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Engineering LibreTexts

12.2: Free Memory Pool

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  • In a given computer, memory is used by the operating system as well as by any running applications. Any memory left over is considered to be part of the “free memory pool”. This pool is not necessarily contiguous. It may be broken up into several different sized chunks. It all depends on the applications being run and how the operating system deals with them. The total amount of free memory and the locations of the various chunks will change over time. C offers ways of “asking” the operating system for a block of memory from the free pool. If the operating system can grant your request, you will have access to the memory and can use it as you see fit. When you are through using the memory, you tell the operating system that you are done with it so that it can reuse it elsewhere. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is!

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