What Is the Difference Between Volatile and Nonvolatile Memory?

Volatile memory requires electricity or some kind of current to store information, and nonvolatile memory does not. Most computers have both types of memory. Random access memory is an example of volatile memory, and read only memory is an example of nonvolatile memory.

With volatile memory, the current that runs through the computer is what helps hold the memory. With RAM, the operating system only uses this memory during operations. Once the

power is turned off, the RAM is wiped clear. Nonvolatile memory does not require any kind of power to hold information. This is why people use ROM and flash memory to store pictures, documents and other important information. Once the power of the computer is turned off, the important information still exists and is accessible later.

Volatile memory tends to run faster than nonvolatile memory. That is why computers use volatile memory for tasks that require fast response times and need memory for only small intervals of time. Nonvolatile memory tends to be slower because it has to write and record the data so that users can call on it again. Nonvolatile memory is also rewritable, which means that users have the ability to delete the information that is stored on it.