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What Is a Data Segment?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A data segment is a self-contained section on a computer hard drive or database that stores a cluster of information. Software applications refer to data segments in order to execute and function. Within each data segment is a line of code or information. It is a computer's way of organizing and storing saved information.

On a hard drive or database server, there will be a certain amount of space that is allocated to memory storage. Database memory blocks usually contain more than one data segment. In a memory block, each section will usually be divided into code and text segments. These sections might provide instructions for certain software applications or contain bits of information that applications need to access, such as customer telephone numbers and addresses.

In order for a software application to run properly it has to rely on programming instructions and short-term memory. Random access memory (RAM) is a type of data storage that computer programs use to refer to information that is only needed once, usually while the program is in operation. An example of this would be the cutting and pasting of text in a word processing program. When a user "cuts" text it is stored in a temporary data segment that is recalled when the user instructs the word processor to "paste" it in a new location.

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This type of action is considered to be the use of a short-term memory data segment since the information is erased when the word processing program is closed or if the user chooses to cut and copy another section of text. In contrast, long-term memory consists of data that is stored on a disk and accessed several times. While it is possible to erase some stored data, it usually consists of files or applications that the user no longer thinks he needs.

Data segments are typically organized in some sort of logical or sequential manner. They may be organized according to table clusters, groups, size or orientation. Users may be able to create their own indexing rules, depending upon the capabilities of the database server or operating system. For example, when software programs are installed on a computer they usually automatically create an index or segment in the computer's registry.

In most cases, software installers can instruct the computer where the program should be stored. It can be installed on the computer's desktop, in a program files folder or in a self-created folder. Regardless of where the user places the program, registry files are created as a permanent source of code instructions that are used each time the application is launched.

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