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Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:02 PM

Hard drive advice for a dummy?

Last year when my Dell laptop failed, I bought an HP laptop because it was inexpensive and all I could afford right then. The model is "Stream". It began to run out of memory very fast even though I tried to dump all useless pre-loaded crap and try to always store files on a thumb drive. It drops me out of my browser often. Pages load fast, but available space is almost nil. I have not added any programs, so that's not the trouble. It just came with very little memory.

I know very little about external hard drives. Would adding one here help me out?

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 02:14 PM

1. How big (or small?) is the local hard drive?

How many GB's?

Adding an external drive certainly helps as long as you make it a habit to move files off the local drive to the external, but you're unlikely to carry around the external.

I'd be inclined to say the money's better spent on increasing the size of the local drive. It's not that hard, and there are free programs, that will allow you to 'image' your current drive, then move it's contents to a new, larger local drive. And you can swap the drive yourself in the case of most laptops, it's just like 12 screws on the back of the lappie, maybe one or two holding the old drive in place, slide it out, put the bigger/newer one in, and then put it back together. Then the same program that did the backup can be used to 'restore' the saved 'image' of your old drive ... to the new drive.

You do need some kind of external drive though to (temporarily) hold the contents of the backup of your current system (so it can be transferred to a new drive), however backups can be compressed and thus the drive used for this purpose won't necessarily need as much capacity as your current local drive, potentially MUCH less. Depends on the nature of the files you're backing up and whether they're inherently compressed such as JPG and MP3, which won't shrink any more when backing up.

BTW, 'memory' is decidedly different from 'storage space' ... 'memory' is basically temporary, extremely fast storage, and it's something your computer is using/swapping data in and out of ... every second you're on the computer, and is erased every time you power off.

Running out of memory has a decidedly different effect (and solution) vs. running out of storage space

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:02 PM

2. 4.00 GB installed RAM

I don't carry the laptop around. It's always on my desk.

What you recommend sounds above my pay grade, but I might be able to get some help for the installation.

But what would I be shopping for in a "new larger local drive"?

And what is it that I need for the temporary external drive?

I knew this machine had low GB from the reviews, and likely should have invested a bit more, but......

Thanks for your advice!

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Response to Grasswire2 (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:19 PM

3. Your laptop only comes with 32gb of "hard disc" space

which is really low in this day and age. The operating system alone will eat up nearly half of that.

You will want to buy an external USB hard drive, preferably 3.0 but 2.0 will work (you have two USB 3.0 ports and one 2.0 ports) and preferably 1tb or larger. You’ll plug the external HD into one of the USB ports and then keep ALL of your data on that disc. Direct all your internet downloads to a folder on that disc, all your music, photos, everything but computer programs will go on the new external.

Hope that helps.

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Response to ZZenith (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:24 PM

6. WAAAAH? A 32GB HD? I find that hard to believe ...

That seems way too low for a machine with 4GB of RAM. Where did you get that number from?

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:28 PM

7. From Laptop magazine's review of the thing

https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/hp-stream-14

They were underwhelmed by its performance, as you might imagine.

I can burn through 32gb in an evening.

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Response to ZZenith (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:45 PM

8. Gahhh ... this is bad news for our friend Grasswire ...

The article doesn't state whether the 'flash drive' based hard drive can be upgraded to larger capacity, but it seems like probably not. Likewise, the 4GB of RAM is quite possibly not expandable either. Then again, we don't know if the problems GW2 is having are memory-based, or storage-based, nor whether either can be internally upgraded, so ...

No matter what, though, an external drive of some kind is one upgrade that would be available ... but honestly, with a 32GB internal 'harddrive' ... esp. if that cannot be upgraded to a larger model ... this PC is almost hopelessly out of date, even just 2 years later. I feel like the money one spent on an external could likely be better used by saving to invest on a new lappie.

GW2 you might be better off trying to find a cheap laptop at Goodwill, a machine with at least a 512MB hard drive and 6GB of RAM. Then get someone to help you move your current install to the newer machine.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:51 PM

9. That would be my humble advice to Grasswire2

Externals are so inexpensive these days and switching over to a new computer can be a pain in the ass, but I would ditch the Stream.

A Western Digital 1tb external is $55, so it’s kind of a “fight or flight” scenario.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:20 PM

4. Ah ... so you're maybe actually talking about the Memory (aka RAM), not the storage space here ...

When you said you removed the bloatware (the extra crap that comes on laptops) I assumed you were doing so to clear up hard drive storage space. Also, you referred to hard drive space in the title, and made numerous other references to things that would be related to storage space aka your 'hard drive'.

You see, 'Memory' and 'Hard Drive' are two very different things. Memory is used temporarily (that's the 4GB number you refer to) and cleared every time you reboot ... whereas your hard drive is your 'storage', which is 'permanent' and it's size would be much larger than that (do you know how to check the capacity, and % usage of your C: drive?)

What is your OS? Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1 or 10?

I need to know more about what 'actual problems' you're having. "drops me out of my browser often" is much too vague.

To be clear, having 'not enough RAM' vs 'not enough storage space' ... these have very different manifestations, and solutions. They're two entirely different things.

4GB of ram is workable for casual use on windows XP and 7, but definitely pushing it for >=Windows 8. However, mostly what your OP discussed was things related to storage i.e. hard drive space, so which of these two possibilities is actually the problem ... is the first order of business.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 07:56 PM

12. windows 10

Maybe that's the problem. Windows 10 on a lightweight machine.

Another problem I have (separate) is that my HP all in one printer is not working with this laptop. I have to scan to a memory card and then move the card to the laptop slot. I have read that this is due to Windows 10.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 03:22 PM

5. And I don't think you can swap the internal hard drive on a Stream.

One of the ways they kept the cost down was by using really small flash drives instead of the typical hard disc platters.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 04:02 PM

10. Your hard drivs capacity and your installed memory are seperate issues.


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Response to CentralMass (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 11, 2019, 04:07 PM

11. All in all, though - still better than keyboard issues!

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 13, 2019, 01:51 PM

13. You can get a 256 gb Samsung EVO SD card for 40 bucks

or a 128 gb card for 20 bucks:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072HRDM55/ref=twister_B071R715MZ?_encoding=UTF8&th=1

What you get is a micro-SD with an adapter that fits in your PC to expand your storage. You can't boot from it but you can direct Windows to store everything there. You can also swap it out when it's full.

And in a year or so you'll probably be able to get a 1 TB card for the same price

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2019, 07:20 PM

14. 0. Hard drive advice for a dummy?

You do need some kind of external drive though to (temporarily) hold the contents of the backup of your current system (so it can be transferred to a new drive), however backups can be compressed and thus the drive used for this purpose won't necessarily need as much capacity as your current local drive, potentially MUCH less. Depends on the nature of the files you're backing up and whether they're inherently compressed such as JPG and MP3, which won't shrink any more when backing up.

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