Upgrading Laptop Memory - Illustrated how to upgrade laptop memory

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Copyright 2010 by Morris Rosenthal

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The printable eBook version of The Laptop Repair Workbook is now available for download anywhere in the world.
laptop memory choice Before you start taking your laptop apart looking for a place to stick some more memory, read the manual. If your laptop didn't come with a paper manual or you can't find it, most notebooks are shipped with a PDF of the manual pre-installed of the hard drive. Don't be sure that upgrading or replacing the memory will do any good before you troubleshoot the problem. The manual should describe the maximum memory capacity of the laptop, and you can easily determine how much is currently installed by checking the Windows system information (last screen in this example) or buy watching the memory report when you power the notebook up. Once you ascertain that your laptop will accept a memory upgrade, the next stop for consumer and pc technician alike is Crucial (www.crucial.com).
Crucial's trademarked Memory Advisor walks you step-by-step through selecting the correct memory upgrade for you computer, whether it's a laptop or a desktop. The first choice is manufacturer (Toshiba in this case), the next choice is model (we selected our Satellite) and the final choice is the model number, an old 1625CDT in our case. Crucial then presents the information shown at the right, along with a part selection and price. Our 144pin SODIMM comes with a limited lifetime warrantee, a compatibility guarantee and free tech support for $44.61. maximum laptop ram upgrade
removing satelitte battery The first step I take when working on any laptop is to remove the battery. Even though the on/off button is protected under the lid of the screen, I don't want the power coming on due to a short or a mechanical jolt when I'm working inside, so I just take the battery out. Many laptop batteries employ a double lock, with a witch to prevent the slider from accidentally opening. On our Satellite, the switch is bushed back, then the slider is pushed in so the batter can be pulled out.
Once the battery is out, we remove the two screws that secure the memory cavity cover. There's a scary warrantee sticker right on the cover, scary because this notebook went out of warranty 4 years ago and I'm still using it. I never buy the extended warranty on anything, including laptops, and it drives me a little nuts when friends and family members tell me, "and I bought the extended warranty you suggested." People hear what they want to hear. how to access laptop ram memory
SODIMM installed in laptop The lid lifts away exposing the SODIMM socket, which is mounted parallel to the motherboard. There's only one expansion memory socket in this laptop, so upgrading from 64MB to 192MB with a 128MB SODIMM was pretty much the only option. But it makes a big difference running Windows 98, where the 1 GB to 4Gb upgrade on the XP laptop was barely noticeable. Going from 1 GB to 2GB for Windows Vista on the Acer made a huge difference.
Static electricity can kill computer parts. In over 20 years of working with computers I've only ever blown up one component with a static discharge, a hard drive, and I felt it when it happened. Lots of experts will tell you that parts are always accumulating micro-damage from imperceptible static electricity shocks from handling. Frankly, while I understand the theory, I don't see it in practice, and the anecdotes I've been told about mysterious component failure usually have far more practical explanations. I keep the memory in it's static bag right up until I'm ready to install it in the laptop and I ground myself on a metal lamp that first, and that's good enough for me. upgrade sodimm in static free envelope

installing sodimm in laptop

sodimm insertion
seating the ram in the notebook Unlike regular PC DIMMs, SODIMMs for laptops are installed on an angle and then leaned down into the latches. The picture above shows the SODIMM being inserted with the notch in the contact edge matching the key in the laptop memory socket. The picture to the upper right shows the inserted SODIMM sitting at its insertion angle, about 30 degrees over the horizontal. The final picture in the sequence to the right illustrates pushing the SODIMM down against the latches on the laptop motherboard, which engage in the notches. You can also see the white plastic key coming through the contact edge of the SODIMM, right below the corner of the second memory chip from the left.
Once the SODIMM is snapped into place, we reinstall the cover, secure it with two screws, and reinstall the battery. When I'm working on desktops, I usually test upgrades and repair before closing up the case, but I don't like firing up a laptop without fully assembling it first if I don't have to. Either the laptop will register the memory or it wont, but the way the sockets are designed, a SODIMM that snaps into place is installed correctly and should work. The Windows System Properties screen below provides a simple check that not only does laptop recognize the new memory, but Windows sees is as well. Memory upgrades are about the easiest laptop upgrade you can do, because if the memory is upgradeable, you can usually get at the socket without taking the whole laptop apart. replacing access panel after laptop memory upgrade
windows showing new ram installed
The printable eBook version of The Laptop Repair Workbook is now available for download anywhere in the world.