QDoes "system resources" refer to RAM?

AThat may be the most popular Windows question of all time. The answer is no; system resources are not just random access memory (RAM for short).

The term refers to a few special, limited areas of memory that Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and Millennium Edition need to run (Windows 2000 and XP do not have that limit). Whether a computer has a lot of or a little RAM won't affect those memory allocations, which is why a PC with 64 megabytes of RAM can exhibit system-resource problems while one with half as much memory can be free of them.

What makes a difference is how you use the computer. In general, the more programs you have open, the more likely you are to run out of system resources. When system resources drop to less than 15 percent free (a number you can check with a variety of utilities), your PC is about to grind to a halt.

The best way to solve system-resource problems is to keep fewer programs active at one time.

What are TrueType fonts, and can I get rid of them?

TrueType fonts are the standard typefaces loaded on almost any new personal computer. The technology was developed by Apple in the 1980s as a way to display type in multiple sizes without using expensive software from Adobe Systems Inc. Microsoft also adopted the format. Today, TrueType fonts are essential to display just about any document you may receive.

Some TrueType fonts are safe to delete if you're running low on disk space, but you shouldn't do it haphazardly. See About.com's discussion of default fonts (graphicssoft.about.com/library/extra/bldefaultfonts.htm) for help on what you need to keep on your PC.

-- John Gilroy

John Gilroy of Item Inc. is heard on WAMU's "The Computer Guys" at 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Send your questions to him in care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or via e-mail to jgilroy@iteminc.com.