What Is Internal Memory?

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Many types of circuits comprise a computer’s internal memory, including RAM, ROM, EPROM, EEPROM and FLASH ROM. Distinct from disks used for data storage and often called hard memory, these types of memory function together to run a computer system. The most familiar is RAM, or Random Access Memory, which provides temporary storage for work that’s in-progress. Other types of memory are read-only.

Unlike hard drives, which are classed as storage, internal memory refers to circuits that give the computer specific kinds of rote commands. RAM allows the computer to find files on its hard drive, hold files open to be worked on and runs several programs simultaneously. RAM has no static content. ROM, or read-only memory, contains recursive instructions for the computer, including in what order the components boot up and which drivers are loaded into its memory.

The instructions held in ROM repeat over and over again by rote to keep the computer running smoothly and usually are written for specific components of the computer system. When the system requires updates, users might need special software and sometimes hardware to upgrade the system. With the development of newer and faster ROMs, RAM no longer handles as many recursive tasks and is more efficient.