Virtual Address

What Does Virtual Address Mean?

A virtual address in memory is a pointer or marker for a memory space that an operating system allows a process to use. The virtual address points to a location in primary storage that a process can use independently of other processes.


Techopedia Explains Virtual Address

In devices with memory management, a virtual address is different from a physical memory address. In such devices, the memory management unit (MMU) is responsible for memory management including the translation of virtual addresses into physical addresses.

With virtual addresses, the memory management system is able to allocate huge amounts of memory to individual processes. The system lets every process assume it has all available memory to itself, when, in fact, the operating system is juggling memory between processes as needed.

Virtual address is also used in the context of virtual systems. As with virtual memory addresses, newer systems replace physical memory drive destinations with virtual memory systems, where hardware is partitioned into different and more sophisticated types of storage.


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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…