UNIX Memory Management - Interview Questions and Answers

  1. What are states that the page can be in, after causing a page fault?
    1. On a swap device and not in memory,
    2. On the free page list in the main memory,
    3. In an executable file,
    4. Marked "demand zero",
    5. Marked "demand fill"
  2. In what way the validity fault handler concludes?
    1. It sets the valid bit of the page by clearing the modify bit.
    2. It recalculates the process priority.
  3. At what mode the fault handler executes?
    At the Kernel Mode.
  4. What do you mean by the protection fault?
    Protection fault refers to the process accessing the pages, which do not have the access permission. A process also incur the protection fault when it attempts to write a page whose copy on write bit was set during the fork() system call.
  5. How the Kernel handles the copy on write bit of a page, when the bit is set?

    In situations like, where the copy on write bit of a page is set and that page is shared by more than one process, the Kernel allocates new page and copies the content to the new page and the other processes retain their references to the old page. After copying the Kernel updates the page table entry with the new page number. Then Kernel decrements the reference count of the old pfdata table entry.

    In cases like, where the copy on write bit is set and no processes are sharing the page, the Kernel allows the physical page to be reused by the processes. By doing so, it clears the copy on write bit and disassociates the page from its disk copy (if one exists), because other process may share the disk copy. Then it removes the pfdata table entry from the page-queue as the new copy of the virtual page is not on the swap device. It decrements the swap-use count for the page and if count drops to 0, frees the swap space.

  6. For which kind of fault the page is checked first?
    The page is first checked for the validity fault, as soon as it is found that the page is invalid (valid bit is clear), the validity fault handler returns immediately, and the process incur the validity page fault. Kernel handles the validity fault and the process will incur the protection fault if any one is present.