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Memory

Computer memory is often very confusing to new computer users, because it implies that the computer will remember your data automatically. However, if you create a document with a word processor but don't save it and then turn off your computer, that document will be lost. Unfortunately most computer users learn this lesson the hard way. Long-term storage of data is handled by the disk drives and hard disk drive, not by the computer's memory.

Your computer's memory is that area where programs and data are temporarily copied from a diskette or hard disk drive so that you can use them. Moving programs and data into memory is called loading or, on some systems, opening. It is just like taking a document out of a file cabinet and putting it on your desk. Unlike this analogy, however, when a computer loads a program or a document into memory, it only takes a copy—leaving the original intact on the disk. You can modify the original by saving your latest work with the same name as the original, or you can retain the original and keep a new version by saving the new version with a slightly different name.


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