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Solutions: Consider a RAM upgrade for Windows Vista

Q. My friend's computer has Windows Vista. It came with 512 MB of RAM, but I found out that Vista needs 1 GB to work properly. After I added 1 GB of RAM, it is running much better.

A. You are correct. Just 512 MB of RAM, or random access memory, is not close to being sufficient for Vista. One GB is considered "bare bones." In order for Vista's SuperFetch feature, which reduces applications' launch time, to be effective, you must have an abundance of RAM. Adding RAM is relatively easy and inexpensive. However, most PCs come with all their memory slots filled. To add more, you must replace the existing RAM with higher-value sticks. So it is important that when you buy a new PC it has sufficient RAM. My recommendation is 2 GB. There is also a quick fix for PCs. Vista has a interesting feature called Ready Boost. It allows you to add RAM through the use of flash memory, such as that on a USB flash drive or even an SD card. These are easy ways to add memory without opening your PC. Size and speed qualify a flash memory device to be used for Ready Boost — a minimum of 250 MB, plus 2.5 MB per second throughput for 4 K random reads and 1.75 MB per second for 512 K random writes. Most of these products won't have throughput ratings on the packaging, so you must ask and do research. When you insert the device, Vista will display the Ready Boost dialog and ask if you want to use the device to speed up your system. It will then test the device for acceptable throughput rates and if it passes, you're in business.

Q. I run Windows XP. Is there some way to password-protect certain files without password-protecting every file?

A. For Windows XP, try this: Create a new compressed folder (right-click on the Desktop or wherever you want to create it and choose New, then Compressed Folder). Add at least one file to the compressed folder. Double-click the compressed folder to open it. On the File menu, click Add a Password. In the Password box, type the password that you want to use and type the same password in the Confirm Password box. Then click OK. In Vista, it gets a little more complicated. You can modify the file/folders permissions (right-click, Properties, Security Tab) and specify who can access them or if you have Vista Business or Ultimate, you can use the Encrypt feature (Properties, then the Advanced button). To add to the "stealthness" I recommend making the containing folder or file(s) hidden (Properties, Attributes). You don't have to necessarily turn on "View hidden files/folders" then to view it. You can navigate to the folder containing the hidden folder and then in the title bar append the name of your secret folder and press Enter. It will then navigate to and open your hidden folder.

Q. Re: BCC e-mail (April 14 and April 21): If I put my address in the "To" field, I still get a copy of the e-mail! Why do I want a copy of the e-mail sent to me?

A. Because any address you put in the "To" field will be visible to all recipients in the CC and BCC fields. That was the whole point of the answer. You are required to put a valid address in the "To" field. For those readers who wrote to say they didn't have to put any address there, that is only because your e-mail client did it for you.

Send questions to personaltech@sptimes.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Consider a RAM upgrade for Windows Vista 04/27/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2008 4:37pm]
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