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My girlfriend was planning to install additional memory on her 5 years old laptop. She opened the back, and gently took off the existing 2GB RAM to check if there are any empty slots behind. She put back the RAM module exactly in the same way it was before but the computer doesn't boot anymore. As far as I understood, she cannot even get to the BIOS screen. I asked her to make sure that RAM module is really in place(In my experience sometimes even though retainer clips 'click' the module is not placed in place properly). She double checked everything and no success.

So I have couple of questions regarding this:

  • What could cause this, is it possible to damage the RAM by touching it?
  • She had PC2-4200 2 GB DDR2-SDRAM(533 MHz). Is it possible to buy DDR2-800 SO-DIMM RAM and use it? Are laptop memories backward compatible?
  • Do you think she should take the laptop to a shop and buy memory form there or should she order online and install herself?(the latter option is about 15-30$ cheaper)
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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, you can damage RAM by touching it, typically static electricity.

I would check the motherboard to see what RAM it reads.

Take it to a shop if you're not confident - this way, they can put one of their 'sample' RAM sticks in to test it before you spend the money (if the fault is else where).

From my experience, having no RAM should not cause the entire thing to not boot - it sounds like something may be shorting, or the fault is else where. Does it beep at all (and I assume it has power etc)

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It doesn't beep. Some light blinks couple of seconds and it turns itself off. –  Caner Jul 18 '12 at 10:58
    
Ah, I had this literally 2 weeks ago with a desktop. She's shorted it and blown the CPU (yes, I know this is rare with CPU but it does still happen). You need to take it to the shop and confirm, there will be (IMO) nothing else you can do. –  Dave Jul 18 '12 at 11:04
    
Now that you said this, I believe this is a more possible scenario than my damaged RAM guess, and a worse problem :( –  Caner Jul 18 '12 at 11:15
2  
Count the number of LED blinks (like 2 or 3), then lookup the laptops troubleshooting section to see what code they indicate. It might mean "no memory detected" or "power supply hosed" etc. The laptop guide is available online if you can't find it. –  jdh Jul 18 '12 at 11:30
    
+1 for LED blinking - I didn't even know this mattered (I knew the beeps did) –  Dave Jul 18 '12 at 11:32

Besides static electricity touching pins can also damage it.

When component fails or doesn't work computer will beep, do you hear anything? You will have to look up meaning of sound in the manual.

If it doesn't beep and she sees no light whatsoever it could something she forgot to close properly? maybe insert a battery? :) Just making sure you know...

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No battery is there :) (She actually forgot to unplug the laptop & take out the battery) –  Caner Jul 18 '12 at 10:59
    
It doesn't beep. Some light blinks couple of seconds and it turns itself off. –  Caner Jul 18 '12 at 10:59
    
She removed the RAM whilst it was plugged in? Could have easily shorted then. –  Dave Jul 18 '12 at 11:03
    
@Caner Please tell me we've misunderstood you. If the RAM was removed while still powered it isn't unlikely that this fried the RAM, Motherboard, or both. –  0x7fffffff Jul 18 '12 at 11:13
    
Yes, laptop was turned off but it was plugged and battery was in :( –  Caner Jul 18 '12 at 11:14

Depending on the motherboard of the computer it can possibly hold DDR2-800 SO-DIMM. You would just have to look up the specs to see what its capable of. If its a well known manufacturer I would just google the model and the original webpage for it. Should tell you everything.

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Remove the memory modules and then push them in with some force. The gold lines or whatever should hardly show. Hold the memory module at an angle, push it in, then push it down so it goes click

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I had the same problem with my acer laptop. You may have to do a ram test by simply replacing it back in the slot on the bottom only and power it on to see if it comes on. If you press the power button and it boots right up then its good but if you power it on and still get a blank screen then its a bad one. Even if you have one good and one bad. The bad one will stop everything. So toss the bad one and just replace. Make sure you test them both.

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