What Is Virtual Memory? Explained in Simple Terms

In this post, you'll learn:

Nowadays everyone uses a computer, and the memory that is there in the computer is RAM and ROM. Apart from these two memories, there is another memory that is needed in the computer as much as RAM and ROM. The name of this memory is virtual memory. So, let's now know what is virtual memory.

What is virtual memory?

To do multiprocessing work in computers, it is very important to have RAM in them. Multiprocessing means opening multiple programs or applications at the same time, including using a web browser, Microsoft Word, Excel, Photoshop, etc.

To run various programs and applications on any computer, only the RAM in the computer performs that task. Every time we open different applications in our system, the RAM space gets filled up to run these applications, and sometimes there is a situation that by running these applications the RAM space is completely filled. After filling it, if any software or application does not run on the computer, then the computer uses virtual memory.

Virtual memory is used for alternative functions of RAM in the computer by taking the space of the computer's hard disk. That's, virtual memory provides a separate RAM to the computer, which is completely different from physical RAM, because physical RAM is glued to the computer system, which is hardware and virtual memory is software, so this is the work of virtual memory. If there is less RAM space in the computer system then that shortfall can be filled by using virtual memory in the computer.

The size of RAM is limited in every computer system, when we open more than one application or file in the computer, then the space of RAM gets filled, due to which the speed of the system slows down, at that time the virtual memory of the data of the hard disk of the RAM. It sends it to the space of RAM, which starts to become empty, and then it is able to perform the task of the computer in a better way.

How does virtual memory work?

Whenever the RAM space in the computer starts getting full, then the operating system of the computer checks those applications and files which we keep open in our system and whatever file or application is minimized in the system i.e. on which the user is working at that time. But it remains open below, then the computer transfers all of them to virtual memory in RAM with the help of a paging file.

When data is transferred from physical memory to virtual memory, the operating system divides those applications' programs into page files and also associates a certain number of addresses with each page file, so the computer can move the data. It looks for areas of RAM that have not been used recently and copies them to the virtual memory of the hard disk.

Every page file gets collected by going to the hard disk, this frees up our RAM space, and the application on which the user is working, runs smoothly, as well as new applications run smoothly. So when we open the applications that we have minimized, the file that was transferred to the virtual memory of the hard disk, the operating system copies the address of that file back from the disk and sends it back to RAM so that we can access that program or you can easily work on the application.

The operating system does not load files from the hard disk into RAM until they are needed, this process increases the size of the RAM in the computer, which can get rid of the problem of low RAM while running more than one program on the computer.

Virtual memory is not the physical memory of the computer, rather it is a technology that allows the execution of large programs that cannot be fully stored in the primary memory i.e. RAM. Virtual memory is a part of the operating system itself that helps to complete the work of RAM and all those applications which you were not able to access earlier, you will be able to do them easily through this memory.

Benefits of virtual memory

Virtual memory was created at a time when RAM used to be very expensive and the computer's memory would fill up due to the limited RAM in the computer, especially we used to run many programs at the same time.

With virtual memory, we can almost double the RAM of our computer, which increases the speed of the computer more than before and its biggest advantage is that programmers can write large programs to create applications because virtual memory is much bigger than physical memory. So now you will be able to run large-size programs on your computer easily, because of this virtual memory is best for people who don't want to upgrade their computer system and don't want to buy a bigger size of RAM but want to work fast on the computer.

The system can be used without any interruption by opening more than one application at a time in the system. Virtual memory is used to increase the capacity of RAM for the user and can be used in all major operating systems.

Umesh Chaudhary

I'm a tech-savvy, web developer, and tech blogger. I love sharing thoughts on technology, gadgets, and trending things.

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