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Peter Forrest
Answered 2020-10-13 20:40:54

That is the role of the virtual memory manager, not the operating system. Computer systems have limited amounts of memory. For instance, a 32-bit system is only capable of addressing 2^32 (4,294,967,296) physical addresses. If each address is one byte (8 bits) in length, the system will be limited to a maximum of 4 GB of memory. This includes any peripheral memory such as graphic card memory.

Every process has its own address space. This memory is shared by all threads of execution. In addition, each thread has its own address space and call stack. However, all this memory is allocated from virtual memory. In order to make use of that memory, the VMM maps the virtual addresses used by the application to the physical addresses used by the machine, and handles the translation between the two.

When physical memory is required and there is none available, the VMM pages out idle memory to a disk file (known as a swap file or page file). Whenever a page fault occurs, this means the requested virtual address is currently paged out and must be paged back into physical memory. Thus the physical addresses may change between swaps while a task is executing, but the virtual addresses used by the application will never change. If paging is excessive, the system can become less responsive. Terminating all unused programs will alleviate this problem by reducing paging.

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