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Doing more than one thing at a time - or so it would seem. Human beings can multi-task: breathing, walking, thinking, and chewing gum, all at the very same time - but single processor computers do not.

It may seem that, for example, when a user is printing a file and viewing Web pages on the Net, the computer is doing two things at once, but, in practice, it is handling bits of each job, one after the other, so quickly that it just looks as though they are being done at the same time. Purists maintain that true multi-tasking requires more than one processor.

As the two or more programs squabble for memory space or communication port access on a single processor machine - such as a PC - multi-tasking causes more hang-ups, freezing, and plain JOOTTs than any other factor.

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