ICT Terms and Meanings
RAM or ROM?
There are two basic types of computer memory, RAM and ROM. ROM stands for Read Only Memory and is hard coded onto the chip, you can't change the programing on it at all, its permanent. ROM contains the computers operating system or OS. The OS tells your computer how to write things on the screen, or listen to your keyboard. RAM means Random Access Memory. RAM can be changed. When you load a program from your hard drive into your computer, like Microsoft Word, or your Internet browser, you are putting the program into RAM. When you turn off your computer the RAM is erased, the ROM is not.
When someone tells you that a computer has 4GB of memory they are referring to RAM. Some computer programs, especially Windows, uses RAM to swap frequently loaded programs back and forth, it makes the computer seem to run faster. The amount of RAM you need depends on what you do with your computer. If you run heavy graphics based programs get lots of RAM, as much as you can get. If you only use your computer for word processing or to surf the Internet you will not need as much RAM.
A hard drive is nothing more than a magnetised storage area. Your Operating System is stored on your hard drive, as well as all your software programmes, like Microsoft Word. The hard drive is actually a few circular disks stacked one on top of the other. A little arm moves over the disks and writes things to these circular platters, and reads them. When you save a file or create a new folder, think of these circular platters being written to and you'll have a basic idea of just what your hard drive is.
A hard drive is given a letter of the alphabet for convenience sake, and in most computers this will be the letter C. That's why the hard drive is popularly know as the C Drive. There are other drives on your computer. These are the usual drives on modern Personal Computers: