How to Upgrade RAM on a Windows Laptop for Beginners




Introduction: How to Upgrade RAM on a Windows Laptop for Beginners

The purpose of this Instructable is to show the non-tech oriented audience how simple and quick installing new RAM on a laptop is.

RAM stands for Random Access Memory and it's used by the computer to store frequently used program instructions and execute them instantly, which increases the general speed of the computer. In other words the more RAM you have, the faster your computer will run. For example, a computer with 4GB of RAM means it has 4 Gigabytes worth of space to store these program instructions.

In these instructions we're using a Dell Inspiron N4110, but these steps can be used on a wide variety of laptops that run the Windows operating system.

We are increasing the amount of RAM from 4GB to 6GB.

What you will need:


RAM sticks


1 2x50mm Phillips screwdriver (or anything that looks similar in size to the picture above)


  • Make sure there are no open liquids near the laptop. Spilling any liquid on your laptop can permanently damage your laptop.
  • Make sure laptop is powered off and unplugged before exposing the RAM.
  • When taking RAM out, don't force it out if it doesn't budge.
  • If the new RAM doesn't fit correctly when seating it don't force it in.
  • Don't be aggressive when pulling the RAM guards to the side.
  • If unsure of RAM compatibility, contact your laptop manufacturer before purchasing new RAM.
  • Do not try changing RAM on a carpeted area, you can increase your chances of statically charging yourself and harming your laptop plus yourself.

Step 1: Unplug and Power Off Laptop

It's very important that the laptop is powered off before you take out components from your laptop. Not doing so will damage your laptop and possibly yourself.

Step 2: Locate and Take Out the Battery

Taking out the battery ensures that the laptop will have no power.

  1. There may be tabs that lock the battery in. Just slide these tabs to their unlocked position
  2. Slide battery out
  3. Press the power button to be sure there is no residual power in the PC

Step 3: Locate and Take Out Panel Screws Covering the RAM


  • Depending on your laptop's brand there may be 1-5 screws that lock the panel in
    • In this example we only have 1 screw to take out
  1. The back panel is usually located below the battery
  2. Take your Phillips head screwdriver and unscrew all the necessary screws

Step 4: Take Out Panel Covering the RAM and Locate RAM

The panel on your laptop might be easier or more difficult than others to take off. Just use caution and don't be overly aggressive when you try to take it out.

NOTE: Some RAM sticks can be different colors (e.g blue or green). It depends on the manufacturer who made the RAM.

Step 5: Remove Guards Holding the RAM in Place

These guards lock the RAM in place so that they cannot move from their seating.

  1. Pull guards to the side
    1. The RAM stick should pop up
  2. At an angle, slowly pull the RAM stick out of its seating

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 for Other RAM Stick

These guards may be harder to pull out.

WARNING: If it doesn't budge, don't force it out! One of the guards may still be holding the RAM stick

Step 7: Insert New RAM Into Bottom Slot First

You need to insert it from the bottom first because otherwise you would not be able to reach it if you were to insert it in the top.

  1. Line up the notch in the RAM stick with the slot (see 1st picture)
    • WARNING: if it doesn't fit, don't force it in! You may have to realign it properly
  2. Slide it in at an angle
    • It's correctly in if the RAM guards are lined up with the notches on both side of the stick (see 2nd picture)
  3. Push down gently until you hear an audible click
  4. RAM guards should be locked into the RAM (see 3rd picture)
  5. Repeat this step again for the RAM slot above the bottom slot, if you have another stick to install

Step 8: Repeat Step 7 for the Second RAM Stick

Step 9: Place Panel on Top of Exposed RAM and Screw In

Step 10: Slide Battery Back In

Make sure the tabs are in the locked position after you slide it in

Step 11: (Optional) Acknowledge Memory Change Message

  • In some situations, depending on the laptop, you may see a system message when first power on your computer that will say the amount of system memory has changed.
  • Just follow the onscreen instructions to continue (usually have to press F1)
  • Image source:

Step 12: (Optional) Windows Error Recovery

If you receive this message on startup, attempt to “Start Windows Normally”. If your PC cycles back to this error, you will need to attempt to reinstall your RAM. Return to Step 1 of this document and try again. If after reinstallation you still receive the above error message, you will need to remove the RAM and reinstall the original RAM. You will need to contact the seller\manufacture to return the defective RAM.

Image Source:

Step 13: Power on Laptop and Verify RAM Is Installed Correctly

For Windows Vista/7:

  1. Click on the Start menu
  2. Right click on Computer
  3. Go to Properties
  4. Under Memory it should display the amount of new RAM installed
    • in this case, we upgraded to 6GBs of RAM

For Windows 8/8.1/10:

  1. Click on the Start menu
  2. Type in "This PC"
  3. Right click and go to properties
  4. Under Memory it should display the amount of new RAM installed

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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    definitely make sure to include in your 'ible that the type of ram matters. you don't want to try to put ddr3 ram into a ddr2 slot etc. Followers need to know before hand that the type of ram for their system must be compatible before wasting money on a part that might not work


    3 years ago

    nice. should include 1 step with: select type of ram


    3 years ago

    We had to do this for my old computer too so it could keep up with the games we were playing :)