Determining how much RAM is installed and available

Computer memory aka RAMTo check how much RAM is installed and available on your computer, follow the steps below.

Tip: Memory (RAM) and hard drive space are two completely different things. If you want to know how much information you can store on your computer, see the how to determine how much hard drive space page.

Tip: See our determining the type of memory my computer has page if you are trying to find memory specifications for upgrading your computer memory.

Windows 8 users
Windows Vista and 7 users
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, and XP users
Windows 3.x users
MS-DOS users
Apple computer users
Linux and Unix users

Windows 8 users

  1. From the Desktop or Start Menu, right-click on Computer and select Properties.
  2. In the System Properties window, the system will list "Installed memory (RAM)" with the total amount detected. For example, in the picture below there is 8 GB of memory installed in the computer.

Windows 8 System Properties

Note: If a memory chip installed in the computer is not being recognized by the computer (defective or wrong type of memory), the System Properties window will not include that memory chip amount in the "Installed memory (RAM)" total amount.

View used and available resources

To determine the amount of available system resources, including memory, as well as what is currently being utilized, open the Task Manager. On the Processes tab, you can see which programs are running and using resources. On the Performance tab, you can see an overall picture of all the system resources. You can see how much memory is available next to the Available label.

Windows Vista and 7 users

  1. From the Desktop or Start Menu, right-click on Computer and select Properties.
  2. In the System Properties window, the system will list "Installed memory (RAM)" with the total amount detected. For example, in the picture below, there is 4 GB of memory installed in the computer.

Windows 7 System Properties

Note: If a memory chip installed in the computer is not being recognized by the computer (defective or wrong type of memory), the System Properties window will not include that memory chip amount in the "Installed memory (RAM)" total amount.

or

  1. Click Start
  2. In the Search box, type "ram" without quotes and click the Show how much RAM is on this computer.

or

  1. Click Start
  2. Click System and Security
  3. Under System, click View amount of RAM and processor speed.

View used and available resources

To determine the amount of available system resources, including memory, as well as what is currently being utilized, open the Task Manager. On the Processes tab, you can see which programs are running and using resources. On the Performance tab, you can see an overall picture of all the system resources. You can see how much memory is available next to the Available label.

Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, and XP users

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Control Panel and double-click the Systems icon.
  4. On the General tab, the amount of RAM currently installed and detected will be listed.

Note: If a memory chip installed in the computer is not being recognized by the computer (defective or wrong type of memory), the Systems window will not include that memory chip amount in the total memory amount.

or

Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP users can also run the System Information (msinfo32) program that comes pre-installed on the computer. Additional information about this program can be found on our msinfo32 definition page.

View used and available resources

To determine the amount of available system resources, including memory, as well as what is currently being utilized, open the Task Manager. On the Processes tab, you can see which programs are running and using resources. On the Performance tab, you can see an overall picture of all the system resources. You can see how much memory is available next to the Available label.

Windows 3.x users

Click File and then Exit Windows. Type mem at the MS-DOS prompt and press Enter.

  • See our mem command page for full information on this command.

MS-DOS users

Type mem at the MS-DOS prompt and press Enter.

Note: MS-DOS 6.2 will not accept or recognize more than 64 megabytes of RAM when typing mem.

Apple computer users

Apple menuClick "About this Mac" in the Apple menu on Mac OS X to determine how much RAM is installed on an Apple Mac computer. The picture shows an example of the Apple Menu. As can be seen in the picture, the About This Mac is the first option.

Linux and Unix users

Linux and Unix command line users can use top command, which displays the total memory detected by the computer, how much memory is used, and how much is free.

Using the free command also gives you an overview of memory as well as how much of the memory is being stored in the buffers.

Additional information