RAM is short for Random Access Memory, a physical piece of hardware inside your computer system. Most systems will have 1 or 2 RAM cards present and is often measured in MB or GB.
When you launch programs they are first loaded from the Hard Drive and then sent to the RAM, they are then executed by the processor. If the computer has lots of RAM installed, multiple programs can be open simultaneously without experiencing slowdowns.
When your computer is switched off, the RAM is erased as it requires power to store the memory that is present. This is why when your computer reboots it takes a little longer to load your programs as they are loaded into the RAM one by one.
As a general rule a PC running Windows XP/2000 should have at least 2GB RAM to operate correctly. A PC running Vista / Windows 7,8 or 10 should have at least 4GB RAM.
A PC that does not have enough RAM will experience sluggishness, slowdowns and will also shorten Hard Drive lifespan.
To check if you have enough memory on your system please download the RAM Monitor tool below.