quickly and easily have your computer running faster or incorporate the extra storage you need.
Image credit: wwarby