Computing Myths

Back in the day when I used to repair PC’s I used to hear some fantastically misinformed facts regarding PC’s and thought that when I retired from that industry and switched to selling consumables that these days would be over.Unfortunately, I then invited my good friends at Switch Computer Support to share our building and now I simply hear these myths from their customers rather than mine.

I have heard a great number of these myths in my time so I’m afraid that debunking them will involve a two part article which will continue next week.

Turning off your PC daily to save power shortens its life.

This is possibly the most popular myth floating around and, as such, it’s the one that makes me most irate.The logic behind the argument is that if you turn your PC on and off again on a regular basis that the constant cooling and heating of the components puts them under undue stress and hence shortens their operational life.Whilst this is true to a limited extent, and although this figure is extremely imprecise, a typical modern PC should be able to handle several tens of thousands of on/off cycles.This means theoretically you could turn your PC on and off half a dozen times a day and it would last close to two decades before someone could blame the damage on your power cycling.

Think of all the money that would have been saved on power over that twenty year period and let’s face it, would you really be bothered if the price you had to pay for turning your machine off was that you might have to get it repaired half way through the 2020’s?

You need to drain your laptop battery completely in order to achieve the maximum charge.

This is quite a common misconception that also fools many mobile phone users.I used to know someone who spent approximately half of their life with a flat battery on their mobile as they insisted on fully exhausting it every time topreserve the battery life.Historically, the belief is sound as many older style laptop and mobile phone batteries including the nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride varieties did suffer from a battery ‘memory’ which meant unless they were periodically discharged your battery life would start to suffer.Fortunately, the more modern lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries don’t suffer this memory effect so, please, recharge whenever it is necessary.

Memory confusion

An extremely common misconception is that there is only one major form of memory in a typical computer simply referred to as ‘the memory’ by those in the IT industry.Whilst I concede the fact that this would indeed be quite convenient, I’m afraid I have to confirm that there are in fact many different types of memory.

Fortunately, for all intensive purposes, we only have to worry about two; the RAM (Random Access Memory) and the hard drive.RAM is the relatively small amount of high speed memory the computer uses as a temporary storage whilst it is working – think of it as a working area used for loading, displaying and manipulating applications and data whilst the computer is turned on.When the computer is turned off the data in this memory is lost so typically it will be stored on the hard disk which is a much higher capacity albeit much slower device.

When you next proclaim that your computer needs more memory it is imperative that you are sure of which you need to avoid looking the fool.If your machine is running slow due to a lack of memory then it is most likely the RAM that is being referred to.If you need more space on your computer to store MP3’s then it’s likely that it is the hard drive that needs to be replaced with a larger unit.


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.