Primary Memory

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What Does Primary Memory Mean?

Primary memory is computer memory that a processor or computer accesses first or directly. It allows a processor to access running execution applications and services that are temporarily stored in a specific memory location.

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Primary memory is also known as primary storage or main memory.

Techopedia Explains Primary Memory

Primary memory is a computer system’s volatile storage mechanism. It may be random access memory (RAM), cache memory or data buses, but is primarily associated with RAM.

As soon as a computer starts, primary memory loads all running applications, including the base operating system (OS), user interface and any user-installed and running software utility. A program/application that is opened in primary memory interacts with the system processor to perform all application-specific tasks.

Primary memory is considered faster than secondary memory.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.