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Upgrading Your Hardware

No matter how high the performance of your computer, sooner or later it will start to slow down as newer programs demanding faster and faster hardware show up on your desktop. And, chances are you'll run out of performance before you or your company is ready to pop for a replacement computer. This chapter will help you make the hardware changes—large or small—you need to get the most work and useful life out of your computer. We'll discuss how to upgrade and install hardware, how to add a second monitor, how to connect new and old hard drives, and how to add memory.

The single most helpful thing you can do to make your Windows XP computer run at peak speed is give it enough system memory (or RAM, short for Random Access Memory). Just as a reminder, there are two types of memory in your computer: hard disk space and RAM. RAM is used to hold Windows and the programs you're actually using, and Windows XP wants lots more than any previous version of Windows. As we discussed in the early chapters of this book, XP can run with as little as 64MB of RAM, but it will run very slowly and you'll find the experience unpleasant. Memory is very inexpensive these days, and boosting your RAM up to at least 256MB will make a huge difference. I'll discuss adding RAM later in this chapter.


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