Sometimes, it is difficult to sort out just where your computer get's its memory. Some think that the memory held inside a computer is all the same. In reality, your computer's memory is held in a vast number of formats with each format of memory responsible for a particular type of function necessary for the computer to respond as expected. If one type of memory is missing or inoperable, then the functions and commands that it holds will not work properly if at all. This can lead to a large hunt should you need to troubleshoot the rather inappropriate behavior of your computer.
When you turn on your computer, one of the memories that is accessed is BIOS. This is usually a flash based memory format that is responsible for some pretty big jobs. The main function of BIOS memory is to boot your computer. BIOS accesses system checks and makes sure that your computer is capable of powering up for a day of work or play. BIOS will halt a boot attempt if a disk-such as a floppy disk- has been left inside the hard drive because it will confuse the data checks and attempt to boot from the floppy disk. If this happens, removing the disk and reattempting the boot up will resolve the problem.
ROM (Read Only Memory) transfers data to RAM (Random Access Memory) for applications to run and perform as desired. This keeps the slower ROM from having to run the applications as RAM allows for changes in documents and games with changes being possible to store into ROM when the application is finished following a user's commands.
Inside each of these memories lie various forms that allow for more complicated features to be at a user's disposal. These include volatile and non-volatile formats. Volatile forms of memory are those that lose data if there is a power interruption or a run time error on the computer (computer crash). Memories that are volatile are located in the RAM family of formats. The more stable, non-volatile formats of memory are those in the ROM family. These memory formats don't lose data during periods of power interruptions.
Flash based memory operations occur in Video, BIOS, and USB Flash drives. These have finite rewrites and can become corrupt if the number of available rewrites has been reached by the device holding the flash based memory. Known as flash burn, this condition renders the flash device unusable as it becomes permanently corrupt.
Memory on your computer is held in a variety of places and in a variety of ways. From caches to buffers and ROM to RAM, the workings of your computer's brain are as diverse as your own brain. Some functions act as such as RAM, act as a short term memory base while others, like ROM, act as a long term memory base. Just as we "forget", computers can have memory lapses that create the loss of documentation and other data if certain factors are in place. Power failures as well as application failures contribute to this behavior in computers.
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