Demand Paging in OS

Demand Paging in OS:- Consider how an executable program might be loaded from disk into memory. One option is to load the entire program in physical memory at program execution time. However, a problem with this approach is that we may not initially need the entire program in memory. Suppose a program starts with a list of available options from which the user is to select. Loading the entire program into memory results in loading the executable code for all options, regardless of whether an option is ultimately selected by the user or not. An alternative strategy is to load pages only as they are needed. This technique is known as demand paging and is commonly used in virtual memory systems. With demand-paged virtual memory, pages are only loaded when they are demanded during program execution; pages that are never accessed are thus never loaded into physical memory.

A demand-paging system is similar to a paging system with swapping where processes reside in secondary memory (usually a disk). When we want to execute a process, we swap it into memory. Rather than swapping the entire process into memory, however, we use a lazy swapper. A lazy swapper never swaps a page into memory unless that page will be needed. Since we are now viewing a process as a sequence of pages, rather than as one large contiguous address space, the use of the term swapper is technically incorrect. A swapper manipulates entire processes, whereas a pager is concerned with the individual pages of a process. We thus use a pager, rather than a swapper, in connection with demand paging. Here we provided Demand Paging in OS. Bankers Algorithm in OS


Demand Paging in OS


Basic Concepts

When a process is to be swapped in, the pager guesses which pages will be used before the process is swapped out again. Instead of swapping in a whole process, the pager brings only those pages into memory. Thus, it avoids reading into memory pages that will not be used anyway, decreasing the swap time and the amount of physical memory needed.

With this scheme, we need some form of hardware support to distinguish between the pages that are in memory and the pages that are on the disk The valid-invalid bit scheme can be used for this purpose. This time, however, when this bit is set to “valid,” the associated page is both legal and in memory. If the bit is set to “invalid,” the page either is not valid (that is, not in the logical address space of the process) or is valid but is currently on the disk. The page-table entry for a page that is brought into memory is set as usual, but the page-table entry for a page that is not currently in memory is either simply marked invalid or contains the address of the page on disk.

Notice that marking a page invalid will have no effect if the process never attempts to access that page. Hence, if we guess right and page in all and only those pages that are actually needed, the process will run exactly as though we had brought in all pages. While the process executes and accesses pages that are memory resident, execution proceeds normally.

But what happens if the process tries to access a page that was not brought into memory? Access to a page marked invalid causes a page fault. The paging hardware, in translating the address through the page table, will notice that the invalid bit is set, causing a trap to the operating system. This trap is the result of the operating system’s failure to bring the desired page into memory. The procedure for handling this page fault is straightforward:

1. We check an internal table (usually kept with the process control block) for this process to determine whether the reference was a valid or invalid memory access.

2. If the reference was invalid, we terminate the process. If it was valid, but we have not yet brought in that page, we now page it in.

3. We find a free frame (by taking one from the free-frame list, for example).

4. We schedule a disk operation to read the desired page into the newly allocated frame.

5 When the disk read is complete, we modify the internal table kept with the process and the page table to indicate that the page is now in memory.

6. We restart the instruction that was interrupted by the trap. The process can now access the page as though it had always been in memory.

in the extreme case, we can start executing a process with no pages in memory. When the operating system sets the instruction pointer to the first instruction of the process, which is on a non-memory-resident page, the process immediately faults for the page. After this page is brought into memory, the process continues to execute, faulting as necessary until every page that it needs is in memory. At that point, it can execute with no more faults. This scheme is pure demand paging: never bring a page into memory until it is required.

Theoretically, some programs could access several new pages of memory with each instruction execution (one page for the instruction and many for data), possibly causing multiple page faults per instruction. This situation would result in unacceptable system performance. Fortunately, analysis of running processes shows that this behaviour is exceedingly unlikely. Programs tend to have a locality of reference, which results in reasonable performance from demand paging.

The hardware to support demand paging is the same as the hardware for paging and swapping:

Page table. This table has the ability to mark an entry invalid through a valid-invalid bit or a special value of protection bits.

Secondary memory. This memory holds those pages that are not present in the main memory. The secondary memory is usually a high-speed disk. It is known as the swap device, and the section of disk used for this purpose is known as swap space.


A crucial requirement for demand paging is the ability to restart any instruction after a page fault. Because we save the state (registers, condition code, instruction counter) of the interrupted process when the page fault occurs, we must be able to restart the process in exactly the same place and state, except that the desired page is now in memory and is accessible. In most cases, this requirement is easy to meet. A page fault may occur at any memory reference. If the page fault occurs on the instruction fetch, we can restart by fetching the instruction again. If a page fault occurs while we are fetching an operand, we must fetch and decode the instruction again and then fetch the operand.

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