The Journey to My New Computer: RAM Upgrade

My new laptop was capable of holding 32GB (gigabytes) of RAM, but for reasons I didn’t bother to pursue, I could find it only available with 16GB pre-installed.

I didn’t worry about it too much, knowing I could easily upgrade the RAM myself should I find it necessary.

I found it necessary. Smile

16GB worked fine, but it was clear that running virtual machines put a little too much stress on the machine, and RAM was the limiting factor.

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How Do I Tell Which Program Is Using So Much Memory?

Occasionally, Windows will report that it is running low on, or completely out of, memory. When that happens, programs may start to misbehave, fail, or crash completely.

Of course, one of those failing programs could be Windows itself.

Recent versions of Windows have made it a little easier to determine which programs might be consuming more memory than is warranted, leading to the dreaded “out of memory”.

Read moreHow Do I Tell Which Program Is Using So Much Memory?

Would it be worthwhile to upgrade my RAM?

Hi Leo. I know that in the past you said that increasing the RAM on your machine is probably the first thing that you would do to increase performance. But I’m wondering: These days, when machines come with generous amounts of RAM already installed, if that would still be your advice? I have an HP computer that came with 8 GB of RAM, but it will take 16 if I sacrifice the two 4 GB wafers. Do you think this would be worthwhile? I’ve already optimized the machine by fitting a Solid State Drive and this has made a big difference in performance. A RAM upgrade seems the other obvious thing to do.

Machines are definitely coming with more RAM these days. Prices dropped, so increasing RAM became very feasible for manufacturers to do.

So, let’s talk about RAM.

Read moreWould it be worthwhile to upgrade my RAM?

Can I stop an “idle” computer from hitting the hard disk at all?

My hard drive is rather old. I’ve already lost one with all of my data on it, so I don’t want to repeat that again. Without money to get a new one, I thought I’d relieve my hard drive of any unnecessary load. Obviously, I stopped things like indexing and particular services that access the hard drive and I’ve even killed the paging file. I know, but I’ve got enough RAM not to run out of RAM and I don’t need a paging file. All of these helped quite a bit, but I’ve still got some disk activity from Windows. Is there any way to make Windows load itself into RAM and then stop system and svchost.exe entries from making the constant disk activity and therefore slowly killing my hard drive?

Absolute zero disk activity? No, I don’t believe you can accomplish this in any practical way.

I have at least one idea that will get you about 90% of the way there, but I just don’t think the extra effort that you’re going through is going to help your hard drive.

I’ll explain.

Read moreCan I stop an “idle” computer from hitting the hard disk at all?

What’s the Easiest Way to Upgrade an Older Machine?

What’s the easiest way (other than buying a new machine) to upgrade my 10-year-old computer?

Unfortunately, there’s no blanket answer I can give to you. It depends on what you’re trying to do with this machine, and how it isn’t meeting your needs today.

If you’re considering an upgrade, it’s obvious there is something about this machine you don’t like. You either want to improve it or do something with it now that you can’t do currently.

Let me throw out a few ideas.

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What is Virtual Memory?


What is virtual memory?

There’s memory and then there’s disk space. There’s memory that’s on disk, not to be confused with memory that looks like a disk. Disk that looks like memory? Isn’t the disk a kind of memory? Or is it something else?

It’s very confusing, but we can clear a few things up. Disks and memory are fairly easy. Virtual memory is one way that they overlap; with a little explanation, we can make that a little less confusing, too.

Read moreWhat is Virtual Memory?