Upgrading the memory in your HP desktop computer can give it a much-needed speed boost. It's time to start thinking about upgrading the memory in your computer when programs start to run slow or when your thinking seriously about an operating system upgrade, as newer operating systems require more memory. Either way adding more memory or replacing existing memory with higher-capacity memory modules is a great way to improve your computer's performance.
Back up any important files on your hard drive in case the computer is damaged while upgrading the memory (see Resources). Back up files using either the backup program that came installed on the computer or by backing up the files to external media such as an external hard drive, CD, DVD or flash drive.
Power off the computer and attach one end of the anti-static wrist strap to the case and the other end to your wrist.
Disconnect the power cord from the back of the computer and open the case by removing the screws from the back edge of the case or by pressing the release button on the side of the case. Refer to the instructions in the owner's manual or the manufacturer's website for details on how to open a non-standard case.
Release the existing memory modules if you are replacing them. Memory modules are the green circuit boards roughly four inches long and one inch high that sit upright on the motherboard, usually near the processor. Press outward on the small plastic retention tabs that hold the first module in place until the module lifts upward. Pull the module straight up, out of its slot. Repeat this step to remove any additional modules before installing the new modules.
Line up the small key notch cut into the new memory module with the notch on the tab where the module will be inserted. Spread the plastic retention tabs fully out and slide the memory module into the slot. Press down with steady pressure until the module clicks audibly into place in the slot and both retention tabs snap up against the module. Press the retention tabs against the modules to ensure a complete connection. Repeat this step to install any additional modules.
Turn on the system and let it boot up to the Windows home screen.
Perform a complete memory test by clicking "Start" and then "Control Panel."
Click on the "View By" menu and choose "Small Icons" or "Large Icons" and then click "Administrative Tools."
Double-click "Windows Memory Diagnostics" and then click "Restart Now and Check for Problems (Recommended)" to begin the memory test. Let the test finish. The system will restart and the results of the test will be displayed automatically after the computer boots up to Windows.
Contact the manufacturer or vendor of the new RAM for instructions if errors are detected.
- Use matching memory modules that are rated for the same speed to avoid conflicts and system problems. Also, use memory modules of the same capacity when possible. Memory errors that occur during the testing phase are often the result of new modules being incompatible with old modules. Remove the old modules and put the new modules in the slots the old modules were in to attempt to resolve any issues.
- Contact with the connectors or chips on a memory module can destroy the module due to static electricity discharge unless protected by electrostatic discharge safety devices such as an anti-static wrist strap.
- Never work on the inside of a computer without backing up important files.
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