February 3, 2009 at 8:43 pm #28526MaraParticipant
Just wondering …If one has a Dell laptop that has a Capacity of 37.2 GB ... and one wanted to increase it, is it Ram that makes the computer's brain bigger?February 4, 2009 at 1:24 am #31106MitzKeymaster
Both RAM and Hard Drives are indeed hardware.There is more than one type of memory. RAM (random access memory) is short term memory, and is what the computer mostly uses while 'thinking'. A computers speed and reliability can often be helped by adding extra RAM.Expanding RAM is something you can do by simply adding or changing RAM cards with the computer turned off, assuming there is an available slot to add more RAM into.RAM does not affect the total space in your computer though. If you want more space, then you need a larger hard drive.Hard drives are also of course a form of memory.. long term memory or storage if you like. This is the library of memory from which the computer draws its 'knowledge', including Windows itself and all programs and files. Replacing hard drives is very much more complicated. Bear in mind that its much harder to change hardware in a laptop than a desktop, and may void any warranties if you do it yourself.1st option.. If you dont mind losing the entire contents of your computer, you can install a new hard drive and then install Windows on it, starting again. 2nd option.. burn all your files and settings to a dvd or dvd's, then fit a new hard drive and put all the files back.3rd option.. using an eternal hard drive to 'clone' your hard drive, installing a new hard drive, and 'cloning' it back in.4th (recommended) option.. use an external hard drive for storage. You can buy an external hard drive of 500GB or more for only a couple hundred bucks these days. Thats going to make a lot of difference to your current 37GB space, will connect to your computer via a USB or firewire port, and can be simply unplugged when you dont need access to whatever information you are storing there.You can use your new external hard drive just like an extra, rather large, folder on your computer, which of course can be divided into sub folders. If its just extra space you crave, then this is probably the simplest and easiest setup.
Mitz from Tips4pcFebruary 4, 2009 at 2:58 am #31107MaraParticipant
I finally understand the difference between Ram and Hardrive – and I thank you ever so much for your clear and full explanation!!I'm going to go with your recommended option - using an external hard drive for storage.March 20, 2009 at 2:48 am #31108Merlin33069Participant
NOTICE (Mildly technical information)I just wanted to say a few more things for anyone interested in PC MemoryHard Drives, as Dak said, are basically used for long term memory storage, RAM is for information that the computer is using at the time, if the amount of memory the computer needs exceeds the amount of memory available, the computer uses whats known as a page file, a page file is a semi small partition of the hard drive that is kind of closed off to anything else, because its on the hard drive, it is a 'lot' slower than that of normal Ram...This is one of the reasons that if you have a small amount of ram, your computer may run slower.... in order to use the Data on the hard drive, the Motherboard must Swap files from the ram and the hard drive, taking some files out of ram, to make room, and put what it needs in ram, then it can use it.Newer hard drives have something that i believe is called direct to disk (not sure) technology, this allows a processor to acquire information straight from the hard drive and use it, rather than swapping it with Ram files.Note to Linux users, if there are any, that is why you normally need a 'swap' drive, its a drive used solely for paging.Hope i said that RightMarch 20, 2009 at 2:56 am #31109MitzKeymaster
On the same subject, its also possible now to use a USB (flash) drive or even a memory card in a card reader as a paging area, so you can plug in an 8GB USB drive or memory card, and have it used as virtual RAM. This gives you much faster data retrieval rates, and allows you to have a whole bunch of RAM-like space which even XP can see...
Mitz from Tips4pcMarch 20, 2009 at 2:59 am #31110Merlin33069Participant
Yes i agree, because the flash drive is a different technology, and generally is not used as a hard drive is, you can set it to be used as a page file, its not *as* fast as ram, but its a lot better than having a large swap file on your PCand looking back i see i forgot the original post, lolI also agree that using an external hard drive would be the best solution in your case
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