First step: refer to your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for installation instructions or user documentation. For Server machines, look for the service manuals which have the memory population guidelines
Before doing work of any kind on any computer, back up your important data.
Create a work area, with a clean, non-scratching surface and a secure place to put screws and other small parts. You may want a flashlight for seeing details inside a desktop machine. Laptops will require jeweller’s screwdrivers, some machines require Torx or hex drivers.
Turn off and unplug your machine before removing or installing RAM. Unplug all cables, making note of where they were plugged in. Laptops should usually have the main battery removed (consult your manual for specifics).
Open your machine and locate the RAM sockets on the motherboard.
Leave RAM modules in the static-safe packaging until ready to install, then handle modules by the outside edges only, do not touch the gold or tin contact pins on the bottom edge. Follow static electricity precautions; do not touch modules unless you have grounded yourself to drain static charge from your body. Grounding yourself can be done by touching a large metal object like a desk, maintaining skin contact with the metal chassis of the computer while you work on the RAM, or using a conductive grounding strap that attaches to your wrist and connects to a ground.
Observe the pins on the bottom edge of the RAM module, you will see one or more notches cut in the edge. These notches correspond to barriers or “keys” across the slot of the memory socket. Notice that the notches are not centered, but one set of contacts is longer than the other(s), there is only one way that it fits. Align the module so the notches match the keys of the socket and make sure the pins are all within the socket. If the notches do not match the socket, STOP. Either the module is facing the wrong way, or you are not working on a memory socket (there are other similar looking sockets in a machine) or you have the wrong variety of RAM.
SODIMM modules (laptops)
There are two clips on the sides of the socket (metal or plastic) which click into place when the module is brought down to the flat position and properly seated. Be careful not to damage these clips when removing or installing SO-DIMMs.
To remove RAM, gently pull outward on these clips, no more than 1/8”, which releases the module to rise up and then it can be pulled back out of the socket
To install SODIMM RAM in most machines, insert the module at a 45 degree angle, connector pins first, into the socket. Make sure the module is square to the socket and push the module, keeping the 45 degree angle, into the socket until the pins inserted as far as they will go with light pressure. There should be no more than 1/16” of the contacts remaining showing and the edge should be parallel with the socket edge.
Then angle the module down to the flat position – this should take very little effort. The two side clips will “click” when the module is properly seated. If they do not, it probably means the connector pins are not inserted far enough into the socket.
DIMM modules (desktops)
Identify the RAM sockets – Some machines require the sockets to be populated with RAM in a particular order, or in corresponding pairs of sockets – consult your manufacturer’s information.
To remove RAM, press the tops of the locking levers down and away from the socket and the module will “pop” up out of the socket.
This type of RAM is installed straight downwards, do not angle them into the socket.
Open the locking levers at the ends of the socket if necessary by pressing their handles down and away from the socket (1).
Align the module with the socket, with the ends in the grooves of the levers. Press evenly down with both thumbs using moderate pressure, you want the module to seat in the socket squarely without angling at all (2).
Most RAM sockets will “click” at each end when the module is correctly seated. The levers should pivot to an upright position on the ends of the module. If not, return them to the upright position by hand
Other RAM installation tips:
Your machine may require a BIOS (or firmware) upgrade to recognize the larger amount of RAM, check with your manufacturer’s website (not your printed instruction manual) for the latest BIOS information.
Increased RAM requires a larger amount of hard drive space for the Swap File or Virtual Memory file. If your hard drive is full, or badly fragmented, the machine may not work with the larger RAM. Clear space and/or run a disk optimizer to clean up the drive.
Some machines use “shared memory” for video memory. This means that a machine with 8GB of RAM, and 1.5GB of that used for “shared” video memory, will report only 6.5 GB of memory available for Windows. This is normal. Machines that have 32 bit operating systems or 32 bit BIOSes, cannot recognize RAM over 4 GB, and in Windows will report 3.5 GB or less RAM available. A fully 64-bit compatible processor, OS and BIOS are neede to recognize more than 4 GB RAM.
Every machine has a limit on the size (or density) of the memory module that its memory controller can address – larger modules will not be recognized if the controller is not programmed to count that high. So even if a machine has a “standard” DDR4 memory socket, it may not be able to recognize a large memory module like a 32 GB DDR4 module.
You can test newly installed RAM with a free utility MemTest https://www.memtest.org/ which you will burn to a CD or a USB stick and theb boot the machine from
Find your laptop PC machine take-apart instructions at your PC manufacturer’s support website, look for a service manual or maintainence manual, on YouTube, or check the Repair Guides at iFixIt. com