Inact v. Free Memory

Charles Swiger cswiger at
Thu Apr 8 11:06:20 PDT 2004

On Apr 8, 2004, at 8:33 AM, Micah Bushouse wrote:
> My question is...  after I shut down all programs, ctrl alt backspace 
> X, and get back to a terminal, why does top still show all the memory 
> just freed by my desktop programs as inactive?

The system still has the contents of your old programs kept in memory, 
but marked as "inactive".  If you start running one of those programs 
again, the system will reuse pages of inactive memory where possible, 
rather than reading everything from disk again.


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