Dirty Bit

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What Does Dirty Bit Mean?

Dirty bit is a colloquial name for a specific bit in computer memory that traditional computing systems use to indicate a modification or write-to. Although there is not much information on the origin of this term, one could understand the concept of the dirty bit being a temporary place marker that will eventually be erased.

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A dirty bit is also known as a modified bit.

Techopedia Explains Dirty Bit

For certain kinds of modifications, a computing system adds a dirty bit in memory. Dirty bits can also be used as markers in memory for specific processes. After they have served their purpose in indicating something like a modification or marking unprocessed data, algorithms or other tools often remove the dirty bit from memory. In essence, the dirty bit is a temporary spot on computing memory to represent some function or condition.

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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.