Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Easiest Way I Know to Install New RAM on an iMac

To skip my long story and get to the instructions, scroll down until you see the large header.

Note:  I wrote this a week ago but forgot to publish it!

Well, I thought I broke my computer this morning.  Thankfully, I did not.

I've noticed for several weeks, maybe even a few months, that my computer was slowing down.  Macs are supposed to be just as fast as the day you bought it for years on down the road, but that was not the case with me.  I downloaded a little app (free) called Memory Clean which offers a quick way to flush your RAM of unnecessary info.  I even set it on automatic clean, but it only helped marginally.

I decided to buy some additional RAM as a Christmas present to myself.  I checked which RAM I needed by going to <apple icon in menu bar> > About This Mac > More Info > Memory > Memory Upgrade Instructions.  The instructions seemed simple enough, so I carefully made note of which RAM I needed and bought it from Amazon.

First step, unplug the computer and let it cool down.  While waiting, I reviewed what else I have to do for Christmas.  I caught myself wanting to look up something on the computer several times, but I had to resort to using my phone.

Second step, lay a towel down on a table and set the computer screen-side-down on top of the towel.  I was somewhat surprised at how dusty it was on the back, so I grabbed a cloth and cleaned it up.

Third step, use a screwdriver to remove the little door at the bottom.  The door has itty-bitty screws, so I thought I needed an itty-bitty screwdriver.  I tried two which didn't work.  I got out a regular sized one and that did the trick. It needed a bigger one to grab the slots.  To my surprise, it was dusty inside, too, so I cleaned that off as well.

Fourth step, pull the tabs out so that the slots are accessible, remove RAM from packaging, and insert the RAM into the slots.  They were hard to get in, but I thought I had it.  I inserted them, put the cover back on, cleaned up my desk, put the computer back on, plugged it in, and turned it on.  Nothing.  WHAT??!  In the words of my three-year-old daughter, "That did not happen!"  What did I dooooo?  What do I do now?

I opened the computer back up and tried to get the new memory cards out so that I could reinsert them and try again.  I couldn't even get a good grip on either one of them!  I pushed and pulled to no avail.  I decided to plug it in again and see what would happen.

This time, it didn't come one again.  A quick search on the iPad recommended resetting some something or other that I've forgotten the name of, but basically you unplug it, press the power button for 5 seconds (or 10 like I did).  I did that, and then, it beeped at me.  BEEP BEEP BEEP and a black screen. Oh no!!!!  The good thing is that since it was "talking" to me, at least the whole computer wasn't messed up.  (Although I've since read that actually it can mean your computer is toast.)

Back to the table.  I tried again to remove the RAM.  Then I heard Gracie crying (I had hoped to get the whole thing done before she woke.).  She wanted me to lay down with her, so I did.  She got on my "blue phone" and watched Garfield on Netflix, and I got on the iPad and searched for a solution.

The following is what I did to successfully install my new RAM, after which I sent up a big "Thank You" to God for allowing me not to break my computer!

The Easiest Way I Know To Install New RAM on an iMac

1.  Check which RAM your computer needs by going to: <apple icon in menu bar> > About This Mac > More Info > Memory > Memory Upgrade Instructions.  Make careful note about which RAM you need.

2.  I recommend getting RAM from Crucial. (You can purchase from Amazon and save some money.) They also have a system scanner which tells you which RAM you need.  If you have an iMac, don't be concerned if your memory says Notebook; it will still work.

3.  Unplug your computer, and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.  I did read one recommendation to wait a couple of hours.  If you can do without your computer for a couple of hours, then do that.  In the meantime, lay a towel down on a table, and put the computer face-down with the bottom facing you.

4.  Use a larger-than-you-think screwdriver to remove the screws from the little cover.  You may want to remove the dust inside.

5.  Remove the tabs and then pull on the memory cards, one at a time, to remove the RAM that's already there, even if you're keeping that RAM.  You may have to actually pull on the plastic tabs in order to remove those memory cards.  With both slots empty, carefully insert your new RAM in the bottom slot, pushing it in with your thumb(s).  If it's still hard to insert all the way or it hurts your thumbs, find a small hard object to push the RAM into the slot. (I used the feet of a Winnie the Pooh ornament.) It'll kind of click when it's all in.  Then you can put the original RAM back into the top slot using the same method.  Repeat for the other side.  For the iMac, you can have 1, 2, or 4 RAM cards, but not just 3.  Keep that in mind.  I left my original RAM in the top slots and my new RAM in the bottom slots.

If you have trouble and need to remove the RAM, pull on the plastic tabs rather hard to remove the RAM.  The top RAM will pop out which makes the bottom RAM MUCH easier to remove.

6.  Put the cover back on.  Plug in your computer and turn it on.  If you see the white screen with the loading spinning thing, you're good to go.  It took a much longer time than usual for the computer to turn on and to get going, but I expect that is a one-time problem.

Please note, I have restricted comments on website due to an increasing problem of Anonymous spamming.  If are unable to leave a comment, then please send me an email at mrsavakinsey (gmail).  Thank you!

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