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V. Managing Your Computer > 16. Adding and Removing Hardware

Chapter 16. Adding and Removing Hardware

When it comes to adding new components to your PC, the bad old days of Windows NT were pretty dreadful. Installing a printer was difficult—but installing a sound card or modem was an exercise in masochism. A CNN (Certified Network Nerd) credential was essential.

That’s because, when you attach a new component to your PC (modem, scanner, printer, networking card, digital camera, and so on), it won’t work unless it has its own communication channels to your PC’s brain—technical resources with such helpful names as interrupt request (IRQ) lines, direct memory access (DMA) channels, I/O addresses, and memory addresses. Your PC has a limited number of these resources; in the days before Plug and Play, the computer’s components may have competed for the same channels or memory addresses, resulting in resource conflicts that could take hours to solve, if a solution was even possible.


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