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Memory installation troubleshooting tips

Is your computer having trouble recognizing your new memory upgrade? Don't get frustrated! Most of the time, memory installation problems can be easily resolved with one of the following solutions.

Press harder when inserting modules into the memory slot.

Make sure the notches in your module are lined up with the keys in the slot, then press down using 20 to 30 pounds of pressure. While this may seem like a lot of force to use on a small module, it's necessary to properly "seat" the module. If installed properly, the clips on the side of module should snap into place on their own and a thin portion of the gold pins — 1/16th of an inch or less — should be visible (about the width of a line of pencil drawn on a piece of paper).

OS memory limitations.

The problem may not be due to your hardware. It could be your operating system, because there's a maximum amount of memory that a Windows-based operating system (OS) can accept.

Double-check your power cords.

Make sure all your power cords are plugged in. We get multiple calls about memory not working when the computer just needs to be plugged in!

Double-check internal cables.

Did you accidentally bump one of the wires or cables inside your computer while you were installing your modules? A loose hard drive cable can prevent your computer from booting up properly. Make sure all cables are firmly lodged in their sockets.

Update your BIOS.

If your computer is older, it may need a BIOS (Basic Input Output System) update in order to work with today's technology. Don't worry — updating your BIOS isn't as difficult as it sounds. To update your BIOS, contact your system or motherboard manufacturer and they'll direct you to where you can download the software for free.

More installation tips

  1. Remove and reinstall the modules to make sure that they are seated securely in the socket.
  2. Make sure that your new memory is the same type as your old memory (i.e. FPM/EDO/SDRAM, parity/non-parity/ECC, buffered/unbuffered). Using EDO or SDRAM in a system that does not support it will not work, often resulting in a blank screen and no POST (power on self test), or a BIOS/CMOS setup error.
  3. Fill your slots starting with the largest density and working to the smallest (put the largest module in slot 0, and the second largest in slot 1, and so on). Some systems go in reverse order, so if this doesn't work, try reversing the procedure.
  4. If you get a memory mismatch error follow the prompts to enter setup, then select save and exit. (This is not an error — some systems must do this to update their CMOS settings.)
  5. If your system is only reading half of the new module's memory, and the module has chips on both sides, then your system probably will only recognize single-banked or single-sided modules. Please return the memory and request single-sided modules with the same density.
Two ways to find your upgrades

Crucial Advisor tool
If you know your system's specs, use this tool.

Crucial System Scanner
If you don't know your system's specs, use this tool.