What Is Temporary Memory in a Computer?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 13, 2020 5:01:32 PM ET

Temporary memory in a computer refers to the volatile memory that is stored by a random access memory (RAM) chip. As the name ‘temporary’ suggests, the memory does not store data for long. When the computer is shut down before saving the data, the data will be lost. Therefore, users need to save data on the permanent storage devices regularly as they manage it to avoid loss.

The RAM stores data on a temporary integrated circuit used by the computer, software or user. Luckily, there are non-volatile memory devices that can still hold data even if the power supply is cut off. A good example is the Erasable Programmable Read Only (EPROM) chip. Some people are frequently confused when a computer gives an error message about insufficient memory. One thinks that he needs to delete files from the computer to create more space. However, this is not the best course of action. The right thing to do is to close running applications so as to free up the computer’s random access memory. The long-term remedy to the problem is having more memory installed in the computer. While temporary memory holds files being edited or accessed, the hard drives store files permanently. Temporary memory can be compared with typing an SMS on a mobile phone. When the phone shuts down, the unsent SMS is lost but the old messages are retained.