Browse Definitions:

memory map

A memory map is a massive table, in effect a database, that comprises complete information about how the memory is structured in a computer system. A memory map works something like a gigantic office organizer. In the map, each computer file has a unique memory address reserved especially for it, so that no other data can inadvertently overwrite or corrupt it.

In order for a computer to function properly, its OS (operating system) must always be able to access the right parts of its memory at the right times. When a computer first boots up (starts), the memory map tells the OS how much memory is available. As the computer runs, the memory map ensures that data is always written to, and read from, the proper places. The memory map also ensures that the computer's debuggers can resolve memory addresses to actual stored data.

If there were no memory map, or if an existing memory map got corrupted, the OS might (and probably would) write data to, and read data from, the wrong places. As a result, when data was read, it would not always pertain to the appropriate files or application programs. The problem would likely start out small and unnoticeable, worsen with time, and become apparent only after considerable damage had been done to stored data and programs. In the end, some or all of the applications would fail to run, and many critical data files would be ruined.


Continue reading about memory maps:

WiseGEEK describes how memory maps work.

Joe Forster portrays a complete memory map for the Commodore 64 computer.

This was last updated in April 2012

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.