Thursday, September 10, 2009

DIY IT: How to Upgrade RAM on Your Desktop

Don't you love it when things sometimes work out? I'm very proud to say that even though I'm not that skilled in IT, I was able to upgrade my desktop's RAM - ALL BY MYSELF. Yes, you heard it right. Little 'ole me took out the scary-looking old memory modules and inserted the scary-looking new ones. But I have to make one admission: although I did do it alone, I had the help of a video tutorial that I found on YouTube, which is below.

My Dell Dimension 3000 desktop has been sloooow as molasses for some time now, and that's after regularly running anti-virus and anti-spyware scans, as well as doing a disc clean. When I bought my computer in 2005 (I know, it's a dinosaur) it came with 512MB of RAM, or memory in it, so I decided that maybe it was time to add a little more to that to speed things up. I started out by calling Dell, who wanted to charge me for the installation. Before plunking down any money I like to check other options so I went to the forums on the website where users were saying how easy it was to do it yourself and how glad they were about upgrading. [Finding things on the Dell site isn't easy, so to save you some time here's what I did: once on the site I entered "dell dimension 3000 ram upgrade" on the search box, which took me to a results page where I clicked on "forums" on the sidebar. There were over 1000 comments which I found very helpful and encouraging.]

After some comparison shopping I found that Dell offered a better deal on memory upgrades than anywhere else, so I placed my order and received it about a week later (that would be today). Looking for some installation guidance I emailed my friend who's an IT wiz, but not hearing back from him (and being the impatient diva that I am) I decided to do a search to see if there were any good "how-to" videos. Well guess what? They're not perfect but I found a couple. Below is the one I liked the best.

Expert Mike Heck goes through it step by step, but here's some additional comments I would add:

  • Opening the side panel - he makes it look simple but I had trouble because the side panel was stuck and wouldn't slide over, so I used a flat screwdriver and a hammer to dislodge it.
  • Inserting the modules - make sure the notch in the middle aligns to the middle notch on the slot, and then push down hard until it clicks into place by itself. I had to do this twice because the first time I closed the clips myself and it didn't work. When I plugged in the power outlet it started beeping and the computer wouldn't start. So I went back and tried again and this time I pushed in harder (they say you have to use 20-30 pounds of force) and it finally clicked on its own. When I plugged in the power outlet there were no beeps and it started beautifully.

That was it! One thing I miss about working for a corporation is being able to call tech support and having someone come over immediately. Now that I have to figure things out for myself I was really jazzed about getting over my fears and successfully upgrading my computer's memory so it can run faster. With the help of a video I mustered up the courage and learned I could do this myself, which is reward in and of I'll be looking for my next D-I-Y IT project!

Do you have any IT projects you feel proud of? Please share!

Related posts:
Are you Protected? Tips on adding anti-virus and backing up your files
Selecting an External Drive

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