Desktop Memory Installation

To install desktop memory, you will need the following equipment:

  • A small screwdriver
  • Static strap (highly recommended)
  • Your desktop user's manual

Step 1: Ground yourself

Computer memory is extremely sensitive to static electricity. Therefore, before handling and installing it, you should always ground yourself. There are a couple of ways to do this. We recommend wearing a static strap (pictured). First, switch your computer off, but leave it plugged into the power source. Then, connect the grounding wire from the static strap to any part of your computer that is metal and unpainted, and put the strap around your wrist, making sure the metal part of the strap touches your skin. If you don't have a static strap, you can keep yourself grounded by installing your memory on an uncarpeted surface such as tile or concrete. However, without the static strap you will need to touch an unpainted metal part of your computer every couple of minutes to discharge static electricity. Also, try not to walk around while installing hardware, as this can generate static.

Step 2: Open Your Computer Case

First, turn off any devices attached to your computer, such as the monitor, printers, etc. Consult your computer manual to learn where your case opens. You will probably need to unscrew some screws on the back of your case and slide one side of the case off. Be sure to keep track of any screws you remove so you can easily put them back into place! Once your computer case is open, lay it on its side so the opening and motherboard are facing upwards.

Step 3: Find Your Memory Sockets

The memory sockets in your computer should all be grouped close together, and in most cases will be black with white clips on the ends for holding the memory sticks in place.

Some newer motherboards have sockets that are colors other than black, but they will all have clips on the ends for holding memory in place. Depending on your motherboard, you may have anywhere from 2 to 6 sockets (or even possibly more, if it is a server).

Your computer will probably already have a memory module installed in at least one socket. If you need to remove existing memory for any reason, such as if all of your sockets are filled, then move on to step 4. Otherwise, skip ahead to step 5.

Step 4: Removing existing memory (if necessary)

Removing existing memory is a simple process. Locate the memory stick you want to remove and press down on the white clips holding the memory in place. Once the clips slide outwards, the stick should pop up and out of the socket. Then just remove the stick from the socket. We recommend storing it in a static-proof bag or container after removal to prevent damage to it.

Step 5: Installing Your New Memory

First, remove your memory from the anti-static bag and hold it carefully by the edges. Try not to touch the gold contacts at the bottom of the module. Find the first open memory socket (closest to any existing installed memory) and make sure the white clips on the socket are open. If they are open, they will be resting at an angle to the socket, rather than straight up and down.

Lining up the memory
Look for the notch or notches cut out of the bottom of the memory stick, in between the gold contacts. Then look at your memory sockets. You should see a corresponding ridge or ridges (also known as keys) in the memory socket that match up with the notches on your memory stick.

Inserting the memory
Once you have the memory lined up with the socket, firmly press straight down on the top of the memory stick until it clicks into place in the socket. When the memory is properly installed, the clips will click into place in the sides of the stick, holding it in place. You should also barely be able to see the tops of the gold contacts.

Step 6: Close Your Case

Almost there! Now you just need to make sure you reconnected any internal cables or cords you unplugged and then replace the door to your case. Replace any screws you removed. Plug in any cables or cords you removed, then power on your computer. You're done!


If your new memory is not working properly, please try the following steps:

  • Check that you plugged in all cables and power cords after installation. Also verify that no cables, connections or wires came loose during installation, both inside and outside of your computer.
  • Check that the memory is properly seated in its socket. Make sure that the memory is firmly held in place by the clips, and try taking the memory completely out and putting it firmly back in to check the connection. If your laptop has two memory sockets, you can also try inserting the memory module in the other socket.

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