Your computer’s RAM (random-access memory) is the speedy short-term memory the PC uses for running applications and open files. The more RAM your computer has, the more you can do at once. Here’s how to check how much your system has installed.
In this guide, we’ll also show you how to check how fast your RAM is. Like practically all technology—except maybe batteries—RAM is getting better and faster over time. Newer computers will have faster RAM than older computers.
RAM stands for “random access memory.” This is the physical working memory that your PC uses. All your open applications, files, and other data are stored here for quick access. RAM is different from your computer’s SSD or hard drive, which are much slower than RAM. When you launch a program or open a file, it’s moved from your system’s storage to its RAM.
The more RAM you have, the more you can do at once. If you don’t have enough RAM for your open applications, your system will slow down as Windows (or another operating system) has to move data in and out of the page file on your system drive. You might even see a low memory error if there’s not enough RAM.
How much RAM you need depends on what you do. You’ll need more RAM for playing the latest PC games, running virtual machines, and editing 4K videos.
You can check how much RAM your Windows PC has in a variety of quick ways.
On Windows 10 and Windows 11, use the Task Manager. Right-click your taskbar at the bottom of the screen and select “Task Manager” or press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open it. Select the “Performance” tab and choose “Memory” in the left pane. If you don’t see any tabs, click “More Details” first.
The total amount of RAM you have installed is displayed here. The Task Manager also tells you the standard it’s using, the speed, its form factor, and how many of your system’s physical memory slots you’re using. You can install more RAM if you can open your PC (not possible on some laptops) and have some spare slots.
The Task Manager doesn’t offer this useful information on Windows 7. Instead, you can see your total amount of RAM on the Control Panel > System and Security > System page.
You can also quickly open this by opening your Start menu, right-clicking “Computer,” and selecting “Properties.” Look to the right of “Installed Memory” under System.
If you build your own PC, your RAM may not run at its advertised timing until you tweak the timings.
This information is generally displayed in your system’s UEFI firmware or BIOS, too. This is particularly helpful if you’re using a PC without a working operating system. Just boot it up, use the keyboard shortcut to enter its BIOS or UEFI firmware (it’s different on each PC), and look for information about the system’s memory or RAM.
It’s much easier to see how much RAM is in your Mac. But, unlike most Windows machines, it’s nearly impossible to upgrade the RAM in Apple computers. If you own a MacBook, the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard and isn’t user accessible.
Start by clicking on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your Mac’s display.
Next, select the “About This Mac” option from the drop-down context menu.
You will now see an overview of your computer’s specs, including how much memory is in your Mac. In this example, the MacBook has 16GB of RAM.
If you would like to see which type of RAM you have installed, first, click the “System Report” button.
From there, choose “Memory” from the left sidebar. The amount of memory and type of RAM will be displayed on the right side of the screen.