RAM (Random Access Memory) or internal memory is where data is manipulated and calculations are made. In the old days, memory was very expensive (on the order of $30.00 to $50.00 per Megabyte vs. about $20.00 per Gigabyte or 1,000 Megabytes today), so programmers had to cut corners and were forced to use memory sparingly. Memory is now very cheap, but the basic design of how computers use the memory hasn't changed; most of the processing is done in the "lower" memory places, and there are often a number of programs using these locations. We are now seeing the consequences of this in programs that accidentally use the same narrow lower memory space devoted to other programs. The computer gets confused and then stops what it's doing.

Some computer programs have millions of lines of commands that tell the CPU (the Central Processing Unit, which is generally a Pentium or Pentium-like chip) what to do and what calculations to make on the data and so forth. If there is an error in even one of those lines, then that part of the program may not work properly. Parts of the program or data will become jumbled in the lower memory locations (or even the upper memory locations) with parts of other programs and may cause the whole computer to just stop dead in its tracks.

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