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Virtual Memory and Windows Paging Concepts

Virtual Memory and Windows Paging Concepts

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Published by: Dhanasekaran Anbalagan on Apr 12, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A SMALL OVERVIEW OF SYSTEM VIRTUAL MEMORY AND WINDOWS PAGINGCONCEPTSComputer performs and completes its operations with help of memory. There are two types of memory available in the physical system. They are,· Random Access Memory (RAM ) – Main Memory· Virtual MemoryRandom Access Memory is the physical chip that is located in the hardware of the system that canact as a memory location. This is the part of Primary storage device of the system. The data cannot be permanently stored in chip. All data’s will be erased as soon the Physical system gets poweredoff. The memory can also be called as Main Memory.Virtual Memory is a stimulation of physical RAM and is stored in the secondary storage of thesystem. Hard disk will act as a secondary storage for the system. This technology helps to extendadditional memory capacity and work with RAM to load applications. The virtual memory willreduce the cost of expanding the capacity of physical RAM. The implementation of virtual memorywill diff for operating systems, but the basic concept is same.If an application opens it first load the data into the free address locations of the RAM (physicalmemory) and the processor communicates with the RAM to fetch the data for the furthe processing. As RAM is a physical memory location, the speed for the communication, storagefunction and its process are very fast compared to the virtual memory. The virtual memory workswith the help of secondary storage device and its speed is low compared to the physical storagelocation (RAM).Consider a scenario that a system is not configured with virtual memory and is only using the physical memory to complete its works. Such a configuration cannot handle multitasking or multiprocessors. If we open one application it will be loading into the available free space of theRAM and hence there will be no space available to load the second application. The secondapplication needs to wait until the first applications to be closed free up the RAM space. Byimplementing additional RAM for the system will create room for the second application to occupythe RAM space, but is required additional cost. There will also be a limitation to install the physicalRAM on the physical system.To overcome the situation scientists developed the virtual memory method, where the less or notfrequently used data from the RAM will be moved to the Hard disk virtual memory location andthus free space in RAM for the processing of the new data. If an application requires a data that isstored in the virtual memory, it is then transferred back to the RAM for the process. Paging is animportant part of the virtual memory implementation that in most contemporary general-purposeoperating systems, allowing them to use disk storage for data that does not fit into physical random-access memory (RAM).An adequate amount Memory is needed for the smooth and reliable functioning of the Operatingsystem. The RAM and virtual memory is added together to give the total memory size for thesystem. The applications that are requires heavy memory module for their functioning only see thetotal allocated memory size of the system.The movement of data from RAM to virtual memory and vice versa is called ad thrashing. The data
follow is taken care automatically by the operating system without manual intervention. Thistransfer of data will create slowness in the performance of the operating system. We can analysis thedata transfer from the continuous blinking of Hard disk LED or we can understand it from the noisefrom the Hard disk head movement through the platter.In Windows, virtual memory uses
file to process its operations. By default the Pagefileis located in the root directory of the operating system. We can tweak the performance of the pagefile using the Windows Advanced virtual memory setup. This can be access from,My Computer -> Properties -> Advanced -> Settings -> Performance Options -> Advanced ->ChangeSystem ManagedWindows default configuration for the paging file size is to automatically expand its size, but it willconsume more hard disk space in case if the application crashes, more utilization of virtual memoryor due to memory leaks. This functionality also causes heavy fragmentation of the data that iswritten in the paging file, as it expands without limit. The result will be slowness in the
 performance of the operating system.These settings also have an advantage that, the operating system can automatically increase the paging file when required without the interaction of the Administrators. This helps to reduceslowness of the system in time of heavy usages.

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