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| DearWebby is actually Helmut Morscher, the CEO of Webby, inc.
Originally the "Tech Support Pits" were reports of the funniest tech support incidents, but over the years the
column gradually shifted to answering tech support questions put forward by the readers of the Dear
Webby Humor Letter.
This collection of computer and web advice was started partly because readers demanded an archive, and partly
because some questions were asked again and again. Each page has a different day's Tech Support Pits column.
Tech Support Pits column from Dear Webby's Humor Letter of
06/08/05: Virtual versus physical memory
Tech Support Pits:
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Hi Webby, Trish from Oz here yet again.
Another question for you: What is the difference between
'virtual memory' and 'Available memory' on my computer.
I'm not a total idiot and understand that 'available means
available' but can you please explain the difference for me
and perhaps other "not so up to the moment computer users.
ps my computer tells me:
'total virtual memory' is:2.00 GB
'available virtual memory' is 1.96 GB
'total physical memory' is 256.00 MB
'available physical memory' is 41.76 MB
Does this mean that I have almost no memory left or what,
by or what should I start seriously deleting 'stuff'
Physical memory is what your RAM chips can hold.
Virtual memory is a corner of the hard drive reserved and
designated as fake RAM.
When the real RAM chips are getting full, (having little RAM
available for new stuff), then stuff that is not currently active,
like minimized windows, is snuck over to the fake RAM on
the hard drive, thus freeing some real RAM for the active
In your example, the corner of the hard drive, that is
fenced off and reserved for use as fake RAM, is 2 GB.
0.04 GB of that has stuff parked on it, and 1.96 GB is
empty parking spaces.
Your real RAM, on RAM chips, is 256 MB, mostly in use
except for 41,76 MB.
Clear as mud now ?
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