[accesscomp] Dan's Tip

  • From: "Bob Acosta" <boacosta@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bob Acosta" <boacosta@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2012 08:23:34 -0800

        Dan's Tech Tips:
RAM: Add More Memory To Your Computer
Your computer is a little like your physical work area. The hard drive is the 
filing cabinet where you store your documents, and memory-or RAM (random access 
memory)-is the desk where you work. And when your RAM-like a full desktop-isn't 
big enough to hold all your work easily, your work slows down and becomes more 
difficult. A good solution is to expand the space-or install more RAM.
If it suddenly seems that your computer can't keep up and the drive light is 
flickering like crazy, it's probably time to install RAM. But before you unplug 
the cables, lug the machine to the car, drive to the computer store, wait to 
have RAM installed, and pay for the service, read how to install RAM yourself.
Note: Problems with speed can also be caused by viruses, spyware, or other 
malicious software. Make sure that your virus checker is up to date. Or 
download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.
I. Determine how much RAM you have and how much you need
Before you buy anything, you need to know how much memory you have and what 
type of memory to buy.
Find out how much RAM your computer has
You can find out how much RAM is installed in your computer in two ways. You 
can highlight the "my computer" icon in Windows xp or "computer" icon in Vista 
and seven. Then click your right mouse button or press the application key.
Next click on properties or press the letter r for properties. Here you can 
read down the screen and the ram is shown. If using a screenreader, use the 
read to end keystroke or read current window command.
Alternatively you can go to Control Panel.
To open System Information, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, 
click System Tools, and then click System Information. In the left pane, select 
System Summary. The Installed Physical Memory (RAM) entry in the list tells you 
how much RAM your computer has.
Go to Control Panel in your version of the Windows operating system to find out 
how much RAM your computer has:
The minimum amounts of RAM required for your version of Windows are shown below.
Windows Seven:
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
Windows Vista:
1 gigabyte (GB) of system memory (512 megabytes (MB) for Home Basic)
Windows XP:
At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
In Windows XP, go to the Start menu, click Settings, and then click Control 
Panel. Click System, and then select the General tab. At the bottom of the page 
you will see the amount of RAM.
Find out how much RAM you need
Most games specify the minimum amount of RAM you need to install and play. For 
example, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban requires 256 megabytes (MB). 
This amount includes RAM that the computer needs to do its own background work 
in addition to running the game.
The amount of RAM you need depends on the operating system you are using. For 
systems running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, you should have the 
minimum recommended amount, but more can be better, depending on your needs. If 
you just use your PC for surfing the Internet and writing letters, you may need 
only the minimum amount of RAM required to run the version of Windows you have 
installed on your computer. But for the best performance-especially if you keep 
several programs open at the same time while you're working-consider increasing 
the RAM on your computer to at least 2 gigabytes (GB).
For more RAM-intensive programs, such as games or photo editing, or if you like 
to use a lot of applications at the same time, such as desktop publishing and 
video rendering, you may need additional RAM. Individual programs come with 
system requirements that show both the minimum RAM needed to run the program, 
and the amount of RAM needed for its best performance.
You can buy RAM modules in a variety of sizes, typically 1-GB, 2-GB, and 4-GB 
II. Figure out what type of RAM you need
To determine the maximum amount of RAM your computer can handle along with the 
speed, consult your PC owner's manual, which should show you the number of 
slots (the place where you insert the RAM), how much RAM each can take, and the 
maximum RAM your system can use.
Contact the  manufacturer or use an online memory advisor, such as those from 
Crucial Technology
or Kingston Technology:
These memory advisors use information that you enter about your computer model 
and do a memory check for your specific PC that tells you which products work 
with your system.
To find out what kind of module you need, you can also open up your computer.
1. First, turn off the computer, but leave it plugged in so that it's 
automatically grounded. (Computers that should not remain plugged in will be 
clearly marked.)
2. Place the computer on a clean workspace and remove the cover carefully (you 
may need to use a screwdriver).
3. Touch the case to ground yourself. When you touch the case, it discharges 
static electricity that could otherwise damage your computer. (Note that some 
manuals recommend anti-static wrist straps, but this is not necessary for home 
4. Locate the RAM modules, which are green with black tubes, on the 
motherboard. For a visually impaired computer user, these are long sticks about 
one inch tall and around three to four inches. They fit into small long slots 
on the motherboard with clips on each end of the memory chip.
5. Now determine the type of module you have. You can identify the type by its 
RDRAM is paired up (you have to put in two at a time) and has metal casing on 
one side.
DDR SDRAM is the most popular and looks like regular RAM but has one notch.
SDRAM (which is being phased out) has two notches.
6. Also note your RAM speed, which is usually written on the side of the 
existing chip (either 266 or 333).
7. If you don't have a free slot, remove one of the memory cards to check the 
number of notches on it. You will replace the smaller of the two RAM modules.
You can buy ram here:
III. Install your new RAM
1. Turn off the computer, and touch the metal casing.
Note: If you have a computer that should not remain plugged in while you work 
on it, turn off the computer and unplug the power cord. Then, press the button 
that turns on the power to your computer. This action helps you to be sure that 
there is no residual power to the memory slots or the computer's motherboard. 
The board also may have an LED light that is lit, which is another indication 
that there is residual power.
2. Open the compartment where your RAM is installed. You may have to remove 
screws to open the compartment.
You may need to use a screwdriver to open the compartment where RAM modules 
are installed.
3. Locate the RAM modules (RAM cards). Find the empty slot where you plan to 
add a module, or remove the RAM module you are replacing.
4. Line up the notches of the new RAM module, and apply firm pressure to attach.
5. After you're sure the RAM module is snugly in place, close the latch at 
either end. If you have clips, they should snap back in place.
6. The RAM module has been installed and is snugly in place.
7. Reconnect all the cables, but leave the casing open until you're sure 
everything is working right.
8. Turn your computer back on. If the machine starts to beep, the memory is 
either incompatible or not correctly in its slot. If you've installed 
everything correctly, the system will detect the new RAM.
9. Check your system information to see how much RAM you now have. If you 
replaced a 512-MB module with a 1-GB one, you should have 1 GB (1,024 MB) minus 
512 -or 512 MB more RAM than you did previously. If you added the RAM but 
didn't remove any, you should have 1 GB more RAM, for a total of 1.5 GB.
10. Try one of your programs that wasn't working well. If it still isn't 
working, unplug everything again and get back into the computer to check that 
the RAM modules are firmly secured.
IV. Quick facts about RAM
RAM = random access memory. RAM is the primary working memory in a computer 
used for the temporary storage of programs and data and in which the data can 
be accessed directly and modified.
RAM is measured in bytes: 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1,024 megabytes (MB) = 1,048,576 
kilobytes (KB)
V. Shopping checklist
Amount of memory/RAM you have: __ MB
Amount of memory/RAM you require: __ MB
Amount of memory/RAM on each module: __ MB and __ MB
Maximum amount of RAM your computer can handle: __ MB
Amount of memory/RAM you will buy: __ MB
RAM speed for your computer:
Adapted from an original article written by Mara Gulens.
If you have any questions about the tips posted in Dan's Tech tips, please 
contact Dan at the following email address:

Robert Acosta, President
Helping Hands for the Blind
Email: boacosta@xxxxxxxxxxx
Web Site: www.helpinghands4theblind.org

You can assist Helping Hands for the Blind by donating your used computers to 
us. If you have a blind friend in need of a computer, please mail us at the 
above address.

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