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Uninstalling Games to Increase Disk Space

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By Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal

RISMEDIA, July 30, 2007—There’s no other major item most of us own that is as confusing, unpredictable and unreliable as our personal computers. Everybody has questions about them, and we aim to help.

Here are a few questions about computers I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

Q: I bought a Compaq Presario notebook that came with many games that I don’t use. Can I increase the available memory by deleting all of the games?

A: You can increase the disk storage space that’s available to you by deleting the games, which take up room on your hard disk. But that isn’t the same as increasing “available memory.” Memory is the capacity of the computer to manage data at any one moment, and it is governed by the random-access memory, or RAM, inside the machine. Unless any of the games, or some game-launching programs, are automatically loading into memory when your PC starts up, the games aren’t wasting memory, just disk space.

Getting rid of the games is still a good idea, but don’t try to do so by simply deleting them, as you would a file. You should do it by properly uninstalling them using the Windows uninstaller control panel, which is called “Add or Remove Programs” in Windows XP, and “Programs and Features” in Windows Vista.

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