Housekeeping (computing)
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In
computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task. Programming involves tasks such as analysis, generating algorithms, Profilin ...
, housekeeping can refer to either a standard entry or exit routine appended to a user-written block of code (such as a
subroutine In computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task. Programming involves tasks such as analysis, gener ...
or
function Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key, a type of key on computer keyboards * Function model, a structured representation of processes in a system * Function object or functor or functionoid, a concept of object-oriente ...
, sometimes known as a function prologue and epilogue) at its entry and exit or, alternatively, to any other automated or manual software process whereby a computer is ''cleaned up'' after usage (e.g. freeing resources such as
virtual memory In computing, virtual memory, or virtual storage is a Memory management (operating systems), memory management technique that provides an "idealized abstraction of the storage resources that are actually available on a given machine" which "cre ...

virtual memory
). This might include such activities as removing or archiving logs that the system has made as a result of the users activities, or deletion of temporary files which may otherwise simply take up space. Housekeeping can be described as a necessary chore, required to perform a particular computer's normal activity but not necessarily part of the
algorithm In and , an algorithm () is a finite sequence of , computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are always and are used as specifications for performing s, , , and other ...

algorithm
. For cleaning up computer disk storage, utility software usually exists for this purpose such as
data compression In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electro ...
software - to "shrink" files and release disk space and
defragmentation In the maintenance of file systems, defragmentation is a process that reduces the degree of file system fragmentation, fragmentation. It does this by physically organizing the contents of the mass storage device used to store computer file, fil ...

defragmentation
programs - to improve disk performance."Basic Computer Housekeeping Tips"
Accessed July 20, 2009


Examples

Housekeeping could include (but is not limited to) the following activities: * Saving and restoring
program state In information technology and computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer ...
for called
functions Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...
(including
general purpose register A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), officer of highest military ranks, high rank in the army, armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines. In some usages the term "general officer" refers to a rank above colo ...
s and return address) * Obtaining local memory on the Stack (abstract data type), stack * Initializing local variables at the start of a program or function * Freeing local memory on the stack on exit from a function * Garbage collection (computer science), Garbage collection * Data conversion * Backup and/or removal of un-needed files and software * Execution of disk maintenance utilities (e.g. Microsoft ScanDisk, ScanDisk, hard drive defragmenters, Antivirus software, virus scanners)


See also

* Computational overhead * Subroutine


References

Computer performance {{computing-stub