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Learn RAM Memory

Computer RAM vs. ROM Memory

By David A Patterson, published
published UC Berkeley

RAM (random access memory) is where programs that are being used currently by the processor to run the program are held. This clears when you lose power or shut down the computer.

ROM (read only memory) is where all programs on your computer are stored until needed. This is the hard drive; items stay stored here until you remove them. So when explaining the basics of how this works, I use this simple example.

Think of the hard drive (ROM) as a file cabinet. It contains all the programs your computer needs to operate. The (RAM) can be described as a desktop. The processor is the worker. So when you open a program, you want to work on .It moves from the filing cabinet, to the desk .This is where all the work is organized and used buy the “worker”. When work on that program is done and you close the program, it’s placed back, into the file cabinet. The same happens when you shut down the system.

But if you have a system “crash” or a power failure while working on something, it’s lost. I say it’s like a windows open and a strong breeze blows everything off the desk before you can put it away.

By this example you can see how a couple old computer adages make sense. You can never have too much storage or too much RAM. i.e.; big filing cabinet and large desk. The amount of RAM is one of, if not THE most important parts of your system. RAM in the last couple of years as gotten very inexpensive. So it makes adding more to an older system a very good option to breathe new life into it. The speed that programs operate from this simple change will make you think you have a new system.

There are several different types of RAM and setups on different motherboards. Far more types than I will get into, as this is meant as a “non-technical” overview of RAM. You can check your manual and or the computer maker to find out what type of RAM you have.Alot depends on the age of the computer. RAM is fairly easy to install, but if that makes you feel uncomfortable, a friend might help. If not it doesn’t cost much to have a tech do it. If your system is two or three years old or newer, adding RAM is a good move. If your system is older than that then it may be time to look into getting a new system. So much has been improved the last couple years in overall system performance that you’d gain from getting a new one. If you have a fairly new system and are doing new things with it, like photo and video work, maybe games. Then adding RAM, will greatly improve, whatever it is you are doing.The more RAM memory you have, the less frequently the computer has to access instructions and data from the more slowly accessed hard disk form of memory.

Signs of low memory include poor performance, low memory or out of memory notifications, and display problems. For example, if you try to open a menu in a program when your computer is low on memory, the program might respond slowly
Why do low memory problems occur?
Your computer has two types of memory, random access memory (RAM) and virtual memory. All programs use RAM, but when there is not enough RAM for the program you're trying to run, Windows temporarily moves information that would normally be stored in RAM to a file on your hard disk called a paging file. The amount of information that is temporarily stored in a paging file is also referred to as virtual memory. Using virtual memory—in other words, moving information to and from the paging file—frees up enough RAM for programs to run correctly.

Low memory problems occur when your computer runs out of RAM and becomes low on virtual memory. This can happen when you run more programs than the RAM installed on the computer is designed to support. Low memory problems can also occur when a program does not free up memory that it no longer needs. This problem is called memory overuse or a memory leak.

Running fewer programs at one time can prevent low memory problems and information loss. It's a good idea to observe which programs show signs of low memory conditions and try not to run them at the same time.
Install more RAM
If you see signs of low memory determine which type of RAM is compatible with your computer, and then install more RAM. use crucial.com for help.

RAM Memory

Algorithms are essential to the way computers process information. Many computer programs contain algorithms that specify the specific instructions a computer should perform (in a specific order) to carry out a specified task.

To Free Up More RAM
Sysinfo Startup List Information
Startup Applications List Some information for experienced users who would like to know some terms and definitions of various stuff that could show up in Windows start up. A brand new computer with Windows usually has many if not all of the start up items on the list checked. Lots of programs are running and you may not need them set that way. I mean do you use all or your programs at once? Hmmm ..  Many programs checked use up a whole bunch of RAM which can really slow down your computer or notebook.

Beginners 50+ and other, have an experienced user help you.
Accessories / System Tools / Find System Information
System Information
This tells you lots of information on how computer is working. When something does not seem normal with your machine, this is the place to look. Obviously a qualified technician is required here to understand this stuff. Beginners 50+ and others use mouse and feel free to "look around" however please do not make any changes.
RAM says 1024 GB of memory which is fine for basic use. But if you use lots of programs at once , you might want to increase and buy more memory.
crucial.com is a highly recommended site where you can have them read what kind of memory and the amount you currently have and then will provide you with a list of options as to adding more memory and the maximum amount of memory you computer can have. Some System Information, uh Information.
 OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Professional
 OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
 Activation Status
 System Name
 System Manufacturer
 System Model OptiPlex
 System Type
 Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 3 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
 Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 3 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
 BIOS Version/Date
 SMBIOS Version
 Windows Directory C:\WINDOWS
 System Directory C:\WINDOWS\system32
 Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume2
 Locale United States
 Hardware Abstraction Layer
 User Name
 Time Zone Eastern Daylight Time
 Total Physical Memory 1,024.00 MB
 Available Physical Memory 464.43 MB
 Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
 Available Virtual Memory 1.95 GB
 Page File Space
 Page File

FYI Experienced Help Required
The more RAM memory you have, the less frequently the computer has to access instructions and data from the more slowly accessed hard disk form of memory.

Microsoft Improve Performance

Vista System Defender:
Start / Control Panel / System and Maintenance / and click Performance Information Tools. To disable these programs from startup and improve performance, use Windows Defender. For more information, see Stop a program from running automatically when Windows starts.

XP Manage Startup Programs:
Some programs start themselves automatically when you start Windows. Too many of these programs opening at the same time can slow down your computer.
Start / Run / type msconfig uncheck all unnecessary start up programs.
Accessories / System Tools / Find System Information

FYI - 50+ or other beginners will probably need help on FYI stuff.
Lockups or Freezeups 
Have you been on Windows and all of sudden everything freezes? Sometimes programs might not respond or maybe Windows is exhausted, possibly because you are doing too many tasks too quickly or other reasons. Happens to us because we can be impatient or are using a computer that has limited RAM.
Press Crtl + Alt + Del .  A close program box appears.
Programs and background tasks in memory are displayed. Programs or tasks that say (not responding) after the listing have stopped working. Click each one not responding and another box shows up. Depending on Windows version hit a button that says "Close Program" or maybe reads "End Task." If there is more than one, then repeat the same process for each one separately.