Back to Basics: Memory vs. Storage

Geek, “I think your computer is running slow because you need more memory. Vista works best with 4 gigabytes of RAM.”

You, “But I have 100 gigabytes of free space on my C Drive! So it must be something else.”

The problem is a misunderstanding of terminology. RAM memory is a completely different thing from Disk drive storage space. They are both measured in Gigabytes, but that’s where the similarity stops. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is the workspace of your computer … its brain space if you will. It is temporary, it gets dumped – emptied, whenever you reboot or turn off your computer. Disks are your permanent storage space, they can hold years’ worth of data and programs. Nothing is removed from permanent disk storage unless you delete it.

It’s like the difference between your desk (work area) and your filing cabinets (storage.) You may have several filing cabinets, maybe even a storage shed full of filing boxes! But you only need a desk big enough for what you are currently working on. The more you need to work on at any one given time, the bigger your desk needs to be. Vista’s tools take a lot of memory space – the more you give it, the better it works.

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