How to Create More Memory/Space on Your Computer

By Naomi Bolton

Updated September 28, 2017

Memory and space are two terms that are often confused when it comes to computers. Memory is the amount of RAM (random access memory) installed inside your computer and used to run programs as well as the operating system. Generally, the more memory you have free, the faster your computer is able to operate. Space, on the other hand, refers to hard disk space, which is used to store data and programs. As a hard disk fills up, it also affects the performance of the computer. Creating more memory and space on your computer requires that you either free up the existing memory and space or upgrade your computer to add more.

Installing More RAM

Installing more RAM in your computer is the easiest way to create more memory for your programs to work with. Before installing the RAM, you first need to determine what type of RAM your computer uses and if you have any available slots. Click the Start button and then right-click "Computer." Click "Properties" to see how much RAM is installed on your computer. Windows 7 requires at least 1GB of RAM for 32-bit versions and 2GB for 64-bit versions. If you have any less than this, installing more RAM is the best option for you. Consult your motherboard manual to determine the type of RAM that your computer uses, as well as the location on your motherboard. Open your computer case to determine if you have any empty RAM slots available. If not, you will have to swap out the existing RAM modules for larger ones.

Installing a Bigger or Extra Hard Drive

Installing a bigger hard drive or even an extra drive will provide you with more space on your computer. Click the Start button and then click "Computer" to view a list of all hard disk drives connected to your computer as well as how much space is left. Any drive with a red bar next to it (in the "tile" and "content" views) is close to its full capacity and will start impeding performance. When installing a bigger primary hard drive, you will have to re-install your operating system as well as any software that was previously installed. Adding an extra hard drive is the easier option, as you do not have to re-install everything. Instead, you can shift files and documents to the extra drive to create more space on the primary drive. A portable, external hard drive is also a good option as you can move it between multiple computers and laptops as a backup drive.

Freeing up RAM

To see how much of your system memory is in use, right-click the taskbar and select "Start Task Manager." Click the "Performance" tab for a detailed breakdown of how much memory is available. To free up more memory, click the "Resource Monitor" button at the bottom of the Performance tab for a list of all programs that are loaded into the memory. Right-click on a program name and select "End Task" to close it and free up memory. If you are not comfortable closing down programs this way, you can also manually exit any software that is running as well as close extra browser tabs to free more memory. Restarting your computer is another method of freeing more memory, as memory leaks by buggy software can cause performance losses on computers that have not rebooted for a while. Use the Windows Task Manager Performance tab and Resource Monitor to keep track of programs that use a lot of your memory and disable these when not needed.

ReadyBoost

A cheaper alternative than installing extra RAM to create more memory is to use the "ReadyBoost" feature available in Windows Vista and upwards. Once your computer memory runs low, the computer hard drive is used to store the temporary data. USB flash drives are faster than traditional hard drives so by using ReadyBoost, Windows caches system data on the portable device for speedier access. The requirements for ReadyBoost are a flash memory device with a minimum of 256MB free space up to a maximum capacity of 32GB. Up to eight devices can be connected for a maximum total of 256GB of extra memory capacity. To use ReadyBoost, connect a flash drive or flash memory card to an open USB port on your computer. Click "Speed up my system" from the general options listed on the AutoPlay window that appears. Select either "Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost" to use all the available space for this feature or "use this device" and drag the slider to the preferred amount of space you want to use. Click "Apply" and then "OK" to start using the device as extra memory.

Freeing More Hard Disk Space

Click "Start | Control Panel | Programs | Uninstall a program" for a list of all the software that is installed on your computer. Right-click any program that you no longer use and select "Uninstall" to remove it from your computer and free more space. You can also manually scan through your computer hard disk and delete any files that are no longer needed. Always use the "Uninstall" feature when deleting programs, however, as this also removes registry entries. Once you have uninstalled unwanted programs, right-click your hard drive under "My Computer" and select "Properties." Click the "Disk Cleanup" button for Windows to calculate how much space you will be able to free on the selected drive. Click the check box next to the files you want to delete (temporary Internet files, offline Web pages, thumbnails, error reports etc) and click the "OK" button. Click "Delete Files" when asked if you are sure. Back up files you might need in the future to DVD or USB flash drives to free space on your computer.

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