Can You Add RAM While Computer is On? (Answered, Reasons)

How many of you have built your own PC? True fans understand the thrill of making their own computer, and putting all of the components in the motherboard is pure delight.

To install any hardware to your motherboard, turn off your computer and disconnect it from the power supply.

But is it possible to install RAM while the machine is running? Isn’t it just slipping the RAM into the slot? Let’s see if you can increase RAM to your computer without turning it off.

By continue with this post, let’s find what the answer is.

Can You Add RAM While Computer is On?

Adding or removing RAM while the computer is turned on is not recommended since it might harm the components and perhaps spark a fire.

To prevent problems, switch off your computer and disconnect it from the power supply before trying any alterations.

After that, you may open the computer case and look for the RAM slots on the motherboard.

Check for any clips, locks, or screws holding the RAM in place, then align the RAM with the slot, ensuring that the notch on the RAM matches the notch on the slot.

If your motherboard has more than one slot, follow the recommended slot sequence and setup.

If you unintentionally add or remove RAM while the computer is on, it may not boot or detect the RAM.

Here are some of the key reasons why you should not install RAM while your computer is on.

Safety Hazard

Adding RAM while the PC is running might be very dangerous. Because there are chances of electrocution due to the presence of a bad power supply or sudden power surges.

Although the working voltage is less and the chances of getting electrocuted are slim, accidents can happen and it is not safe to play around.

So, it is always better to avoid installing or even touching the hardware inside your motherboard while the PC is on.

Risk of Damaging the Hardware

While the chances of getting electrocuted with a motherboard are less, the chances of damaging other hardware components are very high. The major reason for this is the static electricity.

When you touch the motherboard while running with your bare hands, the static electricity built up can fry your hardware components. This results in permanent damage to your motherboard.

Trying to install RAM when running the PC can lead to static current passing through the PC components and damage them completely. 

Therefore, to avoid damaging other hardware components in your PC, you must avoid touching it or installing hardware while it is running.

Configuration Issues

We know that installing any hardware in the motherboard will communicate with the OS through BIOS. This means that the new hardware installed in the board must be detected by the BIOS for the OS to recognize it.

When you install the RAM without turning off the PC, there are chances for the BIOS to not recognize your new RAM and it will not configure it properly for the OS to communicate with it.

This may also result in improper installation of the firmware for RAM and may even corrupt it. So, even when you try to reinstall it, you can find issues with its working.

Since RAM doesn’t need drivers to work, it is dependent on the BIOS firmware settings. Therefore, it is important to turn off the PC before installing RAM so that when restarting your PC, the BIOS properly recognizes it.

Difficulty in Installation

It is very difficult to install the RAM when you have the PC case upright and running. Your motherboard will be fixed vertically to the case and it is quite difficult to place the RAM properly on the slot.

The best way to install RAM is to place the case horizontally on the table. When you place it like this, you can properly orient the RAM with the slot and install it firmly. 

Since improper installations will damage the RAM as well as the motherboard, you must try and properly fit the RAM into the slot.

Unexpected Operation

Sometimes when you install RAM in a running PC, it may start working and meddle with the existing applications. This can cause sudden crashes, errors, and instabilities in the OS.

The processor communicates with RAM to run the applications. When you try to install one when an existing RAM is running, it may crash the application and cause your OS to hang.

You might have to force restart the PC and fix the issue. Sometimes you might also get BSOD error with your PC when such things happen.

Manufacturer’s Instructions

All the manufacturers of computer hardware provide us with instructions to install their products in the best manner. You can also find warnings and cautionary statements on how to handle the hardware in the right way.

Most of the manufacturers recommend the installation of RAM or any other hardware component after turning the PC off. Also, you must properly ground yourself before touching the motherboard to avoid static.

When you don’t follow the instructions and damage the component, you will not get warranty coverage either. Therefore, it is important to stick to the instructions while installing the RAM.

These are the reasons to avoid installing RAM on a PC that is running or turned on. Now let us understand the proper procedure to install or remove RAM from your PC.

Also Read:

What is the proper procedure to add or remove RAM?

Follow these instructions to install RAM or remove one from your PC. 

  • Power off your PC and remove the power supply cables from the main board and PC.
  • Ground yourself properly before touching the PC or its inner components.
  • Place the case horizontally on a work table and remove the panels.
  • Wear proper gloves and ground yourself before touching the motherboard.
  • Find the empty RAM slot.
  • Take the RAM to be installed and orient the pins properly with the slot.
  • Gently press the RAM into the slot and give a push until it locks in place.
  • To remove a RAM, open the locks at the side and gently pull the RAM out of the slot.
  • You have now installed the RAM properly. 
  • Replace the panels and plug in the PC to the power supply.
  • Now your RAM will be detected by the BIOS and it will run automatically without any issues.

Things to consider while installing RAM

  • It is important to properly orient the RAM into the slot in the right way. Otherwise, you can risk damaging the RAM and the motherboard.
  • Remove any static electricity by grounding yourself before touching the motherboard components.
  • Check your RAM slot configuration before buying the RAM. You must install the right specs into the slot for it to work properly.
  • Ensure the RAM is securely fit and it has locked into the slot completely.
  • It is better to install RAMs with the same speeds to get better performance.
  • It is also better to get the same brand RAM to ensure compatibility.
  • Ensure that your PSU is sufficient for your RAM. Otherwise, you must upgrade your PSU to match the wattage of your current hardware components.

These are the things to consider before installing RAM in your PC and getting seamless working from it.

Also Read:

How do I know which RAM slots to put my RAM in?

This depends on the number of RAM sticks you are going to use and the number of slots present in your motherboard. 

If you are going to use more than one RAM, you must place the RAMs in the proper channel to make use of the multi-channel architecture.

Let us consider that your motherboard has four slots. Then you must follow the following configuration according to the number of sticks you are going to place.

  • When you are going to use only one RAM stick, then you must place it in the second slot from the CPU.
  • If you are going to use two sticks, then install one in the second slot and the other one in the fourth slot.
  • When using three, place the two on the second and fourth, while the third one on the third slot.
  • When using four, you will be installing all four-on-four slots. 

If you install the RAMs in this manner, you can get the multi-channel performance and get the highest speeds when using the PC.

How do I know if I inserted the RAM correctly?

The first thing to notice is the slots getting locked in while you insert the RAM into the RAM slot. It ensures that the RAM is securely fitted inside its

The other way to know is your PC properly boots up without any issues. If you haven’t installed it properly, there will be errors in booting up.

After booting up, you can open up the task manager and go to the memory tab. Here you can find the total available memory. If it has increased, then it means that you have properly installed the RAM.

These are the ways in which you can know that you have installed the RAM correctly in your PC.


Adding RAM while the PC is on can lead to many hazards and issues with the working of your PC. Therefore, it is highly recommended to turn off the PC before installing RAM or any hardware for that matter. Also, you should ensure proper installation of the RAM to avoid damage to other hardware.

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