What is the worst that can happen when installing incompatible RAM?


Status:In Post-Production
Jul 6, 2007
I was harvesting parts from a computer, and I found a couple gigs of RAM. I could always use a couple more gigs, but I don't know if they are compatible -- and I do know that if they are incompatible, it won't work. But, exactly what do I risk by trying it out? Will the system just not boot, so I take it out and it's as if nothing ever happened? Or will attempting such an installation actually result in permanent damage to my system if it's not compatible?


Staff member
Political User
Jul 20, 2002
First and foremost do the salvaged sticks match the sticks currently in your system? I'm guessing you checked that already but figured I would toss it out to be sure.

It may or may not boot. It could boot but crash randomly. You could fry the memory stick. You could fry the motherboard though that seems like a very slim chance.

I would try it without the memory sticks you currently have in the system and if you get to windows maybe run memtest to make sure. If you know the motherboard manufacturer and the brand of memory you found check their websites as most list what ram works with what board

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