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Computer Memory Leaks

March 23rd Fact-of-the-Day

Computer programs request blocks of memory from a computer operating system such as Windows, Linux, or a Mac OS as needed to perform various operations. The operating system responds by exclusively allocating memory to requesting programs if free memory is available at the times of requests. Other programs are prohibited from using allocated memory to avoid conflicts between programs. Each requesting program is responsible to release memory it has been allocated when it is no longer needed and especially when program execution is stopped. Unfortunately, it is rather common for computer programmers to forget to release all allocated memory. Memory that isn't released can no longer be used, not even by a program it was allocated to if the program is restarted. Total available memory shrinks and the problem is called a 'memory leak.' Rebooting a computer restores access to all the memory, which is a primary reason why computers often run better after a reboot. ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.


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