Memory Installation

Q: I am not sure where to install my new memory on my desktop computer. How can I tell which slot is for memory?
A: The easiest way to tell which slot is for memory is to first determine if you already have memory installed. Take a look inside your case at your motherboard and see if there is already a piece or pieces of memory installed that looks like the one you just received. If so, there should be at least one empty memory slot next to it, although there could be several more. Memory slots are generally black and have white tabs on either end that latch into the ends of the piece of memory.

Q: Should I take any precautions before installing my memory?
A: Always completely power off and unplug your computer before removing or installing memory. We strongly recommend wearing a wrist strap when installing your memory, as static electricity can potentially damage your processor, motherboard, memory or other computer components. Make sure you are installing the memory in a well-lit area and on a flat and stable surface. When installing the memory, apply firm pressure straight down on the module after making sure the notches in the memory are lined up with the slot. Press down until the white clips on either side of the slot can fit into the notches cut out of the sides of the memory module.

Q: Do I need to install the memory in any particular order?
A: We recommend installing the largest piece of memory (in terms of MB size) in the lowest numbered socket closest. If you cannot find the socket numbers, start with the closest socket to the power plug for the board. If no socket appears closer than the others start with the one nearest to the CPU. While this is usually not a necessity, some systems will not recognize the memory or operate properly unless the largest module is installed in the first socket. After this, install any remaining memory modules in descending order of size over the remaining sockets.

Q: Is it possible to install memory in the wrong direction?
A: Yes, if you look at the bottom of the stick of memory (where the gold pins are located), you will see a notch or notches cut out between the pins. The memory slot will have corresponding keys that stick upwards, so that the memory and slot fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. When installing your memory, first take a look and make sure these notches line up to insure proper installation. Although memory will usually not fit if it is in backwards, in some cases it is possible to get the memory stuck in the wrong direction, which can cause serious damage to the system or memory, so it is vital to line up the notches properly before installation.

Q: The memory I bought has a different number of notches than the memory socket. What should I do?
A: If you're certain that you're installing it into the memory socket (see photo below), it sounds like you got the wrong kind of memory. There are several types of memory that look very similar but will not operate interchangeably. If you purchased the memory from us, please give us a call and we can get you the correct memory for your system. If you purchased it elsewhere, let your salesperson know that the memory does not fit. Take a look at our configurator to double-check what kind of memory your system requires so that you can be sure you get the correct kind of memory. Under no circumstances should you try to force memory into the socket if the notches do not line up, as this can cause irreparable damage to your system.

Q: The memory I received is too long/short for the memory socket. What should I do?
A: If you're certain that you're installing the memory into the correct socket (see photo above), you may have the wrong memory. If you bought the memory from us, please contact us and let us know that this is the case. If you have other memory already installed, compare it to the new memory and note any differences. You may need to provide information from the existing memory stick to the customer service person. If the memory you received is too long or short, do not attempt to install it anyway. You may damage the memory and your system in the process.

Q: The memory stick I bought seems to be too tall for my system, or I can't install it because other pieces of hardware are in the way.
A: Some systems leave very little overhead clearance for installing pieces of memory. We are aware of this issue and send out the shortest piece of memory available that will work in a system, but occasionally a system will be custom-configured in a way that prevents access to memory slots. If this is the case, we recommend having a professional attempt to reconfigure the system so that you can install more memory, or you can contact us and we will try to find a smaller memory stick that will fit in the system. Another option, if there is absolutely no way to access the open memory sockets, is to install the maximum-sized module in the slot that is accessible. This may require removing existing memory, but for some people this may be the only option, depending on the layout of their system.

Q: I installed the memory I bought and it seems to fit, but my system does not recognize the new memory. What can I do?
A: There can be several things that can cause new memory not to be recognized. First, it is possible that it was not properly installed. Try shutting down the system, removing the new stick and reinserting it fully into the socket. If it is still not recognized, you may require a BIOS update. Please see our guide to updating your BIOS. If the system still does not recognize the memory after a BIOS update, you may have a defective stick, or it may be the wrong kind of memory. Contact us to let us know the memory is still not working and we will work with you to remedy the situation. A final possibility is that you have a defective memory socket, although this is very rare, so it is unlikely.

Q: What should I do if all of my memory sockets are filled but I want to add more memory to my system?
A: You will need to remove at least one existing stick and replace it with a larger module (following the recommendations in the above question regarding order of installation). You can keep doing this until you've reached the maximum system memory. Once you have reached the maximum system memory, even if you have open sockets and add more memory the system will not recognize it.

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