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Computers need to be sure that their memory is working fine before they start operating. When you first turn on a computer, it goes through a POST, or Power On Self Test of all of it's critical parts. It only takes a fraction of a second to check things like the CPU, disk drives and serial ports, but, there is a lot of memory and that takes quite a few seconds. For this reason, most computers have a message telling you that they are testing memory just so you won't think the computer is broken.

Some computers even do memory checks while they are running. Older computers always did this but, because newer memory is more reliable, newer computers don't bother to save a bit of time. This kind of memory check is called parity.

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Why do computers need a memory check?

Bobby, room 11, Mrs. Pottery

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