Learn how virtual memory and page tables allow computers to run bigger programs and multiple programs at once by simulating more RAM than is actually available. Virtual memory uses storage to temporarily store portions of a program that are not currently in RAM, expanding the computer’s working space.
Virtual memory support is provided by memory management units (MMUs) in all modern CPUs. The MMUs provide “page tables” that translate between the virtual addresses used by the software and the actual addresses constantly shifting between RAM and storage.
It’s important to note that virtual memory and virtual machines are different concepts. Virtual memory is a feature found in every computer, while running software on virtual machines is a common practice in data centers.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does virtual memory work?
Virtual memory uses storage to temporarily keep parts of a program that are not currently in RAM. This allows the computer to run bigger programs and multiple programs at once, simulating more RAM than is physically available.
What are page tables?
Memory management units (MMUs) in modern CPUs provide page tables which translate between virtual addresses used by the software and the actual addresses shifting between RAM and storage.
Is virtual memory the same as a virtual machine?
No, they are different concepts. Every computer has virtual memory, but virtual machines are a common practice for running software in data centers.
Understanding virtual memory and page tables can help you have a better grasp of how your computer operates and how it can handle bigger and more diverse workloads.