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RAM that memory into your storage system unit (or - What is he talking
When a program or someone tells you that you need more "storage",
what are they talking about?
Terminology can be as confusing as it is important. If you get a
message on your screen telling you that you don't have enough memory to use this
program, don't go out and buy a 120 GB hard drive.
Let's learn what all this stuff means...
In the dark ages of computing, way back in the 1950's and 1960's, the number
of people involved with computers was relatively small. Everyone knew that
to be in that business, you had to learn the correct terminology.
Fast forward to the 1980's where computers first started to become widely
available to the general public. If you went to buy one, you had to deal
with things like "system unit", "monitor", RAM, diskettes,
hard drives, etc. You had to make sure you had enough of each to do what
you needed to do.
These days, different programs and operating systems have different
requirements to be able to run. You'll find things like "16MB RAM and
100MB available disk space needed to run this program." You're out of
space -- Well, is that disk space, memory space, and what's the difference.
- Generic term for anyplace that data or programs get stored, either
temporarily, semi-permanently, or permanently. See below...
- So called "Random Access Memory" is the temporary storage that your
computer has on its motherboard to hold the operating system while it's in
use. It also has to be able to hold any application programs like
Microsoft Word that you wish to use. It is temporary because when you
turn off the computer, the contents are lost. This is the memory that
gets plugged into the motherboard, and these days it is measured in
Megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). It can also be called EDO memory, SDRAM, DDR ram, and
a bunch of other things that don't make a lot of sense. The more you
have, the better it is. These days, you'll need at least 128MB, but
many people are installing as much as 1GB so they can run a lot
of programs at once.
- Hard drive, fixed disk, or simply disk space
- The high speed, spinning, multi-plattered non-volatile (semi-permanent)
storage inside the computer. This is like a permanently installed
floppy that holds tons more that a floppy can. This is the place that
your operating system, your programs, and your data are stored for fast
retrieval when you use your computer. Hard drives today are measured
in Gigabytes (GB). A GB is 1024 times bigger than a
MB. Typical drive sizes these days are 40 to 260 GB.
- Floppy disk, diskette, or removable media drives
- These devices are the things that sit inside the front panel of your
computer, and can hold removable, rewritable media for archival storage,
temporary storage, or offline storage of programs and data. Floppies
are slower than hard drives, and hold less. Some other drives of this
type are the ZIP drive, LS/120 drive, and JAZ drive. They hold 100 or 250
MB, 120 MB, and 1 or 2 GB respectively. A typical diskette is 1.44 MB.
Most removable media drives are becoming obsolete because they hold so
little compared to hard drives. A newer alternative is the
- Writeable Optical Drive, CD-R or DVD-R drives
- These drives use media that look like CDs or CD-ROMs, but you can write
to them. A blank CD-R will hold as much as 700MB, and a DVD-R will
hold 4.7GB or more. There are many different flavors of these drives, each
with a different ending letter or two. CD-RW for example is
re-writeable, and can be erased many times. The same holds true for
DVD-RW. DVD drives can also be DVD+R (which is just a different
format, but still compatible), DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, etc.
If this doesn't clear up your memory/storage questions, it's not your
fault. Some programs and messages are unclear about which type of storage
they are talking about. But, before you go out and buy anything to add to
your computer, make sure you know how much of what kind of storage you have
now. Knowing that you have 256MB of RAM and a 40GB hard disk should make
your visit to a computer store more productive.
Every precaution has been taken to insure that the procedures presented here will not
cause damage to your computer system. However, Mind Over Machines Inc. will not be
responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly by any advice and/or procedures
given anywhere on this web site. Likewise, we cannot be responsible for malfunctions
caused by defective hardware, or unforeseen problems which arise from use of the standard
Microsoft tools. If problems do arise, we may attempt to assist in the diagnosis and
eventual remedy, but cannot be held liable or bound to do so.
Contents Copyright (c) 2001-2004, Mind Over Machines Inc.
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