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September 20, 2013

The Recycle Bin Doesn’t Affect RAM

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

0920-recycle bin Idiots abound. Apparently just about anyone these days can get a radio show and call themselves a “computer expert.” I love it when this happens, especially when these clowns dispense horrid advice.

Here is a question I received via email (emphasis mine):

In order to free up RAM (and thus keep the computer running fast), do we need to frequently empty the Recycle Bin (which is located on the Desktop)?

The reason I ask is that a local radio show host said such occupation of RAM is the “number one cause of slowing down computers”, and he said we should empty the Recycle Bin which can often be a large folder occupying RAM. I realize that emptying the Recycle bin will free up hard disc space, but he was referring to RAM, rather than hard disc space.

Where to start?

Part of the confusion may come from the term “memory” being applied to permanent storage.

I hate that.

In my experience, and to keep things straight, “memory” refers specifically to RAM, or short-term storage. Permanent or long-term storage is provided by various mass storage devices, such as the PC’s hard drive. This is the type of storage related to the Recycle Bin.

If radio bozo refers to permanent storage as memory, then he’s correct: Emptying the Recycle Bin frees up storage. It has nothing to do with RAM.

As far as how RAM relates to computer speed, one solution is to get more RAM, which is what I recommend in my books, specifically my Troubleshooting For Dummies titles. While you can free up RAM by halting unnecessary processes — especially spyware — the best solution is to simply pack more RAM onto the motherboard. The end result is a faster running computer.

But the Recycle Bin?

The Recycle Bin consists of files that you’ve deleted. They’re compressed, indexed, and stored on each mass storage device. Its presence doesn’t affect anything in the computer with regards to RAM or speed. The only time the Recycle Bin comes into play regarding PC performance is when the hard drive gets full. In that case, emptying the Recycle Bin could get you more storage — but even then, it’s only a temporary solution. What you really need is a larger hard drive, or a second hard drive.

So does emptying the Recycle Bin have anything to do with RAM? Of course not! If you ever hear some nitwit on the radio telling you otherwise, know that he’s wrong.

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