How To Increase RAM on Laptop or Desktop Without Buying

RAM is one of the most important components of your Computer because it has a direct connection with the performance of your computer. RAM also affects the FPS of games and you need a sufficient amount of RAM to run certain games and other software.

If your computer has a high amount of RAM then it will be able to run programs, applications, and games very smoothly. You can stream games at very high quality without any lags or delays.

If your computer is low in RAM then your CPU cannot function properly. Your computer will slow down and you won’t be able to run any programs or games. You will get several warning messages like “Your Computer Is Low on Memory“.

This poses a big problem but thankfully there are ways to increase the RAM on your computer without buying which is quite similar to increasing the VRAM of your graphics card.

Some laptops don’t allow RAM upgradability so if you’re constantly getting error messages for Low Memory then it is better to follow the two methods I have shared in this article for increasing your RAM.

Increase RAM using a USB Flash Drive or SD Card with ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost is a technology used by the Windows Operating System to increase the RAM of your Laptop or Desktop with the help of a USB Flash Drive or SD Card.

The ReadyBoost Technology increases the RAM of your computer by creating a Swap file on the USB Flash Drive or SD Card that has a high Read and Write Speed. The memory of the USB Flash Drive or SD card is used as Cache memory and acts as a replacement for RAM.

It is highly beneficial to create a Swap file on HDDs to increase RAM because their Read and Write Speed is slower than the Read and Write Speed of USB Flash Drive or SD card. This also increases the performance but it cannot match the performance with that of an actual RAM.

This technology is not beneficial for SSDs because the read and write speed of an SSD is much higher than the read and write speed of a USB Flash Drive or SD card. Using this in an SSD decreases the performance of your computer but you will still increase your RAM which is what you need the most.

Before you increase the RAM using a USB Flash Drive it is important that you clear all the space by Formatting your Flash Drive.

Follow the steps below to Format your Flash Drive.

Step A – Right Click on USB Drive and select Format.

select format usb drive

Step B – Select File System as NTFS, Allocation unit size as 4096 bytes and click on Start.

slect ntfs file size and allocation unit size

Step C – You will get a Warning notification saying that Formatting will erase all data. Just Click on OK.

select ok

That’s it your USB Drive is Formatted and now you’re ready to increase RAM using ReadyBoost.

Follow the steps below to increase your RAM with ReadyBoost technology using a USB Flash Drive or SD Card.

Step 1 – Plug in your USB Flash Drive or insert your SD card in your computer.

Step 2 – Open My PC and Right click on the USB Drive and then select Properties.

select properties

Step 3 – Check your current value of Used Space and Free Space then Click on the ReadyBoost tab. My current Used space is 44.4 MB and Free space is 14.5 GB.

select readyboost

Step 4 – Click on Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost option.

dedicate this device to readyboost

Step 5 – Click on Apply then click on OK.

click apply and ok

After this step, you can now check the values of Free Space and Used Space. As you can see, my Used Space is 14.5 GB and Free Space is 5.54 MB.

All the space of the USB Drive has now been allocated to increase the RAM.

After your work is done you can disable ReadyBoost from using your USB Device. In order to do that just select the Do not use this device option under the ReadyBoost tab and then click on Apply, then click on OK.

disable readyboost

ReadyBoost Isn’t Working Problem

Sometimes, you’ll get an error message while using your USB Drive for activating ReadyBoost.

This error message says “This device cannot be used for ReadyBoost. This device does not have the required performance characteristics for use in speeding up your system“.

readyboost error

This error happens because your USB Flash Drive or SD card doesn’t satisfy the minimum requirements for running ReadyBoost.

Here are the minimum requirements for a USB Drive to run ReadyBoost.

(A) The USB Device has to support USB 2.0 or higher.

(B) The USB Flash Drive must have the same or higher total capacity than your RAM memory. For example – If you have 8 GB RAM in your computer then your USB Device should have a total capacity of 8 GB or more.

(C) The USB Flash Drive must have at least 256 MB Free Space.

(D) USB Device must support NTFS or FAT32 file systems.

(E) USB Device should have high Read and Write speed. The Read speed of USB Device should be 3.5 Mbps or higher and the Write speed of USB Device should be 2.5 Mbps or higher.

(F) Data Access Time should be less than or equal to 1 ms.

(G) ReadyBoost doesn’t work with an external USB HDD.

ReadyBoost is a great technology to increase the RAM of your computer especially when you run out of RAM.

If you want to take full advantage of ReadyBoost then you should use it for an HDD because it will increase the performance of your computer. Using it with an SSD might increase the RAM but your performance will reduce.

Increase RAM by Increasing Your Virtual Memory or Pagefile

Increasing the Virtual Memory or the Pagefile size can increase the RAM of your laptop or desktop.

When there is a heavy load on the RAM, the Virtual memory shifts some of those workloads from the RAM to the Virtual Memory. This increases the performance of your computer.

Virtual memory or Pagefile can be regarded as Virtual RAM.

It has been seen that increasing Virtual memory increases the overall performance of your computer. This is because the extra space frees up the load from the RAM and now the free RAM space can be used for other important tasks.

You should always increase the Virtual memory to at least 1.5 times that of the RAM. I recommend increasing your Virtual memory to around 3 times or 4 times the RAM capacity.

You should never increase the Virtual memory beyond 4 times the RAM capacity.

If your RAM is 8 GB then the Virtual Memory should be either 24 GB or 32 GB. You shouldn’t increase the Virtual memory beyond 32 GB in this case.

Follow the Steps below to increase the Virtual memory or Pagefile size.

Step 1 – Open Control Panel.

control panel

Step 2 – Select System Settings.

system settings

Step 3 – Select Advanced System Settings.

advanced system settings

Step 4 – Select the Advanced tab on top and then click on Settings button under Performance section.

settings inside performance section

Step 5 – Select the Advanced tab which is on the top section and then click on the Change button under the Virtual memory section.

virtual memory change

Step 6 – Uncheck the checkbox next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives option by clicking on it.

uncheck automatically manage paging file size

Step 7 – Click on C: Drive on top and then enter the values in Initial Size as and Maximum Size section and then click on the Set button. Initial Size should be 3x of RAM and Maximum Size should be 4x RAM.

Since, I have 8 GB RAM I will put Initial Size as 24576 MB and Maximum Size as 32768 MB.

change paging size of c drive

Step 8 – Once the values appear under Paging file size section click on the OK button.

new paging file size for C drive

Step 9 – You will get a notification to Restart your computer. Click on the OK button to Restart your computer and save the changes.

click ok to restart notification

That’s it. You have increased the Virtual memory of computer. You can now use this memory as virtual RAM.

Conclusion

The two methods shared in this article are good enough to increase the RAM of your computer without spending money on additional RAM.

But an important point to note is that if you mess up any of these methods of increasing the RAM then your computer may stop functioning properly. You’ll get several error messages and in the worst case, your computer may freeze and stop working because there is no Cache memory available.

The best way to increase RAM in a computer is by purchasing additional RAM. This is the safest method that guarantees an increase in overall performance.

Another reason why you should purchase additional RAM is they have become very inexpensive nowadays. You can easily get an 8 GB RAM stick for around $32 to $35.

Choosing the amount of additional RAM for your laptop or desktop can be tough. You should follow a guide on Forums like Reddit or YouTube for better understanding.

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