Is your pc or laptop starting to slow you down?  Do you find yourself going to get a cup of coffee while waiting for an application to start or webpage to load?  Before tossing it out and buying a new one, you may want to consider an inexpensive upgrade that could make it like new.  Of course, the first step is to clean it up:  remove unused programs, delete temporary files, and check for spyware and viruses.  If you still have time to make a sandwich after every mouse-click, your problem could simply be memory.  You can quickly exhaust your available memory when you are running multiple applications at once.  And even if most of your time is spent in a web browser (as it is for many these days), websites use much more memory today.  Web pages are usually not just simple text and graphics, but full-blown applications.

If you see your hard drive light constantly flickering while you are waiting for something to happen, that means your computer has used all of its available RAM (active memory) and now has to read and write to the hard drive as is processes things … which slows down the computer tremendously.  You can use your task manager (click CTRL-ALT-DEL) to see your running programs and how much memory you are using.  If this is the case, upgrading your memory can make all the difference.  Increasing your RAM from 512k to 1024K can eliminate all that drag on your hard drive and make your computer around ten times as fast!  We are all looking for ways to save money these days, but your time and productivity is valuable too.  So, if computer speed is an issue for you – consider a memory upgrade before shopping for a new one.

A new memory card can be anywhere from $40-$100, and many deals can be found online.  You can find the memory upgrade options for your computer by using sites like bestbuy.com and crucial.com, and check your user manual for instructions on how to add or replace your RAM (if you no longer have your manual, check sites like fixya.com or manualsonline.com).  If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, you may wish to take it to a local store or have a computer professional do it for you … the extra cost is still a bargain compared to replacing the whole computer.

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