Keyboard Buffer


A keyboard buffer is a temporary storage area where keystrokes from the keyboard are held until they can be processed by the computer. It ensures that every keystroke is recorded and processed in order, even when the computer is busy with other tasks. If keystrokes are made faster than the computer can process them, they accumulate in the buffer to be processed later.


The phonetics for the keyword “Keyboard Buffer” are: Keyboard: /ˈkiː.bɔːrd/Buffer: /ˈbʌf.ər/

Key Points about Keyboard Buffer

  1. Input Storage: The keyboard buffer is a temporary storage area, where keystrokes are stored until they are retrieved by a software program. This enables quicker response times for the user, even if the computer is busy processing other tasks.
  2. Data Entry: It allows users to type ahead while the computer is processing commands. This means that users can carry on typing at their own pace, even if the system lags behind slightly. The buffer is capable of holding the surplus data until the computer is ready to process it.
  3. Order of Processing: The buffer follows the FIFO (First-In-First-Out) rule. The characters that are typed first are the ones that get processed first. This maintains the correct sequence of keys pressed by the user.



The term “keyboard buffer” is important in technology because it serves as a temporary storage area, also known as a cache, for keystrokes that your computer’s processor isn’t ready to handle immediately. In a scenario where a user types faster than the computer can process each keystroke, instead of losing this data, the keyboard buffer holds onto it.

This ensures that the data doesn’t get lost and the user’s input is fully recorded and processed, albeit with a slight delay. By storing keystrokes temporarily, the keyboard buffer also allows for features like undo and redo, thereby improving the overall user experience. Its functionality essential in maintaining the computer’s efficiency and preventing potential data loss.


The Keyboard Buffer is an essential component in computer systems, designed to manage inputs from the keyboard. Its primary purpose is to temporarily store keystrokes that have been input but not yet processed by the computer. This function is critically important as users often type faster than the speed at which the computer can process these inputs.

The Keyboard Buffer guarantees that no keystroke input is lost during this process. This system component operates on a First-In, First-Out (FIFO) basis. In other words, the keystrokes that get put into the buffer first will be the ones to get removed first. This ensures that all keystrokes will be processed in the order in which they were input.

Additionally, the keyboard buffer also operates during periods of high CPU usage, storing keystrokes until the CPU is free to process them. Thus, in a nutshell, it safeguards the smooth, efficient, and orderly functioning of the computer by managing the input and output processes effectively.


1. Typing on a Computer: This is the most common usage. When you type faster than your computer processes your inputs, the keystrokes go into the keyboard buffer. The buffer holds those keystrokes temporarily until the processor can handle them in the order they were received.

2. Online Gaming: In a fast-paced online game, numerous commands via keystrokes are given in quick succession. If the game or server is lagging, the keyboard buffer will hold these keystrokes until they can be processed properly, ensuring no commands are lost if input too quickly.

3. Data Terminals/Server Management: In scenarios where command lines are used such as Linux administration, a user might input a series of commands rapidly. If the system is busy, these commands get stored in the keyboard buffer so that they can be executed in the order they were typed once the system is ready.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: What is a Keyboard Buffer?

A: A Keyboard Buffer is a temporary storage area in a computer’s memory where the keystrokes or inputs from the keyboard are held until the processor can process them.

Q: What is the primary function of the Keyboard Buffer?

A: The primary function of the Keyboard Buffer is to store keystrokes temporarily, ensuring that no keystrokes are lost even if the computer is momentarily too busy to register them.

Q: What happens when the Keyboard Buffer gets full?

A: If the Keyboard Buffer is full, any additional keystrokes will be lost until there is room in the buffer again. In most cases, the computer user needs to slow down their typing speed.

Q: How can I access or see my Keyboard Buffer?

A: Generally, you cannot directly view the contents of your Keyboard Buffer as it’s handled internally by the operating system. It’s designed to operate transparently in the background.

Q: Can the size of Keyboard Buffer vary?

A: Yes, the size of the Keyboard Buffer can vary depending on the computer system or the model. Usually, it can store from dozens to hundreds of keystrokes.

Q: Is it possible to clear the Keyboard Buffer?

A: Yes, it is possible to clear the Keyboard Buffer. However, the process is typically handled by the computer’s operating system and not manually carried out by the user.

Q: Can data stored in Keyboard Buffer be retrieved after computer is shut down?

A: No, the data in the Keyboard Buffer cannot be retrieved after the computer is shut down because the buffer is stored in RAM, which is volatile memory.

Q: What happens if a key is pressed and Keyboard Buffer is not empty?

A: If a key is pressed and the Keyboard Buffer isn’t empty, the new keystroke is added to the end of the buffer, and it will be processed when all the previous keystrokes have been handled.

Q: Does every computer system and software use a Keyboard Buffer?

A: Essentially every modern computer system utilizes some form of Keyboard Buffer. However, how they interact with it can vary greatly depending on the design of the specific software and OS.

Related Tech Terms

  • Input Queue: A location in the device memory where the keyboard inputs are temporarily stored until they are processed.
  • Keyboard Interrupt: Occurs when a key is pressed or released and subsequently signals the CPU to pause its current task and serve the keyboard’s need.
  • Data Register: A component of a keyboard that holds the data that is to be written into or read out of the buffer.
  • ASCII Code: A standard code for representing characters (like keystrokes) in binary form, generally used in keyboard buffers.
  • Overflow: An event that happens when a keyboard buffer runs out of space due to more keystrokes than its capacity.

Sources for More Information


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