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Can my laptop use extra RAM?

What to do when extra RAM is not recognised

A reader attempted to upgrade the RAM in his two-year-old laptop. But his PC seemed to recognise only 2GB of the extra memory. Our Helproom Expert shows how to check how much RAM your laptop can take.

QUESTION I have a two-year-old HP 550 laptop running Vista. I upgraded the 1GB of system memory to 4GB using two 2GB Crucial modules. Both the manufacturer and vendor stated that this was possible.

Two BSoDs (Blue Screens of Death) displayed the following error messages: 'Irql_not_less_or_equal' and 'Pfn_list_corrupt'. With just one 2GB module the laptop works fine, and I've checked that neither is faulty. I upgraded the chipset driver, but the only Bios update available on HP's site predated my purchase of the laptop. Please help. Ken Robinson

HELPROOM ANSWER HP's specification suggests the maximum memory capacity of 4GB may not apply to all laptops in the 500 series. Two different Intel mobile chipsets are used in this line-up: the Mobile Intel GLE960 Express, which supports Intel Celeron and Celeron M processors, and the Mobile Intel GME965 Express, which also supports Intel Core 2 Duo chips. Only the GME965 supports 4GB of RAM; the GLE960 is limited to 2GB of RAM.

The memory appears to be working correctly in a 2GB configuration (check this by running MemTest). However, we suspect you have a laptop that can't be upgraded beyond 2GB.

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