written by: KennethSleight•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/7/2011
Installing more RAM to help your Vista operating system perform better is easy and often necessary if you've installed Vista on an existing computer system, instead of purchasing a new computer with the version of Vista you prefer preloaded.
slide 1 of 3
Vista Uses a Large Amount of RAM Memory
So, you used the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to find out that your present system is powerful enough to allow Vista’s features to operate. But after installing Vista the computer is slow and unresponsive and Vista doesn’t operate like the cutting edge operating system you expected. What should you do? Installing more RAM is probably the fix you need.
Vista is a feature heavy operating system that requires large amounts of RAM memory to operate at peak efficiency. Because of this you may need to upgrade your system’s RAM memory to take full advantage of all of its features and capabilities. Although RAM is relatively easy to install even for a novice, it’s often difficult to determine which type and how much RAM your computer can handle.
Fortunately, memory manufacturers like Crucial and Kingston make this easier with online tools that show you the right type of RAM to install in your computer. Generally, the operator’s manual for your computer or motherboard should also list what kind of memory and how much you can install for your computer. It will be necessary to open the outer case on your computer to find out how many empty slots (if any) currently exist on your motherboard. No empty slot, no more memory can be added unless you take out the existing RAM memory chip and replace it with a chip with more memory.
Note that you would still have to check to see if your system can handle the larger RAM memory chip. Your manual will indicate the location of your RAM memory – usually it’s in the upper right hand section of a motherboard. If you don’t see any empty slots you will have to take out one of the older modules and replace it with one with more memory like we mentioned earlier.
slide 2 of 3
How Much RAM Does Your System Have
If you want to determine how much RAM memory your PC currently has, click the Start button, choose Control Panel, select System and Maintenance, and click System. The amount of RAM memory currently installed in your computer will appear under the System heading on the resulting screen that pops up in front of your eyes. We suggest you should upgrade to at least 1 GB of RAM memory (2 GB is better) and this should make Vista run efficiently on your system provided the rest of your system is up to snuff.
If you plan on running multiple programs or applications, or editing videos and digital images with your system, you’ll definitely see much better results from these programs if you upgrade to at least 3GB of RAM memory (If you install 4 GB of RAM memory and you're running a 32-bit version of Vista, the system may register the 4 GB of RAM memory you installed as 3GB).
slide 3 of 3
Installing More RAM in Your Computer
It is important to remember to shut down the computer and unplug all the cables that are attached to your computer before doing anything else. Once this is done, open the computer case and touch the internal metal frame to ground yourself. This is a good thing to do with any electronic component to prevent destroying your expensive components and in this case from electrifying the internal components of your computer.
If at this time you find that you will need to remove one of the old RAM chips before you can install a new module. Just make sure you press down on the clips that lock the installed RAM chip into position, and the module should release easily from the slot. To insert the new RAM chip, gently push the module straight down into the memory slot. Just make sure you place your thumbs at the ends of the RAM chip to apply an even amount of pressure so both ends go in at the same time. The arms of the clips should return to a flush 180 degree upward position and lock the new RAM memory chip securely into place in its slot.
After this all that is required is that you put the computer’s outer casing back on the way you took it off and then reattach all of the computer’s necessary cords to the right slots. At this time you should, of course, restart your computer to make certain your PC's BIOS (basic input/output system) detects the newly installed RAM and the appropriate amount of RAM that you just installed in your computer.
If installing more RAM doesn't give you all of the speed you are looking for then you may want to invest in a new graphics card to relieve the processing load on the main CPU.
Welcome to the world of Microsoft's Windows Vista. Here we will take you through the world of Vista, which is being created day to day by you the user and provide you with information, helpful hints and suggestions on how to use your Vista system better and get more production out of Vista.