What is Memory and Storage Space?

When it comes to memory and storage space, we find that many users think these two are the same thing or are unsure which is which. Here we hope this will clarify the difference between to two.

Memory (Measured in Megabytes or Gigabytes)

Memory refers to a physical board or chips inside your PC that allows the computer to work with data and move it around. Memory can come in a large array of sizes and speeds, which in turn affects the speed of your PC.

Think of a desk and a filing cabinet next to it. The desk represents the memory inside your computer. Items (or data) that is needed at the present time are kept on the desk so the computer can access them. The larger the desk (or memory), the more efficiently the computer can work with that data.

Storage (Measured in Gigabytes or Terrabytes)

Storage is where data that the computer isn’t currently using is stored, so can be compared to a filing cabinet. Storage typically takes the form of a mechanical hard drive or in more modern computers a solid state drive. This is where the operating system (eg Windows), applications, personal documents, photos etc are stored. Unlike memory, the computer cannot access data stored in the filing cabinet until it takes it out and places it on the desk. The amount of storage in the filing cabinet (storage) far exceeds that of the desk (memory).

One other important difference between memory and storage is that once the computer is turned off, everything on the desk is erased or thrown away, whereas anything stored in the filing cabinet is kept, ready for the next time.