What is Resource Starvation and How to Prevent it?

by Carson
Resource Starvation

You should be grateful that the operating system usually does not let the computer slow down even if you are using so many system resources, but sometimes problems can arise in this process. In this article, we will discuss the definition of resource starvation and how to prevent it from affecting your system.

Resource Starvation

Every process requires resources to function. These resources include processing power, RAM, hard drive space, etc. If one or more processes are permanently deprived of necessary resources, this is known as resource starvation. It may cause an app, or your computer, to halt or run slowly because some threads are never allowed to run. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why programs slow down to a crawl if there almost all resources are used up, along with excessive disk swapping.

This may seem straightforward, but more details will be included as you learn the reasons behind this phenomenon and how to prevent it from affecting your system.

What Causes Resource Starvation?

Usually, if this problem occurs, the system is low on resources. That means the operating system’s scheduler must determine the priority of the processes. That way, more resources will be allocated to crucial processes, and the overall productivity will increase.

However, there is a catch. If there are not enough resources to feed all processes, resource starvation may occur. This happens when low-priority threads never get enough resources to execute as high-priority processes keep occupying so many resources.

How to Avoid Resource Starvation?

To cope with this situation, we can tamper with the priorities of the processes. Specifically, this technique gradually increases the priority of the processes waiting to execute. Once it reaches a sufficiently high priority level, resources will be provided to this thread, and it can start or continue execution. This means that every process can hopefully get at least some resources.

However, there is a problem. If too many processes are running simultaneously, or if there is a sudden glitch in the operating system’s scheduler, resource starvation may still occur. Alternatively, threads might wait for a long time before they finally get the CPU. After that, it gets blocked again very soon. Therefore, if the user encounters the issue of processes being unresponsive at times or the computer working very slowly, it is reasonable to quit processes that are hogging resources or restart your computer if necessary. If the problem starts to arise immediately after restarting your computer, you might be facing a more complicated software issue, a hardware issue, or even the need of a hardware upgrade.


In this short article, we briefly explained what resource starvation is, how it may slow down your computer, and how to cope with it. If you want to learn more about the issue, please visit the webpages in the references below.

References and Credits

  1. (n.d.). Resource Starvation. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://csrc.nist.gov/glossary/term/resource_starvation
  2. (n.d.). What is a starvation problem in an operating system? Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.educative.io/edpresso/what-is-a-starvation-problem-in-an-operating-system
  3. (n.d.). Starvation and Aging in Operating Systems. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.javatpoint.com/starvation-and-aging-in-operating-systems

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