How to Increase RAM Without Buying? [Guaranteed Ways]

There is of course no way to increase your RAM’s physical size (i.e. get 8GB to 16GB) without buying a new stick. However, there are so many ways you can release lots of unnecessarily occupied bits of your memory and thus increase your usable RAM’s volume without buying. Plus, you can also increase RAM (especially on Windows 10) by toggling the “Virtual Memory” on your laptop or PC.

The other multiple ways regarding how to increase RAM without buying on Windows and macOS both include closing highly RAM-hungry background programs, disabling unnecessary login items, removing unwanted apps, running a malware check, and using an external pen drive or SD card as virtual memory (i.e. the ReadyBoost technique).

Moreover, at times even just restarting your laptop or PC can also increase the RAM by closing lots of unwanted systems at the backend. How? Well, let’s get down to explore all this comprehensively.

How to Increase RAM Without Buying?

RAM, being a hardware piece that stores the currently in-use data, directly affects the performance of your system both positively and negatively. Of course, the mightier the memory you have, the faster will be your PC.

Contrarily, if you are having unusual system slowdowns, you might be running low on RAM. So let’s see how can you fix this issue and how to increase RAM on a laptop or PC without buying.

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Rudimentary/Basic-level Approaches

Some of the very basic methods you can try to flush out your RAM and broaden its usable portion are as follows.

#1. Try Restarting Your PC

Restarting your laptop or PC can quite effectively free up a lot of uselessly occupied RAM. But this method is particularly for those who are used to (hibernate) putting their laptop to sleep only and don’t shut it down completely after their uptime.

In such a case, there could be a lot of systems and settings running back the stage 24-7 ultimately bottlenecking the system’s fluency.

A quick restart could easily flush all such intruders out, clear the RAM caches, and ultimately give you a much bigger portion of usable memory. So make sure you are giving your PC a fresh restart each time you sit for work.

#2. Administer the Consumption in the Background – Close Unnecessary Programs

Check out how many apps you currently have open and running on your device. Maybe some of them are not much in use but eating the biggest chunks of your RAM, so all you need to do is terminate them. For example, Chrome browser – one of the well-known greediest chaps one can have, or some Adobe software, etc.

Well, you still don’t need to just guess the hungry hog because Windows and macOS both offer you tools and applications to detect them.

For Windows OS

Approach Windows Task Manager either by pressing Control + Shift + Esc keys all at once or by pressing Windows + X keys simultaneously and then selecting Task Manager from the list.

In the task manager, look for the Memory column under the Processes tab and check out which programs are crazily eating the RAM. Right-click them and select End Task to completely shut them down.

To have more detailed information about your RAM, you can go to the Performance tab in the Task Manager and then select Memory from the left-side panel.

For macOS

In macOS devices, Activity Monitor is used for this purpose. I have a separate and very comprehensive article on this i.e. MacBook running very slow and freezing? You can check it out to know how to do the trick in macOS.

#3. Disable all the Startup/Login Items You Don’t Need

Startup items are the programs/services that automatically turn on and start consuming your system resources as soon as your PC starts up. You need to check out all such programs and disable the auto-on feature of those you don’t need (or use) much.

For Windows

Again reach out to the Windows Task Manager following the same steps mentioned above and select the Startup tab this time.

In the next window, look for and distinguish all the programs based on how much and how often do you need them. Plus, how severe their startup impact is (i.e. low, medium, or high). Then, right-click the items you deem worth shutting down and simply Disable them.

For macOS

For how to disable login items in macOS, I’d again suggest you refer to the above-mentioned article. You can learn all this in so much detail there.

#4. Have a Virus/Malware Check

You can safely assume that viruses/malware can invade your resources. So it might be a malware assault on your RAM that is turning your system’s performance down.

That said, always have one good antivirus software on your laptop/computer and regularly check your system’s health to flush out any devils that have lately come. Windows OS and macOS both have lots of authorized antivirus tools you can easily download.

Sure-fire Advanced Approaches

There are two foolproof methods on how to effectively increase RAM in PC or laptop and here are both of them explained.

#1. By Increasing System’s Virtual Memory

Virtual memory, also known as page file, is sort of a temporary memory expansion offered when you’ve completely used up your system RAM in Windows and macOS both. It’s typically created in the principal (C:) drive where your OS and other system files are installed.

Microsoft recommends that you must set your “Virtual Memory” to be no less than 1.5 times the amount of your actual system RAM and no more than 3x its amount. All this is although automatically set by your computer, you can toggle the default “virtual memory” settings if you still face performance letdowns.

Here’s how to increase RAM on Windows 10 without buying availing the virtual memory.

#2. Find Out How Much RAM is Installed on Your Device

Simply press Windows + X keys simultaneously and select System from the list to right away get to your device specifications. Or follow:

  1. Go to your PC settings by pressing Windows + I both keys at once.
  2. Select System in the main settings.
  3. Scroll down to (and click on) About in the left-side panel on the next screen.
  4. Now look for Installed RAM in the Device Specifications on the right side.

#3. Know Your Hard Disk Space

Of course, you need to know how much is free space available in your C drive. As we know that virtual memory ought to be 1.5 to 3 times the amount of system RAM, make sure your C: drive has at least 4 to 5 times the amount of free space available as your RAM.

For example, if the installed RAM on your PC is 2GB, there ought to be at least 8 to 10 GB free space in the C: drive. And so on for 4GB, 8GB, 16GB system RAMs.

#4 Let’s Now Adjust the Virtual Memory

  1. Approach System Properties following one of these two ways:
    1. Settings > System > About > and click on Advanced System Settings (under Related Settings).
    2. Press Windows + R both keys at once to open Run > type sysdm.cpl in the Run window and press Enter.
  2. When the System Properties window opens up, click on the Advanced tab in the header.
  3. Then click on Settings in the Performance box.
  4. Again go to the Advanced tab in the upcoming (Performance Options) window.
  5. Now click on the Change button in the Virtual memory box to toggle your page file size. Make sure the performance adjustment is for Programs and not for Background services in the above box.
  6. In the new (Virtual memory) window, deselect the topmost option (i.e. Automatically manage paging file size) and select C: drive in the subsequent box.
  7. After that, choose the Custom size option to take control and manually set the virtual memory values/limits.
  8. Now set both the Initial size (MB) and Max size as recommended by Microsoft.

As is recommended that the Initial and Max size ought to be 1.5 and 3 times the amount of your system RAM, multiply 1.5 and 3 with 1024 (number of MBs in 1 GB) and then with the installed RAM (on your device) respectively.

For example, if the installed RAM is 8GB, here is how to calculate Initial size: 1.5 x 1024 x 4 = 6144. Repeat the same process to calculate the Maximum size as well i.e. 3 x 1024 x 4 = 12288.

  1. Do these calculations according to the installed RAM on your laptop or PC and put the final values in both the Initial and Max size boxes respectively.
  2. Click on the Set button on the right side there to lock the settings and click Yes to whatever notification, etc. appear afterward.
  3. Click the OK button located below > OK again to the next pop-up message > and click Apply and OK in the Performance Options window to save changes.
  4. And finally, click on the Apply and OK buttons in the System Properties windows as well.

Then simply give your PC a restart or schedule it for later. As soon as it restarts, you’ll see the virtual memory settings updated now.

#2. Using a Pen Drive or SD Card and Trying the ReadyBoost Technique

As is mentioned in the heading, it’s a method where you use some external storage device and make your Windows treat it as an extra RAM. But remember, this method works only on older systems with those slower mechanical hard drives (HDDs). And not on SSD-fitted PCs as their read and write speeds are already higher than flash drives.

Anyways, here’s how to try ReadyBoost:

  1. Plug your flash drive in or insert the SD card.
  2. Open This PC, right-click on the external storage device, and select Properties from the list.
  3. Proceed to the ReadyBoost tab in the menu above and wait for a while to see the detailed screen.
  4. Check the Use this device option > Apply > and OK.
  5. To see if the feature is enabled and working, go back to This PC,and your storage device’s capacity bar will appear hot red now. You can anytime disable the feature by repeating all the steps, but this time checking Do not use this device option in the ReadyBoost menu.
ReadyBoost Not Working?

If you see an error message (i.e. this device can’t be used for ReadyBoost) after a few seconds of clicking on the ReadyBoost tab, it means your flash drive or SD card is failing to meet the requirements for ReadyBoost. The requirements are:

  • USB or SD card should have at least 500MB to 1GB of free space.
  • It must have at least 3.5 Mbps transfer/write speed and at least 2.5 Mbps read speed.
  • The flash drive ought to be USB 2.0 or the latest, and the device must use NTFS format.
  • And finally, make sure the SuperFetch/SysMain service (if you’re on Windows 10 version 1809 and latest) is running on your PC.
    • To check, open the Run window > type services.msc > Enter > locate SysMain in the lengthy list and check if it’s running or not. If not, start it up.

Is it possible to increase RAM?

Nearly all desktops and laptops have upgradable RAM slots, which allow you to add more Memory RAM to make your device faster and more efficient.

Is 8GB RAM enough for gaming?

Games from the previous generation tend to benefit from 8GB DDR4 RAM easily without any sort of hiccup in speed, however, as time passes and newer titles with next-gen graphics arrive, the need for RAM capacity doubles up to 16GB.

Is 4GB RAM enough for a laptop?

On average, 4GB of RAM will not run higher computational tasks as quickly as you would expect, but on light browsing and browsing gallery and documents, it should be sufficient.

Bottom Line

So these were all the possible and probable methods regarding how to increase RAM without buying. If you’ve tried all the stuff discussed above and you still feel no improvement in the performance, try taking the RAM stick(s) off (if not soldered on the mainboard), clean things up, and reinstall it. It might do the trick. And if it too doesn’t make a difference, install more RAM and upgrade yourself.