Spooling

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What Does Spooling Mean?

Spooling is a process in which data is temporarily held to be used and executed by a device, program or the system. Data is sent to and stored in memory or other volatile storage until the program or computer requests it for execution.

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“Spool” is technically an acronym for simultaneous peripheral operations online.

Techopedia Explains Spooling

Spooling works like a typical request queue or spool where data, instructions and processes from multiple sources are accumulated for execution later on. Generally, the spool is maintained on the computer’s physical memory, buffers or the I/O device-specific interrupts. The spool is processed in ascending order, working on the basis of a FIFO (first in, first out) algorithm.

The most common implementation of spooling can be found in typical input/output devices such as the keyboard, mouse and printer. For example, in printer spooling, the documents/files that are sent to the printer are first stored in the memory or printer spooler. Once the printer is ready, it fetches the data from that spool and prints it.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

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.