Can You Use External Ram For Laptop?

can you use external ram for laptop
image credit Elias Gamez

You may be wondering if you can add external ram for laptops. The answer is both yes and no.

With that being said, here is a more in-depth explanation of if you can use external ram for laptops.

Let’s dive in.

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Can you add RAM externally to a laptop?

Here is the reason why you can’t really add RAM externally to a laptop.

You can’t externally add ram to a laptop because the ram has to be seated on the motherboard to interact with the other components. You can add more internal ram to a laptop and you can use an external USB RAM booster such as readyboost.

In order for RAM to work, it has to be close to the processor and also communicate with other components like the SSD and the power supply. It has to be seated on a motherboard in order to do that which is why you can’t connect it externally.

USB ports are directly connected to the motherboard, so you can turn your USB into a RAM stick, however, it is really slow because USB3 port transfer is around 640MB/s and a RAM stick is around 10x faster.

You can disable start up programs that are draining your RAM’s capacity in the Windows task manager. You can also do a fresh install of Windows and see if that speeds up your system.

How much RAM should your Laptop have?

Here is how much RAM your laptop should have.

A laptop should have a minimum of 4GB of RAM, especially with modern-day software such as Google chrome which requires a lot of RAM for simple browsing. There are a lot of extensions that you may use on browsing software which add to your RAM usage.

If you want to play games on a laptop, you might need 8GB of RAM. Especially if you want to keep browser tabs open and also play games at the same time. Otherwise, everytime you want to game you will have to close everything on your laptop.

Can you add RAM to a laptop with a USB?

Unfortunately you can’t externally add ram, but you can use RAM boosters such as “readyboost.”

The problem with readyboost is that it will not have much of an effect and it will destroy your USB. Here is how to install readyboost:

  • Connect your USB and then go to This PC
  • Right click on your USB and click properties
  • Click the readyboost tab and select use this device
  • Choose as much RAM as possible
  • Press apply

I only recommend doing this if your laptop has less than 4GB of RAM otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it. You can convert the storage memory on a USB into RAM capacity if you really are desperate.

To do this you have to:

  • Connect a USB with greater than 4GB of storage.
  • Open Windows control panel and click System and Security
  • Select Advanced system settings in the system section.
  • Click performance then settings
  • Click advanced options and go to virtual memory
  • Select Change and uncheck the: automatically manage paging file size for all drives tab.
  • Choose your USB and add the same amount of memory in each box

To revert this you have to reverse the process.

Can You Add RAM To A Laptop?

Here is how you can add RAM to a laptop.

Yes, you can install RAM to a laptop if the ram sticks are removable. You will need to know the RAM type that your laptop’s motherboard is compatible with. If you are adding a RAM stick to go beside an already existing one, you will need to make sure they are of the same frequency and capacity.

How to install RAM on your laptop

You can install RAM yourself on some laptops, but you need to make sure you buy compatible RAM for your system. Don’t open your laptop if you are under warranty because it can void your warranty.

Sometimes there are removable ram sticks on your laptop, and all you have to do is replace them with better RAM.

To install RAM on your laptop:

  • Turn your laptop off and unplug it.
  • Open the case from the bottom of the laptop. Do not do this if it is still under warranty.
  • Touch metal so you don’t zap your components with static electricity.
  • Laptops usually have 2 RAM slots and one can be empty.
  • If there are 2 RAM slots and none are empty, you can replace both of them with compatible RAM to your motherboard. Press down any levers to unseat the current RAM and safely remove them.
  • Seat a RAM stick that matches the other one beside it. Press it until it clicks.
  • Screw your case back on and launch Windows. Press “Windows key + Pause” to see if your RAM is being recognized under physical memory.


It’s very hard to add more ram to a laptop because most models are manufactured to not have any extra space. Adding external RAM to a laptop is not an option either and using USB RAM boosters has little to no effect. The only option you have is to upgrade your laptop or optimize your RAM by tweaking Windows.

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Grayson is a laptop specialist who writes informational articles and reviews about all kinds of laptops.