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10 Reasons Computers Crash - 10 Reasons Computers Crash
Sat Jul 07, 2001 | 9:31P| PermaLink
usually an indication of an access violation - be it a problem with a VXD (system driver) or a program. A computer program maintains anywhere from small amounts of data, like numbers, to large amounts of data, like the binary color information that defines a texture. When a computer program stores a chunk of information in memory, it usually needs other memory to keep track of where the information is. Contained in this memory (often the stack) are pointers. A pointer is simply a numeric address of where information might be stored. Have you ever wondered what the terms "16-bit", "32-bit", or "64-bit" mean, in relation to an OS? Try a bit of simple math. Each "bit" can be zero or one, but for our purposes, we'll say "2" possible values. So if 1 bit has two possible values, 2 bits would have four (2 times 2 is 4). 8 bits, or a byte, can hold 256 possible values (2 times 2 times 2 times 2 times 2 times 2 times 2). We can simplify this process by using an exponent - 2^8 is 256. Thus, 16 bits can hold 65536 values (64 KB), 32 bits can hold 4294967296 values (4 gigabytes), and 64 bits can hold 18446744073709551616 values (1719869184 gigabytes!). Without going into too much detail, a 32-bit OS has 32-bit pointers which can address up to 4 gigabytes of memory. (Note: This is not the whole story. DOS, a 16-bit OS, could address 640KB through a trick with segments, whose drawback was it slowed down the system. Other OS's also tend to divide the address space so they might not be able to take full advantage of the memory)

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