If you've ever switched from a desktop computer to a laptop, the experience can be liberating. While some might enjoy having a single space in which to work at a computer and organize files both physical and digital, a desktop can also keep you feeling anchored to the spot. It relies on electrical outlets 100 percent of the time, and carrying all of its bulky components from one place to the next isn't convenient, either.
Laptops, however, run on battery power, and, once sufficiently charged, can operate anywhere you carry them. They're small, thin and lightweight, so whether you want to lounge on the couch or work at the coffee shop, laptops are portable and easy tools to use.
But the only real difference between a laptop and a desktop, of course, is how they're put together. A laptop has all of the same hardware and accessories a desktop does, like a screen, a keyboard, a microprocessor, memory storage and a series of fans to cool the system down. Everything is just arranged differently since it needs to fit in a much smaller package. That means once you start building up more files, adding more pictures, uploading more music and using more programs simultaneously, you'll experience something many laptop computer users lament -- slow load times and sluggish performance.
Typically, the culprit behind any performance issue is an insufficient amount of random access memory, or RAM. Although some owners cringe at the thought of adding more RAM because a laptop's layout isn't as straightforward as a desktop, sometimes adding or upgrading the RAM on your system is the easiest and cheapest solution to increasing your laptop's performance.
Once you've purchased the necessary RAM module, you're ready to add more memory to your computer. Before you start anything, make sure the laptop is completely turned off and unplugged from any power sources for the sake of safety. It's also recommended that you use an antistatic wrist strap while you're handling a RAM module.
Once everything is powered down, you'll need to find the memory compartment door. Different manufacturers put these slots in different places, but on most laptops, you'll find a small door on the underside of the machine. Using the appropriate screwdriver, open the door and take a look inside. There are typically two slots for RAM. If both slots are full, you'll have to remove one of the modules and replace it with a module with more memory to upgrade your laptop's RAM. You can remove a RAM module by pressing on the little ejector clips that hold the module in place. If one of the slots is empty, you can simply place the new module in the slot. Adding a module is fairly straightforward -- it should just slide into place and, once you give it a little push, it'll lock down with the help of the clips. Again, your experience may be different depending on the company that made your computer, so make sure to check your owner's manual or support Web site before you start opening your laptop's case.
Once you have everything back into place, replace the access door and turn on your computer. If everything goes well, your laptop should automatically recognize the extra memory. You'll find that your computer will boot much faster, run applications more smoothly and switch between programs with less lag time.