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Last modified: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 

Abbreviation of interrupt request line, and pronounced I-R-Q. IRQs are hardware lines over which devices can send interrupt signals to the microprocessor. When you add a new device to a PC, you sometimes need to set its IRQ number by setting a DIP switch. This specifies which interrupt line the device may use. IRQ conflicts used to be a common problem when adding expansion boards, but the Plug-and-Play specification has removed this headache in most cases.

Also see the list of IRQ numbers in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.

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For pages about IRQ . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Interrupt Function and Operation 
Detailed description of hardware interrupts from "The PC Guide". Contains separate sections on interrupt controllers, IRQ lines, interrupt priority, interrupt conflicts, and Non-Maskable Interrupts (NMI).

IRQ Details By Number 
Lists each of the 16 interrupt lines and provides a full description of what they are, how they are normally used, and any special information that is relevant to them. This page is from "The PC Guide".

PC system resources reference guide 
Covers IRQs, DMAs, I/O, and memory addresses, as well as system configuration, resource conflicts, and plug and play.

related categories

Configuring Adapters

related terms

DIP switch

expansion bus


interrupt vector table


system resource

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