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Chapter 16. Managing Computer Memory > What Is Computer Memory?

What Is Computer Memory?

The type of memory called Random Access Memory (RAM) is essentially the available space on your computer that can be used to run programs. Windows can also use your hard drive space to create temporary memory called virtual memory that serves the same purpose as RAM. In addition to the program you are working in at the moment, your computer will try to keep recently used programs available in RAM memory so you can access them quickly as you work. Unlike the files stored permanently on your hard drive, when you turn your computer off, whatever was in RAM and virtual memory is lost.

Sometimes you can solve a temporary RAM memory issue by simply closing some programs on your computer if you have too many running at one time. However, if you have to do this all the time, you probably don't have enough RAM. In that case, you may find that your programs run slowly, or you may experience computer crashes on a regular basis. That's when it's time to upgrade.


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