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Chapter 27. Installing and Replacing Har... > Hardware Resources and Windows XP

Hardware Resources and Windows XP

Windows XP's Device Manager can help you determine the resources used by your hardware, and Windows XP normally can manage Plug and Play hardware installation with little or no help from you. However, ISA cards and conflicts between built-in ISA ports (serial, parallel, and PS/2 mouse) and PCI cards can cause your system to malfunction. Use the information in this section to understand the potential causes of conflicts and how to avoid them.

IRQs

PC architecture includes a means for a piece of hardware to quickly gain the attention of the CPU through a message called an interrupt request, or IRQ. Interrupts are sent over one of the 15 IRQ wires on the computer's bus. Such a request is a direct line to the CPU, which then services the request accordingly. A common example occurs when data comes into your system's modem or LAN card. The modem or LAN card triggers the predetermined interrupt line (IRQ), and the CPU then begins to execute the program code that is appropriate for handling that interrupt. In fact, a part of the operating system called the interrupt handler is responsible for making it so.


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