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Will adding more RAM give my computer more free space?

Answer: Adding RAM is one of the best things you can do to improve your computer's performance. However, if you need more free space, instead of adding RAM, you may need to add another hard drive.

RAM increases the amount of memory in your computer. When your computer boots up, the operating system is loaded into the memory. Each time you open an application or file, it is loaded into the memory. When the computer shuts down, the memory, or RAM, is erased.

While adding more RAM can allow you to run more programs at one time, it will not increase the amount of space you have for installing new programs and downloading or saving files. To increase your disk space, you need a larger or additional hard drive.

If you ever get an error message saying you are low on disk space, you have three options.

  1. Delete unnecessary files.
    Search through your hard disk and try to locate old files that you don't need. Media files, such as videos, songs, and images, take up a lot of space, so getting rid of some of those may give you the extra space you need.

  2. Add an additional hard drive.
    If you don't want to delete any files, you will need to add more disk space. External hard drives, such as USB and Firewire drives, are easy to find and easy to hook up. If you have an extra internal hard drive bay, you can add another hard drive inside your computer.

  3. Upgrade your hard drive.
    This is the most difficult solution since you first need to backup your files to another hard drive. Then, once you replace the current hard drive with a larger capacity one, you will need to copy the files back to the new hard drive. While it is not an easy process, it may be the only solution for laptop owners.

In summary, the easiest way to add more disk space is to attach an external hard drive to your computer. And it is far better to have too much disk space than too little. Hard drives cannot work as efficiently when they get near capacity, so when your hard drive gets to be about 80% full, it may be time to add that external hard drive. They make great backup solutions too.

Published: June 20, 2007 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center