What is thrashing? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Operating systems glossary:

Thrashing is computer activity that makes little or no progress, usually because memory or other resources have become exhausted or too limited to perform needed operations. When this happens, a pattern typically develops in which a request is made of the operating system by a process or program, the operating system tries to find resources by taking them from some other process, which in turn makes new requests that can't be satisfied. In a virtual storage system (an operating system that manages its logical storage or memory in units called pages), thrashing is a condition in which excessive paging operations are taking place.

A system that is thrashing can be perceived as either a very slow system or one that has come to a halt.

This was last updated in April 2005
Contributor(s): Mic Grover
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • Get Windows 10 app

    - Get Windows 10 is an application that confirms if a computer is qualified to upgrade to Windows 10 for free and provides information on some of the key features in Microsoft's newest operating system. (SearchEnterpriseDesktop.com)

  • hardware virtualization

    - Hardware virtualization is the abstraction of computing resources from the software that uses those resources. Today, hardware virtualization is often called server virtualization or, simply, virtu... (SearchVMware.com)

  • wearables OS (wearables operating system)

    - A wearable OS is an operating system designed or refactored to satisfy the requirements of wearable computers, which can be significantly from one type of device to another and also different from ... (WhatIs.com)


  • Operating systems

    - Terms related to operating systems, including definitions about open source and proprietary operating systems and words and phrases about system programs, boot mechanisms, kernels, command interpre...

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.