There are two possible ways of storing multi-byte values (i.e. words) in memory:
- Most significant byte first,
also known as big-endian. The big-endian name reflects
the historic fact that this method was common to mainframe computers.
- Least significant byte first.
This placement was commonly used in mini- and microcomputers, hence
the name little-endian.
For example, a hexadecimal double word 12345678 is stored as follows:
12 34 56 78 (big-endian)
78 56 34 12 (little-endian)
The same is true for UNICODE characters which are also affected by the byte
Intel Pentium/Celeron, AMD Athlon/Sempron, and other x86 family processors
are little-endian and use the 'least significant byte first' order. To avoid
confusion don't change this setting unless you are editing a foreign file.