How to Improve the Memory on a Windows Netbook

Netbooks are an awesome, low-cost alternative to laptops, but they don’t have a ton of power. They’re small and inexpensive, and they usually come with very limited specs.

You can upgrade the memory of your Windows Netbook, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you buy an extra stick of RAM.

Minimizing Memory Draw. Before we discuss RAM and other stuff, let’s make sure that you aren’t running too many programs. There might be a few programs running on your netbook that are bogging it down.

To see a list of the processes running on your computer, you can hit Ctrl + Shift + Esc, which will bring up the task manager (that’s a handy shortcut to remember, by the way). You can organize this list by memory usage to see what’s drawing the most memory. Don’t close anything that you don’t recognize, but if you see a program that’s sucking up a ton of juice, close it down to give your computer more memory to work with.

You should also make sure that you don’t have too many web browser windows or tabs open at the same time, as this will use up your computer’s memory. Try to use your netbook for one or two things at a time. Keep the multitasking to a minimum and you shouldn’t have huge speed issues.

RAM and OS. The classic way to get more from a computer is to increase its random access memory or RAM. The computer uses RAM as a sort of short-term memory to do just about everything, as it constantly writes and reads info, so some extra RAM certainly comes in handy. You can easily add RAM by opening a small compartment on the bottom of your netbook and sliding in a new stick of RAM. Check your computer’s documentation for clear instructions.

However, increasing the RAM on your netbook won’t necessarily make it faster. First of all, if you’re using an underpowered netbook with a really minimal processor, adding a gig of RAM won’t do much for you. Even if you’ve got a pretty capable machine, your operating system might limit the amount of RAM that your computer can use.

This is mainly a problem with Windows 7 Starter, which ships with many netbooks. Windows 7 Starter limits netbooks to 2GB of physical memory. To get around this limitation, you’ll either have to update your computer to a higher version of Windows 7 or install a completely new OS.

Upgrades are costly. However, if you’re tied to Windows 7, the next highest version of the OS is Windows 7 Home Basic, which allows for 4GB of physical memory. Alternately, you can install a free Linux distribution, but if you’re a casual computer user, the installation process is going to be confusing for you, mainly due to the fact that most netbooks don’t have CD drives. If you’re up for the challenge, get a large flash drive and download your favorite Linux distribution to start getting more power out of your netbook.

If you upgrade your netbook’s RAM and operating system but you’re still noticing speed problems, you might have an issue with your hard drive. If this is the case, you’ll need to get it to a professional or replace it.

Have any tips for upgrading the memory on a Windows netbook? Post below.

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