Posted 29 November 2008 - 11:37 AM
Hi Caribeth, and welcome to BleepingComputer.
If your computer is running slow RAM could be an issue, but not in the sense of needing to free it up. The amount of RAM will make a difference in the speed of the computer, but there are other factors that come into play as well. There aren't any programs that I'm aware of that are going to speed up your computer significantly. There are programs that advertise that they will speed up you computer by cleaning the registry, the results of these are not significant, and if used improperly can render the computer useless.
With older computers there is only so much you can do to speed them up, the quickest way is to add more RAM. In you situation you definitely would benefit with more RAM. With the smaller hard drives that were installed on computers like yours it is important to defrag them on a regular basis. Another issue with these smaller hard drives is have an adequate amount of free space for swap space, the current rule of thumb on these hard drives is 15% free space. Insufficient free space on your hard drive coupled with a low amount of RAM can result in slowing the computer down dramatically. If you are using an application which is a heavy draw on the RAM the hard drive will try to help in the form of virtual memory, insufficient swap space will impede the virtual memory. If you don't have enough free space you can do a couple of things to free up more space, transfer files that you don't use often to CDs or DVDs, or add a second hard drive for storage. Transfer these files and then delete the original files from the hard drive.
Heat is can also cause a computer to slow down, if yours is a desktop you should open the case and clean it out at least once a year. Most of the cleaning can be accomplished by using canned air to blow it out. Where ever you see accumulated dust it will need to be cleaned, especially the heat sink and fan which is mounted on the large board which all of the other components plug into.
Caution: There are electronics inside the case that are very susceptible to electrostatic discharges. To protect your computer, touch the metal of the case to discharge yourself of any charges your body may have stored before touching any of the components inside. As a safety precaution you should unplug the computer to avoid electrical shock.
Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life. You never know when one will leave you.