Hard Drive and Memory


First some definitions.  The hard drive  is where programs and personal data iimages are stored.  The programs and data are there all the time:  when the computer is on and when it is off.  But if it fails, you may lose it all.  Hard drives do fail.  Some of the symptoms are odd noises, slow start up, and error messages at startup.  However, these symptoms may also be caused by other issues.

Memory is what is needed for the computer to use the information stored on the hard drive. Program files and your data files are placed in memory by your operating system as they are needed for various reasons, and some are removed from memory when no longer needed.  But the memory is completely emptied imagewhen the computer is turned off.  Sometimes so many programs are trying to run that there isn't enough memory left to spare for things YOU want to do.  What might have been enough memory in 2001 or 2005 or even yesterday, may not be enough today as programs (including your operating system) require more and more memory to run. Then your computer is slow and may freeze on occasion while it tries to shuffle things in and out of the existing memory to find enough memory to run the program. Too little memory can cause your computer to be slow to start, slow to run.  Does this sound like your computer?   But, as I've already noted, these symptoms may also be caused by other things.

How much do I recommend?  If you are talking about hard drive space, that depends a lot on you.  Are you storing lots of pictures and videos?  Do you have a lot of games loaded.  Then you need a lot.  How much is a lot?  If you are playing games or producing videos, I would start with 500 GB.  If you are just doing internet browsing, checking email or storing a few vacation photos, 250 GB.  If you are ordering a new computer, this should help you.  Just as a note, my last hard drive on my office computer was 80 GB and it's full.  My current one is 600GB and I'm using 170 GB.

If we are talking about memory, no less (preferably more) than 512 MB for Windows XP; 2 GB for Vista.  You can take Windows XP up to 3 GB if you want and if your computer can handle it, but more than 1 or 2 GB probably is overkill.  For Vista, 3-4 GB or sometimes even more.  What memory does your computer take?  The Crucial Memory Finder is what I use.  Why?  Crucial makes good memory at a reasonable price which works well in most computers (I use it in mine.)  I have had no problems with it except with a couple of "custom" built computers and a couple of HP's. 

I hope this answers your questions about memory and hard drives!  But it is only meant to be a general guide.  If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone 329-6671.

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