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For example, if two related components are relying on each other to deallocate the space, but neither component actually does deallocate it, a memory leak results.
Memory leaks can be difficult to detect, as they slowly degrade machine performance until an out-of-memory error occurs.
For example, a driver may have a bug that does not arise unless memory is low, and then possibly only intermittently, whereby a test system will not reproduce the error because it does not reproduce the conditions.
In sum, kernel components such as drivers need to be privileged, which makes even slight errors therein capable of crashing the system, yet such errors are often difficult to detect, difficult to match to the source of the problem and/or difficult to reproduce.
The driver verifier may also provide extreme memory pressure on a specific driver, or randomly fail requests for pool memory.
As a result, even the slightest error in a kernel component can corrupt the system and cause a system crash.
An I/O verifier is also described for verifying drivers use of I/O request packets.
In contemporary operating systems such as Microsoft Corporation's Windows® 2000, low-level (i.e., kernel mode) components including drivers and the operating system itself, handle critical system operations.
Yet another type of error that a kernel component may make is failing to deallocate memory that the component no longer needs, often referred to as a “memory leak.” This can occur, for example, when a driver unloads but still has memory allocated thereto, or even when a driver is loaded but for some reason does not deallocate unneeded memory.
Note that this can occur because of the many complex rules drivers need to follow in order to safely interact with other drivers and operating system components.