What Does Memory Mean?

In its most basic sense, memory refers to any information or data, often in binary format, that a machine or technology can recall and use. There are many different kinds of memory in conventional computers and other devices, and they differ based on the complex design of the hardware in which they’re stored.


As new devices continue to emerge to complement traditional desktop and laptop computers, the ways that devices use memory may become more complex. It’s critical for users and buyers to understand each type of memory, and how they are used, in order to make good buying decisions.

Techopedia Explains Memory

One critical distinction in the use of the term memory involves differentiating random access memory (RAM) from generic storage memory, which is what’s often measured in gigabytes on modern devices and is simply used to store data. RAM is a very different kind of memory, both in the way it is stored, and how it is used. Computers use RAM actively during a session, and when the device is reset, the RAM is cleared. By contrast, data in storage memory remains, and the computer accesses it through a hard drive.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse 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 explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…