Check The RAM
Another thing to consider is do you have enough RAM (Random Access Memory), this is where the bulk of the hard work goes on when programs are running, if you run out of available RAM then programs start to use available space on the hard drive which is much much slower and can cause massive fragmentation. We discussed why that is bad in a previous tip.
A recommended bare minimum for Windows XP would be 512MB.
A recommended bare minimum for Windows Vista would be 2GB.
A recommended bare minimum for the new Windows 7 is 4GB.
It is a lot easier and much more common to have too little memory rather than too much.
If you are an average Windows XP user that is not running lots of games, or running programs that require high end computer graphics then you can probably get away with 1GB of memory.
You can see how much memory you have and how much you are using with Task Manager.
Right click on a blank area of the Taskbar and choose “Task Manager”
Click the “Performance” tab
Look at the box labeled “PF Usage” and then look at the box labeled “Physical Memory”. If PF Usage exceeds or is close to Physical Memory Total then it’s time to up your memory capacity.
Nowadays RAM is relatively cheap and upgrading your RAM can be a cheap way to really boost your computers speed.
Crucial have an online scanner here:
Where you can allow their server to examine your computer and they will make recommendations as to whether or not a memory upgrade would benefit you, they will also tell you what memory modules to buy and how much it will cost. All that without having to open the case on your computer!
If you suspect that you have faulty memory in your computer then as long as you only have up to 4GB of RAM, Microsoft offer a free memory testing utility that you can download from here:
You can also get the famous Memtest86+ software available here:
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