Disk thrashing

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Disk thrashing: In systems that use virtual memory, disk thrashing manifests as slow or stalled application performance at the same time as a lot of disk activity. Sometimes referred to as swapping pages, it's the result of a hard drive being used excessively for virtual memory because the physical RAM memory is full. Disk thrashing slows down the performance of a system because data has to be transferred back and forth from the hard drive to the physical memory. It's common in older PCs with limited amounts of RAM.
This was last published in August 2004

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