Knowing Your Computer: RAM Memory

Why do it yourself if you can pay someone else to do it? That’s the question a lot of people ask themselves about things they don’t know how, or want to do. A lot of money and time is spent every year by people who would rather have someone else deal with their computer woes, rather than just do it themselves.

If just a little time is taken to know the hardware that we use everyday, a lot of money and time could be saved so that if your computer needs to be upgraded or is damaged, you will already know what is wrong with it, rather than being at the mercy of someone else. Remember nothing beats knowing for yourself, because once you do, no one can pull the wool over your eyes.

Knowing Your Computer: RAM Memory

There are two types of memory used by your computer, HD or hard drive memory, and RAM or random access memory. The hard drive is like a big storage filing system. This is where every file on your computer is stored. The RAM is like your workspace area or desk.

It is used to store all the data you are currently working on. So as an example of how the two memories work with each other imaging this; if you open up a word document and a picture file, your computer looks for and takes the specific word file you’re searching for, from the big storage filing system or hard drive, and puts it on your workspace area or RAM.

The more RAM you have, the more things you can do at once. If you ask the computer to do more tasks than the RAM has space to handle, it will slow down your computer. Just like if you have more files on your desk than you have space, how efficient do you think you would be?

Your computer does have what is called “virtual RAM”, which is an allotted space on your hard drive that the computer uses for RAM purposes, but it is much slower than actual RAM. Think of allotting a space in your filing cabinet for files you are currently working on.

Every time you needed one of those files, you have to get up, go to the filing cabinet, get the file, use it, then go back, put it in the special place allotted for it in the filing cabinet, then continue working. This is how virtual RAM works. How much slower is that than just getting a file off of your desk, using it and putting it back on your desk, which is how actual RAM works.

Now there are many reasons why a computer may run slowly, but checking to see how many windows you have open, or how many things you’re asking your computer to do is one solution to solving a computer’s slow down problems.

The way to know how much tasks you can demand of your computer at once, is to know how much RAM your computer actually has. To do this simple click the “start” button, go to the “control panel” section, once in double click “system maintenance” then double click “system”, and you should see the amount of RAM your computer has.

Most programs will tell you how much memory is required in order to use the program properly. They will give you the minimum memory requirements and the recommended memory requirements to run the software properly.

Once you know how much RAM you have, you can determine if you need more or if what you have is good enough. The key is to get to know your computer better, just a little bit everyday so that when something goes wrong, you will more than likely know what to do to fix it.