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Is your computer sluggish? Cluttered? Bursting at the seams? In this course, author and computer teacher Laura Bungarz shares some of her favorite techniques to help you speed up your home PC. Learn about defragmenting, checking your RAM, sorting files, and using utilities you already have to clean up "behind the scenes." Laura will also provide tips on upgrading your computer and, if your budget permits, looking for a new PC.
One of the ways we can speed up our computer after we've been through all the things we can do ourselves, is to start to buy or upgrade the hardware that's in the computer. One of the simplest, cost-effective, best ways to speed up your computer is by upgrading the RAM. But what is RAM? RAM stands for random-access memory. Think of it as the short-term memory for your computer.
Every time you open a program, every time you open a file, it goes into the RAM. RAM is much smaller than your hard drive. Your hard drive is hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes of space; it's huge. The RAM is a considerably smaller space and therefore much faster for your computer to access and pull information off of. When you turn on your computer in the morning and then you go ahead and turn on Microsoft Word or Powerpoint or whatever, that first time after you restart that computer, it's slower.
Partly because the computer's probably still trying to load up all the software. But it's slower because there's nothing in the RAM. The RAM refreshes itself every time the computer is restarted. So after you've used it once and you close it down and then you go back to it later, it's faster the second time. The reason it's faster the second time is because now that information is in the RAM. So the computer doesn't have to look as hard or go as far to find that information again.
Why should we upgrade? Well, number one, it's cost-effective. RAM is cheap. It's also a really, really easy way to upgrade your computer. One of the main reasons why computers slow down over time is the lack of RAM. As hard drives grow, as we install more software, as we do more stuff, that RAM gets used, and it fills up. So what you want to do is give yourself more space. You can increase your virtual memory, that's part of it, but that's not the whole story.
If you increase the RAM, you'll also help prevent those virtual memory errors. It's also really easy to install. A home user that's semi-comfortable with the inside of a computer can install RAM. That's why to upgrade, and that's what RAM is.
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