• RAM is like the short-term memory of your computer, whereas your hard drives are long-term memory. You turn your computer off and the RAM is emptied, whereas the hard drives are not.

    Physical overview

    RAM stands for Random Access Memory. They come in "sticks" that you install on the motherboard inside your computer. They usually go near the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and the cables that connect your internal storage devices.


    RAM operates much faster than a hard drive, so your computer uses it to temporarily store and retrieve commonly accessed information. When you open an application like Microsoft Office or Photoshop, your documents and images are put into RAM so they can be manipulated more easily and quickly.

    RAM recovery

    This is how Microsoft Office can sometimes restore a document you were editing, if Office crashed or was otherwise closed down unexpectedly before you could save it. The "traces" of the document are picked up and pieced back together (as long as the computer has not been turned off or restarted).

    Managing RAM

    Consult your motherboard's manual to see what RAM is compatible with your computer. Adding more can make the system more responsive and make it easier to work with large images, videos and spreadsheets.


    A guide to RAM

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