I have a new, formatted, and up-to-date laptop. It's clean of any infections and I'm sure of it.

The only change I've made is that I added a new 4G DDR3 RAM stick from my old laptop, and my new one has become infected with many viruses.

I know that a RAM stick is volatile (loses all its data when power is lost), thus I was confused by the infection.

PS: I also know my old laptop is infected and has multiple viruses.

Any suggestions?

  • 2
    Did you transfer any files from the old laptop - this could include things like downloading them from a backup system, reading files burnt onto a CD, or even syncing your email using the same account as the old laptop? All of these would be perfectly viable infection methods. The only way a stick of RAM could cause fresh infection would be if it was built specifically to do so (i.e. it's a malicious hardware device), but the chances of that seem so low as to be ignored
    – Matthew
    Jan 13, 2016 at 9:36
  • It's more likely that aliens came and zapped a virus into your computer when you weren't looking (than infection from RAM). Jan 13, 2016 at 14:13
  • There are many causes of virus attacks: * free program with mallicious bundles * pop up ads * infected device * email attachemnts businessnewsdaily.com/6365-virus-infections.html guides.uufix.com/…
    – user96895
    Jan 14, 2016 at 9:43
  • RAM sticks are less volatile than you'd think. However, operating systems have no reason to even look at the old data, before erasing it. Feb 1, 2016 at 0:51

1 Answer 1


As far as I'm aware, presently (Who knows, maybe in the future?), it is not possible that you have received the infection from swapping the RAM. Primarily because RAM is volatile and so will lose any data stored on it after the power is removed (though the data is retained for a very short period of time).

A few more likely scenarios:

  • Did you plug in a USB device to your old computer, then your new computer to copy data? Malware may have spread that way.
  • Downloaded and run an infected executable (Downloaded software or drivers to your new laptop?)
  • Browsed to an infected site.
  • It's also possible, depending on your network, that your old laptop has a worm which has spread to your new computer over the local network.

An infection from adding RAM would be one of the last things I would be suspicious of. Even if the malicious code was still retained in the memory, the OS won't start executing random bits of code from memory

  • I'm sure of avoiding your scenarios, otherwise I wouldn't have asked my question.
    – Eibo
    Jan 13, 2016 at 7:49
  • 1
    @Emadeddin as triabalChicken said its not currently possible to be infected over ram the information cannot be held without a current. so one of the scenarios above must be it, so clearly you cannot be sure making your comment invalid. the only scenario left out is someone on your network having a worm or other such things. i doubt the infection has even come from your old laptop by the sounds of it you just do things which cause infection if you had that many viruses on your old laptop. if you have done a virus scan then tell us what viruses you have? that might help us tell you the source.
    – TheHidden
    Jan 13, 2016 at 9:44
  • Most of the viruses are exe destroyers and Trojans. I was sure that the infection came from my old laptop because of one the viruses was Gallery.exe which I recognized only on those two devices
    – Eibo
    Jan 13, 2016 at 10:54
  • It could also happen if You used same media to install OS in the new machine that has some virus. It is pretty common in case of unofficial/pirated OS cd/usb/dvds. Might be the virus then got in notice after some period Like after you opened internet after adding the new RAM.
    – Tanmoy
    Jan 13, 2016 at 12:06
  • Since it is possible that the malware did not come from the old computer, it could be enough to just connect to any network or insert any media into the computer.
    – Anders
    Feb 1, 2016 at 8:50

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