Laptop Memory Upgrades Guide - Part 6

How to install your new laptop memory upgrade step by step

how to install laptop sodimm memory

Would you believe it? We've gone over quite a lot of information about laptop memory in this guide and it's finally time to install your new RAM upgrade. The good news is that installation of laptop memory is one of the easiest things to do with your laptop. With a few tools, a little exploration and a few minutes of your time, you will soon have the SDRAM, DDR, DDR2 or DDR3 laptop RAM upgrade you ordered in part 5 of this Laptop Memory Upgrades Guide or elsewhere installed and ready for use.

Your very own laptop memory upgrade - what you need to prepare

Upgrading laptop memory is a fairly easy process requiring minimum tools and can be performed almost in any environment. To prepare you will need the following:

  • Your new laptop memory upgrade
  • A small philips type screwdriver (ideally with magnetic tip)
  • Ideally an anti-static wristband
  • A hard surface such as a table top
  • A soft peice of cloth (optional)

Location scouting - deciding where to perform your upgrade

You can upgrade your laptop's RAM almost anywhere away from moisture, dust and static. An easy to use location at home is the kitchen or dining table as this will be sturdy, hard and also in most cases near to a good light source. A bad surface might for example be a carpet prone to accumlate static. In most cases you'll need to place your laptop upside down onto its surface hence make use of the optional soft piece of cloth. The latter will save your laptop's lid from potentially getting scratched by the table's surface.

What you musn't forget - handling your new laptop RAM correctly

Laptop RAM is an electronic device that should be handled with care. You should always make sure that prior to touching the RAM modules you ground yourself. This removes any static that builds up within your body via contact with certain surfaces. There are two ways to do this. The easiest non-forgetful method is to use an anti-static wristband by wearing it throughout the entire upgrade procedure. To do this attach the velcro band to your wrist and the crocodile clip to something made of metal. If for some reason you cannot use one, remember to touch a piece of metal connected with the ground in some way, for example via a metal table leg. Do this before handling the laptop RAM modules as well as throughout the entire upgrade procedure, for example once every few minutes. We recommended you don't wear clothes that accumulate static or make contact with acrylic carpet throughout the duration of the entire installation procedure.

As for the laptop RAM modules, remember to keep them in their original anti-static packaging prior to installation, or alternatively place them on a neutral surface such as a piece of paper or wood. This prevents possible static related damage.

Installing your SDRAM, DDR, DDR2 or DDR3 laptop memory upgrade

The entire upgrade procedure has been divided into steps to take you incrementally from start to finish.

About the installation example below

The laptop used in the below installation example uses DDR2 laptop RAM. Do note that regardless whether your own laptop also uses DDR2 or perhaps other popular types of laptop RAM such as DDR or DDR3 the procedure remains the same. Should you be upgrading laptop RAM in a DDR or newer based laptop be sure to read up about dual channel operation in part 3 of the Laptop Memory Upgrades Guide - this will remind you about how to enable optimum memory performance.

Step 1: Preparation

The first step is to prepare everything you will need as mentioned above. Having everything at hand will make the entire process of upgrading laptop memory smooth and quick.

A laptop, philips screwdriver and soft cloth (click image to enlarge)

Step 2: Locate and unscrew laptop's RAM bay cover

Having everything at hand, the next step is to place your laptop on the soft cloth on a hard surface such as a table. After you've done this, locate the laptop RAM bay cover and unscrew all screws that hold it in place. In most laptops, the RAM bay cover is located on the bottom so place your laptop upside down. In other cases the laptop RAM bay cover is located under the keyboard. Laptops usually feature one or two different bays on their bottom side, one of which will contain the RAM. Depending on your model of laptop, anything from one to usually four screws will hold the cover in place. If you are unsure as to which of the available bays contain the RAM, either consult the laptop's user manual or alternatively unscrew and check each cover in turn.

Unscrewing laptop RAM bay cover screws (click image to enlarge)

Step 3: Lift and remove laptop RAM bay cover

Once the laptop RAM bay cover is lose you can grab both ends of it and lift it up out of the way. You can place it to one side for the moment.

Lifting and removing laptop RAM bay cover (click image to enlarge)

Step 4: Removed laptop RAM bay cover

If you have been following the above steps so far, you will now be facing an open laptop RAM bay similar to the one below. This will reveal the laptop memory module(s) currently installed within your laptop. If you will be installing your new laptop memory upgrade alongside existing laptop RAM modules you can skip straight to step 9 below. Otherwise, should this not be the case and you need to remove at least one laptop RAM memory module - to do so continue to step 5 below.

Removed laptop RAM bay cover (click image to enlarge)

Step 5: Release laptop RAM module clips

Now that the laptop RAM module(s) are exposed, you can release them by unclipping the memory slot clips found at either side of each module. Depending on your model of laptop, these will be made of plastic or metal. In either case use your thumbs to push in an outwards direction (away from the laptop RAM module) on bothsides to release them. You'll find that as you release the clips the laptop RAM module changes angle and becomes lose.

Released laptop RAM module clips (click image to enlarge)

Step 6: Release all laptop RAM memory module clips

Continue releasing the laptop RAM slot clips on each laptop RAM module you plan to extract to make way for your new laptop memory modules.

Laptop RAM module clips fully released (click image to enlarge)

Step 7: Remove laptop RAM module(s)

Now that all necessary existing laptop RAM modules are released, extract them from your laptop by grabing the SODIMM preferably at both ends and moving each to one side. As you will not be using them again (unless you mistakenly removed them) you should store them in packaging that protects them from possible static damage. Such good packaging would be that from your new laptop RAM module(s) after you've installed them. As a temporary measure, you can place your old laptop RAM modules on something nuetral such as a piece of paper.

Removing laptop RAM module(s) (click image to enlarge)

Step 8: Removed laptop RAM module(s)

If you removed your current (old) laptop RAM SODIMM modules from your laptop then your laptop RAM bay will now contain vacant memory slots. These are now ready for installation of your new laptop memory upgrade consisting of one or more laptop RAM modules.

Laptop RAM module(s) fully removed (click image to enlarge)

Step 9: Insert new laptop RAM module(s)

Extract the new laptop RAM SODIMM modules from their packaging one at a time and insert them into the laptop memory slots at about a 45 degree angle. Pay note to what side the notch is. Once the contacts (usually gold plated) are inserted into the memory slot press down on the laptop RAM module until you hear it snap into place.

Inserting laptop RAM module(s) (click image to enlarge)

Step 10: Inserted new laptop RAM module(s)

Successfully installed laptop RAM will lay flat so that the laptop RAM bay cover can be re-installed. Make sure that each memory slot securely holds the laptop RAM SODIMM module in place, do this by ensuring that each installed module has fully clipped into place.

Laptop RAM module clips fully clicked into place (click image to enlarge)

Step 11: Replace laptop RAM bay cover

Replace the laptop RAM bay cover in reverse order to how you previously removed it. Firstly place the cover in its natural place and then align each of its screws ready to be tightened.

Replacing laptop RAM bay cover (click image to enlarge)

Step 12: Re-screw laptop RAM bay cover

Screw down each screw that holds the laptop RAM bay cover in place. These screws do not need to be too tight so don't apply too much force.

Re-screwing laptop RAM bay cover (click image to enlarge)

Step 13: Check amount of installed RAM in BIOS

Now that your new laptop memory upgrade is installed all that remains is to turn your laptop the right way up again, open its lid, turn it on and last but not least go into the BIOS to check whether it has detected the new amount of installed RAM. In most laptops this means pressing the "Esc" or "F2" key at the moment you turn your laptop on. Doing so will display a message such as "Entering BIOS setup". From within the BIOS you can navigate to the status screen (usually the first screen that shows when you enter the BIOS on newer laptops) and read what is displayed next to a label such as "System memory" or simply "RAM". For example, if your laptop now has 2GB of RAM, this may show as 2GB or 2048MB. Similarly, if your laptop has 4GB of RAM, this will show as 4GB or 4096MB - each 1GB is equal to 1024MB.

  • If new RAM is not detected

  • If your laptop does not turn on or does not detect the expected amount of RAM, for example you purchased a 4GB laptop memory upgrade but your BIOS is only reporting 2GB or 2048MB then this usually means one or more of the laptop RAM modules is not fully inserted. Repeat the necessary steps above to remedy this situation. Providing you have followed all the steps of this guide and purchased your laptop RAM upgrade via the methods found in part 5 of the Laptop Memory Upgrades Guide) then it's very unlikely that the laptop RAM SODIMM isn't fully compatible.

  • In the unlikely event that your new RAM fails to work

  • It's very rare that new factory sealed laptop RAM is what's known as Dead-On-Arrival (DOA). If you have purchased your laptop RAM via the methods found in part 5 of the Laptop Memory Upgrades Guide and have tried re-seating it but to no avail then this may unfortunately be the case. If you purchased your RAM upgrade from Crucial then they offer a limited lifetime warranty meaning you can easily get the faulty item replaced. Should this apply to you check how to start the Crucial replacement process and Crucial lifetime warranty as appropriate.

Checking amount of installed RAM from within your laptop's BIOS (click image to enlarge)

Go back to discover Where to buy 100% compatible SDRAM, DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 SODIMM memory...

...or if you have questions still in need of an answer check out Laptop Memory FAQ's.

...or if you would like to read more on various laptop memory issues check out Laptop Memory Articles.

PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 204-pin SODIMM Dual Channel kits

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