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Compaq Presario CQ56-109WM Notebook PC support

Upgrading Memory (RAM)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq notebook computers.
Upgrading memory helps improve system performance. By following the step-by-step instructions in this document, you can successfully upgrade random-access memory (RAM) for all HP and Compaq notebook computers. While the graphics might not match your specific computer model, the steps will work.
Read all instructions carefully before attempting memory installation.
NOTE:Do not purchase memory modules until you know the type of memory used by the computer, the maximum amount of memory the computer can use, and the memory slot configuration.
NOTE:The memory in some notebook models cannot be replaced or upgraded.

Finding the product number of your HP notebook PC

To order replacement internal components such as memory, you must know the exact product number of the computer. For many HP notebook computers, the product number and serial number are printed on a label on the bottom of the computer. Also, the product number and serial number are printed on the outside of the shipping box that you received when you purchased the computer.
Product number locations can vary, and there are numerous methods to find the product number of your notebook. For more assistance locating the product number, see How Do I Find My Model Number or Product Number? .
Figure 1: Product label
Image of product label with the product number highlighted
NOTE:A general family name, for example may be imprinted on the case near the keyboard or on the frame around the display screen, but this does not provide sufficient information for ordering replacement parts.

Finding memory information for your computer model (amount installed, maximum supported, and type of memory)

Important memory upgrade information is located in the specifications document for your HP notebook computer. To find product specifications, browse to the Product Information category on the support page for your computer model. Alternatively, you can search for your product specifications by doing the following:
  1. In the Search field (or Questions or keywords field) at the top of this page, type your computer product number , a space, and the word specifications .
    For example:
    RQ877AS specifications
  2. Click the link on the search results page that matches the product specifications for your computer model.
  3. Refer to the Memory section within the product specifications document for memory information specific to your computer.
  4. Among the information listed, make a note of the following items. It will be useful when purchasing memory and when performing the next steps.
    • Amount of memory installed - The current amount of memory installed on your computer. Refer to Verifying how much memory can be added to verify the amount of memory currently installed in your computer.
    • Maximum memory supported - Subtract the amount of memory already installed from the maximum amount supported by the system to determine how much memory to purchase. You can also buy the maximum amount allowed and replace the currently installed memory. Once you know the maximum memory for your system, check Maximum memory supported by operating system to see how much memory your version of Windows will support. Use the lower of these two numbers as your maximum memory.
    • Type of memory (including speed) - HP recommends purchasing the same type of memory (same size, speed, and manufacturer) for each slot. For the best performance, purchase the fastest memory the motherboard supports.
    CAUTION:Due to the variety of possible configurations, some motherboards might not be able to properly configure memory if the array of small outline dual in-line memory modules (SO-DIMMs) contains a SO-DIMM that is not from the same manufacturer, has a different CAS latency value, or has a different density value (high and low used together). Make sure all SO-DIMMs have the same part number, are from the same manufacturer, and meet the basic memory requirements for your motherboard. If not, make sure that you can return the memory if it is not recognized by the system after you install the new memory.

Determining where your memory is located

Memory is located in the memory module compartment located on the bottom of most HP notebook computers. Some HP notebooks are designed with the memory module compartment under the keyboard. If the memory module compartment for your notebook is located under the keyboard, HP recommends that you contact an HP authorized support provider for assistance ordering and replacing the memory.

Verifying how much memory can be added

Prior to upgrading memory, you need to verify how much memory you currently have installed to determine how much memory can be added. Use one of the following sections to find the exact memory configuration and how much memory can be purchased and installed.
Choose one of the following sections to verify the amount of installed memory, depending on whether the computer is turned on or off:
To verify the amount of memory currently installed and determine how much memory can be added, while your computer is turned on, follow one of the sets of steps below:
In Windows 8 :
  1. Press the Windows + Q key.
    Type hp support into the Search field.
  2. Click HP Support Assistant from the list of results.
  3. On the HP Support Assistant home page, click My computer .
    Figure 2: My computer
    Image of the HP Support Assistant screen with My computer highlighted
  4. In the System information tab, under Specifications, look for the System memory listing for details about the memory that is currently installed.
    Figure 3: System memory
    System memory listing in HP Support Assistant
  5. To find the total amount of memory that can be added , subtract the amount of memory currently in the computer from the maximum amount of memory the computer can hold. To see the maximum memory the computer can hold, refer to Finding memory information for your computer model .
  6. To find the amount of memory per slot , divide the maximum amount of memory that the computer can hold by the number of memory slots on the motherboard. Usually, this is the maximum amount for each memory socket . For example, if the computer is capable of holding a maximum of 4096 MB (4 GB) of memory and the motherboard has four memory slots, install 1 GB (or less) per slot.
In Windows 7 and Vista :
  1. Click Start , and type hp support assistant into the Search field.
  2. Click HP Support Assistant from the list of search results.
    NOTE:HP Support Assistant may not be installed on all Windows Vista notebook computers. If HP Support Assistant does not appear in the list of search results, download and install the latest version of HP Support Assistant from the HP Self-Support Options Web page.
  3. After HP Support Assistant opens, click the Troubleshoot column.
  4. In the Troubleshoot menu, click General Specifications .
  5. Look in the System memory section for details about the memory that is currently installed.
  6. To find the total amount of memory that can be added , subtract the amount of memory currently in the computer from the maximum amount of memory the computer can hold. To see the maximum memory the computer can hold, go to Finding memory information for your computer model .
  7. To find the amount of memory per slot , divide the maximum amount of memory that the computer can hold by the number of memory slots on the motherboard. Usually, this is the maximum amount for each memory socket . For example, if the computer is capable of holding a maximum of 4096 MB (4 GB) of memory and the motherboard has four memory slots, install 1 GB (or less) per slot.
To verify the amount of memory currently installed and determine how much memory can be added, while your computer is turned off, follow the steps below:
  1. Verify the computer is turned off, not simply in sleep or hibernate mode.
  2. Disconnect the A/C power adapter.
  3. Turn the notebook over and place it on a firm surface.
  4. Remove the battery.
  5. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the cover on the memory module compartment.
    Figure 4: Memory module cover (your cover may be different)
    Image of a memory module cover on the bottom of a notebook computer
  6. With the cover removed, and before you touch the memory, ground yourself to discharge any static electricity.
    NOTE:To ground yourself, and discharge any static electricity, place one hand on the case of the computer and touch the other hand to a metal surface or grounded object, such as the metal part of a lamp.
  7. Look at the memory to determine the number of available memory module slots, and the number of slots that are already in use.
    Figure 5: Memory modules and memory slots
    Image of memory modules and memory slots after  the cover is removed
  8. Release the side catches, and hold the edges to remove the memory module.
    NOTE:Do not touch the gold connectors where the module is inserted into the holder. Touching the connectors can damage the existing memory.
  9. Look on the memory module for stickers that display memory amount, replacement part numbers, and product information.
    Figure 6: Memory module with sticker
    Image of a memory module with a sticker displaying part information
  10. To find the total amount of memory that can be added , subtract the amount of memory currently in the computer from the maximum amount of memory the computer can hold. To see the maximum memory the computer can hold, go to Finding memory information for your computer model .
  11. To find the amount of memory per slot , divide the maximum amount of memory that the computer can hold by the number of memory slots on the motherboard. Usually, this is the maximum amount for each memory socket . For example, if the computer is capable of holding a maximum of 4096 MB (4 GB) of memory and the motherboard has four memory slots, install 1 GB (or less) per slot.
TIP: If there are two slots and two small (256 MB) modules, consider replacing them with two 1 GB modules. If there are two slots and only one 512 MB module, consider purchasing one additional 1 GB module.

Installing memory

Most HP and Compaq notebook computers are designed so that additional memory can be added using a Phillips screwdriver. Use the following steps to install memory in your computer. After reviewing the steps, if you are not confident in performing the installation yourself, contact an HP authorized support provider for technical assistance.
NOTE:If someone other than HP installs or upgrades the memory, any damage caused by the memory and/or by a person trying to install or upgrade the memory is excluded from coverage under the product warranty. The customer assumes all risk and liability for damages for any such installation or upgrade.
NOTE:These steps will work for most notebook computer models. To find steps for your specific computer, enter your computer model number and replace memory into the search field at the top of this window. For example, if you have an HP Mini 210-3000, you would search for 210-3000 replace memory . If you cannot find a memory replacement procedure for your computer model, check the User Guides.

Step 1: Remove electrical power

To remove all power from the computer and prevent accidental damage to the electronic components, do the following:
  1. Turn off the computer by pressing and holding down the Power button for about 30 seconds.
  2. Unplug the AC adaptor from the notebook.
  3. Slide and hold the battery release latch to the unlock position.
  4. Use your finger to lift the battery up and out.

Step 2: Insert the memory

Follow these steps to insert the new memory:
  1. Turn the notebook over and place it on a firm surface.
  2. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the cover on the memory module compartment.
    Figure 7: Memory module cover (your cover may be different)
    Image of memory module cover detached from the computer and showing retaining screw locations and direction of removal
    1 - Retention screws (2)
    2 - Direction to remove compartment cover
  3. With the cover removed, and before you touch the memory, ground yourself to discharge any static electricity.
    NOTE:To ground yourself, and discharge any static electricity, place one hand on the case of the computer and touch the other hand to a metal surface or grounded object, such as the metal part of a lamp.
  4. If you need to remove memory before installing the new memory, release the memory using a small wooden tool, or fingernail, to spread the clips holding the ends of the memory in place.
    Figure 8: Memory module removal
    Image of memory module showing direction to move the retaining clips and the direction to remove the module.
    1 - Direction to pull retention clips
    2 - Direction to remove the module
    CAUTION:To prevent damage to the memory module, grasp the memory module by the side edges. Do not touch the metal contacts.
  5. Place any removed memory modules in an anti-static bag for protection.
  6. Remove the new memory from the protective anti-static bag and hold the memory by the side edges.
  7. Place the gold contacts into the connector (bracket) and gently, but firmly, press the memory into place. The clips will click when the memory is properly seated.
    Figure 9: Notch alignment and memory module insertion
    Image of memory module notched edge showing module alignment and direction to insert and seat the module
    1 - Notch alignment
    2 - Direction to insert the module
    3 - Direction to seat module
  8. Replace the cover and tighten the retention screws.
    Figure 10: Memory module cover replacement
    Image of the memory module cover showing the direction to insert the cover
    1 - Two slots in the opening
    2 - Retaining screws

Step 3: Replace electrical power

Replace the power and turn on the computer using these steps:
  1. Plug the connection from the AC adapter into the notebook, and then connect the AC adapter to a working power supply.
  2. With the computer turned off, push the battery into the base enclosure until the retention clips click into position.
  3. Turn on the computer and allow it to reconfigure and recognize the additional memory and improve performance.

What to do if problems occur after installing memory

If the computer does not start or Windows does not open after replacing the memory, or if there are beeps or blinking Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) near the Caps Lock or Num Lock keys, try the following steps:
  • Remove and reseat the new memory module by following the steps in the Installing memory section.
  • Remove the new memory module and clean the groove in the socket that the module sits in. While wearing safety glasses, use a can of compressed air with a straw-type extender to clean out any dust or particles in the grove.
  • Remove the new memory module and try starting the computer again. If the computer starts, make sure you purchased the right type and compatible size of memory. For more information on purchasing the right type of memory, refer to Finding memory information for your computer model and Verifying how much memory can be added . You can use the memory module that originally came installed in the computer for reference.
  • If possible, make sure all memory modules in your configuration are from the same manufacturer and have the same part number.
  • If the computer still does not restart properly, remove the replacement memory, reinstall the original memory, and verify that the computer can operate in its original configuration.

Maximum memory supported by operating system

Use the tables below to determine the amount of memory supported by the version of Windows installed on your HP notebook computer.
  • Memory upgrades for Windows 8 Editions
    Windows 8 has a minimum memory requirement of 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit). Information about the maximum amount of memory is not available at this time.
  • Memory upgrades for Windows 7 Editions
    Windows 7 has a minimum memory requirement of 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit). The maximum amount of memory depends on the edition used:
    Edition of Windows 7 Maximum addressable memory
    Starter (32-bit or 64-bit)2 GB
    Any 32-bit version of 7 (except Starter)4 GB (approximately 3.3 GB available for use)
    Home Basic 64-bit 8 GB
    Home Premium 64-bit 16 GB
    Enterprise 64-bit192 GB
    Business 64-bit192 GB
    Ultimate 64-bit192 GB
  • Memory upgrades for Windows Vista Editions
    Windows Vista comes in a variety of editions. All versions of Vista have a minimum memory requirement of 512 MB (1 GB to take advantage of certain premium features, such as Aero graphics). The maximum amount of memory depends on the edition used:
    Edition of Windows Vista Maximum addressable memory
    Starter (32-bit) 1 GB
    Any 32-bit version of Vista4 GB (approximately 3.3 GB available for use)
    Home Basic 64-bit 8 GB
    Home Premium 64-bit 16 GB
    Business 64-bit 128 GB
    Ultimate 64-bit 128 GB
  • Memory upgrades for Windows XP
    Windows XP comes in 32-bit or 64-bit version. The maximum amount of memory depends on the version used:
    Version of Windows XP Maximum addressable memory
    32-bit 4 GB (approximately 3.3 GB available for use)
    64-bit128 GB

Memory module frequently asked questions

Select a question to learn more about memory modules and their requirements:
Small outline dual in-line memory modules (SO-DIMMs) are used in notebook computers. They are smaller and thinner than other DIMMs, so are used when there is less space within a chassis.

SO-DIMM modules for HP computers must meet the following requirements:

  • The number of pins on the SO-DIMM must match the socket type.
  • SO-DIMM memory requires a 200-pin slot.
  • DDR2 SO-DIMMs are not compatible with DDR1 DIMM and DDR2 DIMM memory modules.
  • DDR3 SO-DIMMs are not compatible with DDR1 or DDR2 and use a 204 pin slot.
  • With a computer running at a system bus of 533 MHz or 667 MHz, use a PC2-4200 (DDR2 DIMM 533) type.
Dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs), used in most desktop computers, are small circuit boards that can hold groups of memory chips. DIMMs provide a wider path with two rows of pins on a side, allowing for faster data transfer than single in-line memory modules (SIMMs). Like SIMMs, DIMMs might be manufactured single or double-sided. DIMMs do not have to be added in pairs and can be mixed with other DIMMs that have the same number of pins. For example, a 1-gigabyte (GB) DIMM can be added to the motherboard next to a 2 GB DIMM.
NOTE: DIMMs can only operate as fast as the speed of the system bus. If two or more DIMMs of different speeds are installed, the total speed of all installed memory is as fast as the DIMM with the lowest speed.

DIMM modules for HP computers must meet the following requirements:

  • The number of pins on the DIMM must match the socket type.
  • DDR memory requires a 184-pin slot and 2.5 operating voltage.
  • DDR2 memory is not compatible with DDR1 memory and requires a 240-pin slot and 1.8 operating voltage.
  • DDR3 memory can operate about twice the bandwidth of DDR2.
    DDR3 DIMMS are not compatible with DDR1 or DDR2 memory.
    DDR3 DIMMS require a 240-pin slot and 1.5 operating voltage. A slot for DDR3 memory is keyed differently than DDR2 or DDR. Do not attempt to install DDR3 memory into a motherboard designed for DDR or DDR2. Doing so can permanently damage the motherboard and DIMM.
  • Synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM): Only use DDR type SDRAM memory if the computer came with DDR-SDRAM.
Rambus in-line memory modules (RIMMs) are 184-pin memory boards that permit transfer rates of 600-800 MHz. RIMMs used with the Intel Pentium® 4 processors run on a 400 MHz system bus, allowing data transfer rates of 3.2 Gigabytes a second.

RIMM modules for HP computers must meet the following requirements:

  • HP computers require PC600 or PC800 RDR modules (184-pin Rambus dynamic Random access memory [RDRAM]).
  • Non-ECC (non error-correcting checking).
  • Rambus/Intel specification compliant.
  • All four RIMM sockets must be filled, either with a RIMM or with a continuity module called a Continuity RIMM (C-RIMM). C-RIMMs do not contain memory, but are placeholders to close the memory circuit.
  • RIMMs work in pairs, and they must be from the same vendor. RIMMs must also have the same memory size density within each channel.
  • When C-RIMMs fill empty sockets, they must be placed in the RIMM A2 and B2 sockets.
  • The RIMMs must be inserted in the RIMM A1 and B1 sockets.
Small outline Rambus in-line memory modules (SO-RIMMs) are 160-pin memory boards used in notebook computers. They are smaller than other RIMMs, so are used when there is less space within a chassis.
Certain memory modules can operate in multiple channel modes. The motherboard specifications for your computer contain dual channel mode information, if available and supported. Dual channel and triple channel memory mode provides increased performance over single channel mode.
The following requirements must be met for the DDR memory to function in multiple channel mode:
  • All DIMMS must be of the same density (256 MB, 512 MB, etc.)
  • Same DRAM chip technology (x8 or x16).
  • All either single-sided or dual-sided.
  • DDR2 and DDR3 support Dual Channel mode. The same type of memory must be matched into the same matched slot for Channel A and Channel B. Usually the memory slots are color coded to make it easier to understand.
  • DDR3 memory can support 3 DIMMs in Triple Channel mode. The same memory size and type needs to be installed into the matched DIMM slots for channels A, B and C. Usually the memory slots are color coded to make it easier to understand.
NOTE:Motherboards with Intel i945G or i945P chipsets; with DDR2-667 memory modules using one Gigabit technology perform as DDR2-533 memory modules. If faster DDR2-667 memory modules are used, they must be 256 or 512 Megabit.

Buying memory

HP recommends purchasing memory directly from HP, an authorized HP dealer, or from a reputable computer parts supplier.
You can purchase computer memory from most local electronic stores and online shopping sites such as Crucial or HP , for example. Many of the online sites partner with HP to automatically suggest the correct type of memory based on the model of your computer. Before purchasing memory, make sure you know how much memory you need and what type of memory is compatible with your computer.
Compaq Presario CQ56-109WM Notebook PC

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