What is Virtual Memory?


Techno Odisha

Virtual memory is a memory management technique. This secondary memory can be used as a part of the main memory. It is used a computer’s operating system (OS). To compensate for physical memory shortages, temporarily transferring data from random access memory to disk storage virtual memory uses two things i.e., both hardware and software. 


• Virtual memo is vital for multitasking and improving system performance. 

• Virtual memory comes into use when 8GB ram is not enough to run several programs at a time. 

• Virtual memory, a system can load larger programs running at the same time, enabling each one to operate as if it has more space. 

What do you mean by thrashing? If the OS has to exchange data between virtual memory and access memory frequently, the computer will begin to slow down is known as thrashing. 

When did virtual memory develop? Virtual memory is developed when physical memory (also known as RAM) was developed. The first appearance of the real instance of a virtual memory system came from the University of Manchester in Manchester England. In 1961, the first commercial computer with virtual memory was released by Burroughs Corp. In 1969, IBM researchers demonstrated that virtual memory overlay systems worked better than the earlier manual systems. 

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• For operating virtual memory uses both hardware and software. 

• MMU (memory management unit) maps the address to RAM and translates addresses. 

• Data can be exchanged out of RAM into virtual memory when the RAM space is needed for something more urgent. 

• The OS divides memory with a fixed number of addresses into page files while copying virtual memory into physical memory. 

• The process of swapping virtual memory into physical is slow, therefore using virtual memory generally causes a noticeable reduction in performance.

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Managing virtual memory is different from OS. When it comes to managing physical memory, virtual memory, and virtual addresses IT professionals should understand it. Ram cells have the least number of writes, so using them for virtual memory often reduces the life span of the drive. 

Managing virtual memory within an OS can be straightforward, as there are default settings that determine the amount of hard drive space to allocate. 

When it is important to manually reset the amount of hard drive space allocated to virtual memos these settings will work for most applications and processes. 

When virtual memory is manually reset, the minimum and maximum amount of hard drive space to be used for virtual memory must be satisfied. 

Allocating too little (HDD) hard disk drives space for virtual memory can result in a computer running out of RAM. 


The advantages are:

 I. When only a part of a program is required for execution, it has increased its speed. 

II. CPU is used for managing logical partition work. 

III. Data is moved automatically. 

IV. Virtual memory handles double as many addresses as main memory. 

V. It enables many larger multiple applications to run simultaneously. 

VI. It helps to enable more applications to be used at once. 

VII. Allocating memory is relatively less expensive. Not only this, virtual memory is used in a virtualized computing environment, administrators can use virtual memory management methods to allocate additional memory to a virtual machine it has run out of resources. 


The disadvantages are: 

1) Due to virtual memory, the amount of available hard drive space is reduced. 

2)It makes the application run slower. 

3)Thrashing can occur if there is not enough RAM, which slows down the computer.

4) By using virtual memory, it takes time to switch between applications. 


Speed is the commonly made distinction when we talk about virtual and physical memory. The differences are listed below: 

Virtual RAM                                                                                      

1) Virtual RAM is Limited by the size of the physical 

2) Does not have direct access to CPU  

3) Slow worker

Physical Memory

1) Physical memory is limited to the size of the RAM chip

2) Can directly access to CPU 

3) Fast worker

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