Tech Terms Decoded – RAM

Decoding Tech Terms

Are you as confused as I sometimes am about common Tech Terms?  When Chris talks about RAM and Memory and gigs of storage, I’m not sure what he is saying. I’ve done some digging to see if I can help explain RAM in non-Tech terms.

RAM: Random Access Memory is the space your computer uses to run programs and also perform calculations without much delay. It will also hold any data that your program needs.  A program will exist in your computers memory, but when you start up that program, it will copy itself into RAM. Here’s a good definition from TechTerms.com:

Every time you open a program, it gets loaded from the hard drive into the RAM. This is because reading data from the RAM is much faster than reading data from the hard drive. Running programs from the RAM of the computer allows them to function without any lag time. The more RAM your computer has, the more data can be loaded from the hard drive into the RAM, which can effectively speed up your computer. In fact, adding RAM can be more beneficial to your computer’s performance than upgrading the CPU.

Recommendation:

I asked Chris how much RAM a computer should have. It depends on which Operating System you are using.

  • If you’re using the 32 bit version of Windows Vista or XP, your computer won’t be able to access more than 4 gigs of RAM.  Any more than that would be a waste.
  • If you’re using the 64 bit version of Windows Vista or XP, it can see more than 4 gigs.  Chris recommends using 8 gigs on these machines. (If you don’t know what a 32 bit or 64 bit machine is, you probably have the 32 bit version.)
  • For Windows 7 and 10, Chris recommends at least 8 gig of RAM, though more can be added as needed.

How Much RAM do I Have?:

To find out how much RAM your machine has click on the Start Menu, then open the Control Panel, then click on “System”. My computer is running Windows 7 64 bit with 16 gig of RAM:

Tech Terms - RAM

Tech Terms – RAM

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Q&A with Chris Eddy (iMac’s, PDF’s and Windows 10)

Question:

I’m currently running window 7 professional on my work laptop.  Windows 10 want to upgrade computer software.  I have office 2003 and ms project software  2010 and I’m wondering if windows 10 compatible with these programs?  Also since I’ve been rejecting windows 10 computer seems to constantly upgrade software (daily) and is running slow.  Any way that not upgrading to 10 can be causing this?

Answer:

I think you should decline the W10 upgrade because W7 works fine for you, I don’t think that W10 has enough new and different and better stuff that you should run right out now (metaphorically) and get it.  Also, I’m seeing occasional strangeness with W10 becoming unresponsive or very disk intensive for long periods of time, and have seen occasional filesystem corruption after things like a graceless shutdown which causes the machine to require serious startup repair (not the automated one), but W7 would have recovered from that in stride.

Question:

An associate recommended PDFMerge as a great program to take individual pdf pages and be able to combine them into a document. I went to the website www.pdfmerge.com and downloaded it. …. Well now every pdf on my laptop is a soda pdf. This was not what I intended – will this cause me problems since they are no longer adobe pdf’s? Should I have you change it all back? Worried about this change. Recommendations?

Answer:

This is an easy thing to change.  Go to the file using Windows Explorer, right click on the file name, go down to “Open With”, select the Adobe Acrobat Reader program, and make sure you put a check in the box to use this program for this file type in the future.

Question:

Do you have an opinion on the iMac all in one?  The 21.5 ” most suitable for my space and I’d like to connect it to a TV and be able to watch TV at same time as using computer – is that possible or a pipe dream?

21.5" iMac

Answer:

In general, I like the iMac.  And, in a nutshell, yes.  But you’ll need an “Apple TV” device, which is a white hockey puck sized thing that connects to the house network and to the TV.  More here: http://store.apple.com/us/question/answers/appletv/can-i-use-apple-tv-to-mirror-my-imac-on-my-tv/QCFJP9Y472HAJP9YP

Do you have a quick question about your Mac or PC?  Send us an email to support@geekforhireinc.com

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted! Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

How do I … (fill-in-the-blank)…?

How-To Books:

Like a lot of our customers, I try to figure things out for myself before I call in outside support and training. That is doubly true for learning new software and applications. If my friends can’t help, I type my request into Google. If that doesn’t work, I head to the bookstore. With that in mind, here are some books we recommend:

If you’re trying to learn Windows 10:

If you can’t figure out your Windows 8 machine:

If you need help learning how to navigate on your new Mac:

Microsoft Office

Open Office:

  • I’m trying to find a great book to recommend on using OpenOffice, a replacement for the (fairly expensive) Windows Office Suite. If there is a book that you love, please share the title with me and let me know why it’s so great!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area. Links to products may provide a small commission to Geek For Hire.

 

Windows 10 Update

Upgrading to Windows 10?

We continue to see machines that have upgraded to Windows 10 with serious problems.  And, I continue to get asked if machines should be upgraded.

Here’s the scoop:

  • If you have a Windows 7 machine, don’t upgrade unless you have a serious business need.
  • If you have a Windows 8 machine, you should be okay to upgrade, although you may still experience some issues
  • If you have a Windows XP or earlier machine, don’t (DO NOT!) upgrade.  Consider purchasing a new machine with Windows 8 or 10 already installed.

If you’re planning to upgrade do this first:

  • Back up your data.  Use an external Hard Drive if you have one, or upload to the Cloud
  • Make sure you have a list of all the programs and applications that you use.
  • Make sure you know what all of your passwords are, especially if you have asked your computer to remember them for you.
  • Make sure you know what your WiFi Router password is.

Tired of the Win10 “Nag” message?

I asked Chris how to get rid of the message that pops up frequently reminding you to UPGRADE NOW! WHILE IT’S STILL FREE!.  Here’s what he said:

  • “The only reliable method I’ve found so far to prevent a machine from presenting the “Get Windows 10 Upgrade” (GWX) nag message is to rename the GWX folder which contains the upgrade program.
    • See a small window icon in the tray, to the left of the clock in the task bar.
    • Go to the folder: “C:\Windows\System32” /and/ the “C:\Windows\SysWOW64”
    • Rename the “GWX” folder to something else – such as: “_GWX”, if it exists in either folder.  Note that you will see a popup titled “Folder Access Denied” and the message “You’ll need to provide administrator permission to rename this folder”.  Click on the “Continue” button to proceed with renaming the GWX folder.
    • Reboot your machine.
    • See that the small window icon is not present, and note that it does /not/ reappear”

If you have any questions about upgrading, give us a call

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.
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Windows 10 Advice – Revised

A few weeks ago, I asked Chris about Windows 10. Should I upgrade right away, or wait awhile?  What should I tell our customers and readers of the blog? His answer was basically:

“Unless you have a reason to stay with your current operating system (and especially if you have Win8), it should be fine to upgrade.”

Well, he’s changed his mind.

Windows 10 has been plagued with issues, especially for computers without the capacity to properly run it. So, if you have Windows XP, or Windows Vista machine without a modern processor and upgraded RAM, you should do those upgrades first, or consider a new machine with Windows 10 already installed.

Chris has also talked with other people that have upgraded with zero problems.  One guy said that the upgrade “breathed new life into his laptop”.  Chris added:

“Of course, it could just be that we’re only getting calls from folks who are having issues!”

Another huge issue with Windows 10 that is just starting to come to light, is the amount of information that Microsoft collects. The collected data isn’t just for targeted advertising  A recent article in Wired states:

“Of course, Microsoft’s privacy statement outlines all the data that is collected, and you agreed to this when you downloaded Windows 10 and checked the terms of service.

In this Age of the Unread Terms of Service Agreement, it’s important to, well, read the ToS. It’s too easy for our technologies to gather personal information without our realizing it. Microsoft is far from the only perpetrator…”

Of course, in order to actually use Windows 10, you do have to agree to the Terms of Service. Once the new Operating System is installed, you should change the privacy and tracking settings.

So Chris’ new advice is to wait until you have a real need before installing the Windows 10 Operating System. Windows 10 doesn’t really give you much more than Windows 7. You don’t really need to run right out and get it now.  If you’ve already upgraded to Windows 10, what was your experience?

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Windows 10 Upgrade

If you’ve got any version of Windows, from XP to Windows 8, you’ve likely seen the new little icon on the bottom of your screen. It looks something like this:

Get Windows 10The current information available is that this is a free upgrade offer from Microsoft It is available for a limited time.  After the free offer expires, the upgrade will cost around $200.  Microsoft is saying that the upgrade will be ready on July 29th.

I asked Chris why our customers should (or should not) upgrade to Windows 10.  Here’s what he said.

Reasons to get the Windows 10 upgrade:

  1. It’s a free way to get the next version of the Windows operating system.  My computer has Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, and I was presented with the choice to receive the new operating system as a free upgrade.
  2. This is the general direction of where Microsoft is going with the operating system, and you are probably better off with it than without it.
  3. There has been discussion about the Windows 10 user interface being more like Windows 7 than Windows 8. Since Windows 10 has not yet been released to the public, what it is is still an unknown.

Reasons not to get it:

  1. If you have applications which require Windows 7 or XP, or there is concern because those applications have not yet been tested to work with Windows 10.
  2. If you need to reinstall the operating system onto your hard drive or SSD in the future, you’ll have to install the previous version of the Operating System, but may not be able to receive the update to Windows 10 without paying for it.

The upgrade may not include an installation disk, which would allow a clean install of the Windows 10 operating system in the future.

More information about the upgrade can be found on Microsoft’s website. http://www.microsoft.com/EN-US/windows

Apple has been offering OS upgrades as digital downloads through their App Store for years, and no one is complaining.  The no-media upgrade process tends to work, even though it takes several hours to download (1-4H depending on the speed of your line to the Internet) and install (1-2H depending on the speed of your computer and the speed of your hard drive).

However, I think this will be the first Operating System upgrade that Microsoft is doing that is a digital download.  The Windows Operating System Upgrade is inherently more complex than the Apple Operating System Upgrade, because Windows runs on many more machines from different manufacturers (Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, HP,  etc., etc.,) than the Apple software does (which is exactly one: Mac’s).  The Apple environment is proprietary and “closed”, eg: you are licensed to only run the Apple Operating System on Apple hardware, where the Microsoft Operating System does not have this constraint.  Apple doesn’t charge for new versions of their Operating System, but Microsoft traditionally has.

Let us know if you have any questions about Windows 10!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.