I have a second computer that I acquired a while ago. It is an Acer running Windows XP and had 1gig of memory installed when it was originally purchased. It worked ok although the fan would get noisy every now and then sort of like a smokers breathing can get. I do have it networked to my HP through the FIOS router so I get fast internet and access to my new printer which is also networked. XP and Vista can be made to work together quite well.
I have been getting memory errors so I kept the idea of adding some memory in mind - just not too seriously because there seemed to be a problem due to the noisy fan.
I did check Amazon and found I could get another gig of memory and pay for it with gift cards I get for doing surveys. Free sounded like a good price so I ordered it. Took less than a week to be delivered with free (over $25) delivery.
Googled installation instructions that actually were pretty good. Very easy to follow too. Computer is very easy to open up and the instructions were very clear. Memory went right in.
Glanced at fan on processor and it looked sort of dusty. Decided to try the vacuum cleaner crevace tool. No luck. My vacuum is not a super strong type.
It is just one of those little muffin fans screwed to the top of the heat sink so I figured "Why not?" and took the screws out. Just like the good old days back at work.
All I could think was it was a couple years of cat hair that was plugging the fan. The dirt was just like a thick, woven piece of cloth. The poor little fan just was not up to blowing anything through that.
I put everything together and figured out how to connect all the wires to the outside and the thing actually worked. Recognized the memory automatically.
You would not believe how much quieter it runs now that the fan can do its job the right way. The computer is also radically faster now that it has sufficient memory. I could kick myself for not doing this a while ago.