Simon Harriyott

HP TC4200 RAM Upgrade

Normally I live by the mantra "I don't do hardware", but tonight I broke it. As I've got three weeks' work for my favourite football team coming up which requires me using my tablet PC, I thought I'd upgrade the RAM from an inadequate 512MB to a fully-loaded 2GB*.

The first 1GB went in easily; there's a panel on the bottom with an empty space in it. The second one was harder. I had to take the keyboard off. This took quite a while, even with following the instructions.

After tentatively prising off the keyboard (which turned out to be glued as well as screwed), I put the other 1GB in, put everything back together again and switched it on.

Nothing happened.

Well, a light came on, but there was no beep, and no prompt for the BIOS password. Must be a problem with the RAM. I took it all apart again, and put the old RAM back in again.

Nothing happened.

Now this is why I don't do hardware. I got a horrible feeling somewhere in my chest as I realised that I had just broken my laptop, and I had no way of getting it back. There was no Ctrl-Z, no "undo checkout", not even a re-install Windows from the CD like there is with software. Just broken. Horrid, horrid.

So I phoned a friend who does do hardware, and he asked what happened if I took the RAM out altogether. I tried it, and exactly the same thing happened. He suggested that I hadn't put the RAM in properly, so I should try pushing it in further.

I did, and it worked! I was overjoyed. The relief was amazing, and relaxing like having a general anesthetic (well, the few seconds before passing out).

Everything works so much faster now, so it was fifty odd quid well spent. Even so, I still don't do hardware.

* or 1.99GB as Windows XP tells me it is.

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18 July 2007