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RAM Troubles

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One of the many reasons why your computer could be running slow, is a RAM related issue. You should first do some inspecting on the software side if the lag you are experiencing is not too horrendous. While there are several software approaches to fixing RAM, I'll only talk about a diagnosis to the problem, and a possible (very, very, very cheap) solution.


These next software steps are intended for Windows 7. Click on the Start menu icon, right click on Computer, click on Properties. Look under "Installed Memory (RAM):" and see what it says. The number to the left should tell you how much RAM is installed on your computer. The number in parentheses is how much your computer is able to use. If you have a 64-bit system (which you can see under "System Type:" then you should have at least 2 GB RAM. If you have 4 GB RAM installed, you will want at least 3 GB usable. However, not all computers have the "usable" bit shown.


If you do not see how much usable RAM you have, try this: http://wizards.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1271/~/creating-a-dxdiag-file. This file has some very useful information. Under "Memory" is how much you have installed. Under "Available OS RAM" is how much your computer is using.


Now, close all running applications. Press CTRL+ALT+DLT. Open task manager. On the applications tab, make sure all of your applications are closed. Look at the bottom of the window. There are two statistics that are constantly changing, "CPU Usage" and "Physical Memory." CPU Usage should be relatively low if you don't have applications running, but this guide will focus on Physical Memory. This is related to RAM, how many processes you have open, etc. If you have 4 GB RAM installed it should be around the 30s range in percent. If it is shown as being much higher (say, in the 70s to 90s) then you probably have a problem!


While there are several software solutions, none of them worked for me, so I will share with you all the way I fixed my computer's RAM.


Materials Needed:

1. Phillips (cross-shaped) screwdriver, may vary depending on where your computer was made.

2. A roll of paper towels.

3. A box of cotton sticks, Q-tips, or whatever they are called in your country.

4. A bottle of rubbing alcohol (not the drinking kind).



1. Shut off your computer.

2. Disconnect your computer from all sources of electricity.

3. Unscrew your computer and open it up. May vary as per model, but many open from the side. Will be the bottom if a laptop.

4. If your computer opened on its left side (while looking at the front), once you have opened it you will notce to the right (while looking at the open side) that there are 4 colored slots. Mine were blue and black. If you have two sticks of RAM they should be in the same color slot.

5. ONLY TOUCH THE TOP AND BOTTOM SIDES OF THE RAM STICK. I am not at fault if you mishandle it.

6. Eject the RAM sticks, carefully, onto a paper towel. There will be two white tabs holding the sticks into place. Gently but firmly press on them (push down on the bottom one, up on the top one) to release the stick.

7. Lay the sticks facing up, and remember what way they were facing while inside the machine and what slots they were in.

8. Pour rubbing alcohol onto the cotton end of a cotton stick. Gently rub along the gold edge of the RAM stick. Then, gently dry it with a paper towel. Do this for both / all. You may also wish the clean the slots which the RAM came from, but dry it with a cotton stick to not disrupt nearby wires, etc.

9. Return your RAM sticks to their proper places. Screw the lid back on your computer. Reconnect power and start up. If you did it correctly, Windows will start up.

10. Before you reconnect your computer to the power you may wish the clean out any dust. Do this with a DRY wash cloth. You can use cotton sticks dipped in alcohol to clean out the fan.


Well, that is one solution. It was a heck of a lot easier than I thought it would be. Just set aside a good chunk of time to do it so you don't feel rushed, that way you won't mess up. I've heard of "grounding" bands and the like, but as long as you only touch the top and bottom bits of the RAM sticks, you will be fine. I went from 1.39 GB usable (below minimum for 64-bit) to 3.39 GB usable after doing this. I had 4 GB installed.


I hope this will help others. It is very cheap if you have the materials already, but it beats buying a $20 to $50 stick replacement. I found this method of cleaning conductor metals worked with old NES and ATARI games sometimes too, which gave me inspiration. Gold does not rust, but it can sometimes get little black spots on it, which is not a good sign if that gold is inside your beloved creation computer. :)


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