[quote author=mazda3nut link=topic=104493.msg2118831#msg2118831 date=1204585643]
As I know very little about computers,I need a bit of advice. I'll start by saying that I have arather large amount of music on my computer. I have some concern that I am using up a lot of space on my hard drive, and it is slowing down the machine. I have been told that I should have sometning called a "memory stick" to store my music on.
My questions are as follows:
1) Is it true I am slowing down my computer by storing music on it (it sure seems like it ) ??
2) Will this memory stick help ??
3) Are they difficult to use ( remember,I know very little about these things ) ??
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.......thanks
Ok, before I start, a brief bit about me: I manage a series of data centers for a large corporation, so I know a bit about this stuff.
So, first off, a large amount of songs is only going to slow down your PC if: a) your hard drive has less than 10% available free space; or b) your hard drive has become heavily fragmented. To see how much free space is left on your hard drive, click on Start, select My Computer and then click (once) on the drive letter (C:, D:, whatever) that has all your music on it. Right-click on that drive and left click "Properties" in the menu. You will see a pie chart showing used space in blue and free space in purple (assuming you are using XP). If the pie chart shows 10% free or better, click on the Tools tab and click Defragment Now. This will sort the files and folders on your hard drive to optimize access time. Unfortunately, Microsoft's built in defragger kinda sux. If you want better defragmentation, I would recommend PerfectDisk 2008
from Raxco. They offer a free trial you can download.
OK, so much for the hard drive . . . onto the "memory stick" you reference. The person talking to you might be suggesting you need more RAM (memory). This is different from a flash drive; it is the high speed memory your PC uses to perform real time tasks. If you are using XP, I would recommend at least 1GB (gigabyte); 2GB for Vista. To see how much you have, click Start and then right-click on My Computer. Left click Properties in the menu. On the General tab under "Computer" it will show your processor type, speed and amount of RAM. Look for a number followed by "MB of RAM" or "GB of RAM". This is the amount of memory your machine has for real time processing. If it says 512MB or, heaven forfend, 256MB, I would HIGHLY recommend getting some extra RAM installed. This is something that even the Nerd Herd can do at Best Buy or Circuit City and is the best, easiest and cheapest thing you can do to speed up your PC. If it says 750MB or more (1,000 MB = 1GB) then you should be OK and the problem lies elsewhere.
If hard drive space, fragmentation and memory are all fine, then you likely have a virus, trojan or some type of malware installed. If you don't have a good Antivirus program installed, you will need one. Contrary to popular belief, Symantec is terrible. You are much better off with something like Trend Antivirus or Kaspersky (I use NOD32 because it is consistently rated best). Alternatively, you can try Avast
. There is a free version you can download from the web. Also, Kaspersky and Trend both offer free on-line virus scans for a quick ad hoc scan (http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
If your PC is free of viruses and malware, you may have too many legitimate programs that run on startup. If there are a LOT (more than 5) of tiny icons in the taksbar by your clock, you may have all kinds of things running. You can try uninstalling anything you don't need or right-click on the icons and shutting down programs. Also, I strongly recommend you do not run any file sharing programs like Bear Share, Limewire or Kazaa. The are nothing more than a virus gateway. Not worth the risk.
Oh, and as to the external hard drive: Great idea. A Western Digital or Maxtor USB drive can be your best friend if your internal hard drive dies. However, don't keep your files only on the external drive. Just use the included utility to backup your files to the external drive. That way you won't lose them.
Anyway, sorry for the long winded post, but I hope this helps some people.