How to Scan a PC for a Memory Upgrade

by Andrew Walker

Increasing the memory in your computer is the best way to give it a big boost in performance. Even two- or three-year-old computers may just not be keeping up anymore. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars buying a whole new system, swap out your old pieces of random access memory (RAM) for new RAM with higher capacities. While no scanners are available straight through Windows to tell you what kind of RAM you need as of 2010, several websites have software that can scan your system and provide this information.

Crucial System Scanner

Navigate your browser to the website crucial.com/systemscanner and click the "Download The Scanner" bar. Save the file wherever you would like.

Locate the saved file and double-click it. Your default Internet browser will open, and the scanning process will begin. The results will open in your Internet browser as well.

Save or print the page that opens, and bring it to your local computer store. Store staff will match out the RAM that you need. You can also purchase the RAM directly from Crucial's website.

Kingston Technologies

Navigate to Kingston's website at kingston.com/shop. Locate the box in the top left corner labeled "Memory Search."

Click the drop-down list labeled "Search by Manufacturer," then click the name of your manufacturer. A new page will open. Click the model of your computer.

Click "Search." Another new page will open. From here, you can look at your system information, find recommended upgrades and purchase the RAM you need.

Opening the Case

Power down your computer. Turn off the switch to your power supply (if needed), and unplug all peripherals.

Unscrew the large screw on the back of your computer tower. If you have a laptop, locate the panel on its underside and unscrew the two screws holding it down to access the RAM.

Remove one of the sticks by unlocking the tabs located on its sides and pulling the piece out. (The process remains the same for both laptop and desktop, but the tabs holding a laptop's RAM in are thinner, longer and made of metal.)

Locate the model of the RAM you removed. It should have a label such as "PC-2700" or "PC2-5300," which represents the type of RAM specific to your computer.

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About the Author

Andrew Walker is an English major at the University of Central Florida following the technical communications track. He has worked on and with technology for most of his life, both in retail sales and professionally as an intern for the banking software company Fidelity National Informational Services.

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