Reseating RAM & M2 Drive on Dell Precision Desktops

This article will show you how to reseat both the RAM and the M2 drive for Precision desktops. The specific model used in making the instructions was a Precision 3450. This is an involved procedure, requiring many steps to describe it.

It is highly recommended to disconnect all cables form the computer before starting. Be sure to note which USB port directly-connected printers are plugged into, as there will be problems with them if they get later reconnected to a different port.

You will need a small screwdriver near the end of this.


  • Pictures 1-4 show the Precision, the location of its latch (slide it toward the black metal projection), the beginning of the gap as the side is slid open (using the metal projection as a handle), and finally the interior of the computer, with the side lifted away after being slid open.  Set the side out of your way. 

  • Pictures 5-8 show the position of the 3 tabs on the faceplate that need to be gently lifted to disengage them, before tipping the faceplate toward you and removing it.  Set it aside for replacement in a few minutes.

  • Pictures 9-13 show the latch for the tray which contains the port for a CD/DVD.  It should initially show a padlock in the closed position.  Slide the latch away from the front of the computer.  This should cause the image of an open padlock to appear.  If it doesn’t, slide it the other direction.  Once the open padlock shows, you should be able to tip that side of the tray up as shown in 11, then disengage the tabs from the frame at the other end of the tray, and lay the tray upside down on top of the power supply (large silver box) as shown in 13.

  • Pictures 15 & 16 show close-ups of the RAM and M2 drive.  15 is the RAM and 16 is the M2.  First, we’ll focus on the RAM.

  • Pictures 17-19 show the location of the lock tabs for a stick of RAM.  There are 4 slots available, and it can vary as to how many of them are full.  For each stick of RAM, press down & outward on each of the latches until it clicks open.  This can take a fair amount of pressure.  The RAM will slightly pop up on each side as you do this. Go ahead and lift the stick of RAM entirely out of the computer.  If you feel there might be lint or dust in the computer, gently blow on the edge of the RAM and into the slot it came from.  Then, slide it back into the slot.  There is a notch in the stick of RAM that has to match the ridge near the middle of the slot.  If they do not, turn the stick 180 degrees.  Once it is lined up, press firmly down on the stick of RAM until the latches click back into place on both ends.

  • Pictures 20-24 show the location of the screw that holds the M2 drive in place.  Here’s where you need the small-size screwdriver mentioned at the beginning of the instructions.  Unscrew the screw completely and set it aside.  If the screwdriver is magnetic, leave the screw stuck to it.  The M2 drive may pop up at an angle once the screw is removed, or it may not, depending on whether there is an adhesive block underneath it.  If it does not pop up on its own, gently lift until it comes loose, then slide it toward you, out of its slot, as shown in 23.  24 shows the adhesive block still in place, with the M2 removed.  The block may come loose from the motherboard and remain stuck to the M2, and this is completely OK.  As with the RAM, if you suspect there is dust or lint in the computer blow gently on the M2 and its slot before gently sliding the M2 back into the slot.  It’s OK to do this with the back end of the M2 lifted at a little bit of an angle.  The gold-colored metal on the forward end should disappear either completely or nearly so into the connector.  Try to make certain the M2 is squared up with the slot, as the fit will allow it to be crooked.  The small notch in the back end of the M2 should line up with the screw hole in the top of the post.  Once it’s lined up, put the screw back in, tightening it lightly.  It won’t require much force.

NOTE:  The screw assembly is sometimes replaced with a push-pin kind of assembly (usually light blue), for which you will not need a screwdriver.  The pin can be a little difficult to pull out, and you might want a small pair of needle-nose pliers to pull it with.  It can usually be pulled just with fingers though.

  • Pictures 25-27 show the M2 being maneuvered back into its slot, and then after it has been screwed (or pinned) back into place.

  • Pictures 28 & 29 show lining up the tabs on the CD/DVD tray prior to lowering it back down onto the latch, and the way the tray will line up to become part of the front edge of the frame.  Some of the cables connected to the tray can sometimes become trapped between the tray and the latch post underneath, causing the tray to not lay flat, and the latch to be impossible to slide back to the locked position (showing the locked padlock).  You will need to reposition them away from the latch post in order to get it to lay down properly.  It might also be necessary to realign the tabs shown in 28 so that they engage properly.

  • Pictures 30-32 show the lower-side tabs on the lower edge of the face plate, and the farthest-left of their corresponding slots in the lower edge of the frame.  Line up all 3, then lever the face plate upward as though those tabs were hinges.

  • Picture 33 shows finishing levering the faceplate into place.  If everything lined up properly, all 3 latch-tabs will lock back into place across the top of the frame.  Almost done!!

  • Pictures 34 & 35 show the side of the computer laid into the slots in the frame, prior to sliding toward the front and locking into place.  There needs to be about a 1/2 to 3/4-inch gap between the front edge of the side and the face of the computer for the tabs in the side to line up with their corresponding slots in the frame.  Once the side slides closed & locks, you’re all done, and can reconnect the computer.  Time to reconnect all the cables, then test and see if it works!