My PC Doesn't See Its New RAM

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Wlczsf asked the Laptops forum why his PC doesn't see all of its new RAM.

Sounds like an ungrateful laptop. You buy it an expensive gift and it doesn't even want to acknowledge it.

Seriously, here are a few things you should check:

Can your computer manage that much? Just because the motherboard has the slots doesn't mean it can take the RAM. Check the manual to see how much RAM your computer or motherboard takes. Or visit to find out.

Can your operating system take it? The 32-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7 can't handle more than about 3.5GB of RAM. The 64-bit versions can handle anything that a current motherboard can give them.

Is the RAM properly seated? Shut down the PC, open the case again, and make sure all of the RAM cards are snugly in their slots. You might want to remove each one and plug it back in.

Is the RAM any good? You can find out with the free Memtest86+, which you have to boot separately. You can download the program either as an .iso file--from which you can create a bootable CD--or as an .exe file that will install the program and its bootable operating system onto a flash drive.

Read the original forum discussion.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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