CPU Interrupt Code

Definition of CPU Interrupt Code

A CPU Interrupt Code is a signal or command sent to a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to temporarily halt its current tasks and address a high-priority event or task. It allows the CPU to quickly respond to external events, such as hardware devices requesting attention, software exceptions or system errors. Once the interrupt is handled, the CPU resumes its normal tasks at the point where it was interrupted.


The phonetics for the keyword “CPU Interrupt Code” would be as follows:- “C” – pronounced as “see”- “P” – pronounced as “pee”- “U” – pronounced as “yoo”- “Interrupt” – pronounced as “in-tuh-ruhpt”- “Code” – pronounced as “kohd”Altogether, it would be pronounced as “See-Pee-Yoo In-tuh-ruhpt Kohd.”

Key Takeaways

  1. CPU Interrupt Codes are signals sent to the processor to alert it to a high-priority event that requires immediate attention, temporarily halting the current task being executed.
  2. There are different types of interrupts such as hardware interrupts, software interrupts, and exceptions. Each type of interrupt has a specific purpose and a unique interrupt code to help the processor identify the source and handle it efficiently.
  3. Interrupts enable the CPU to manage multiple tasks efficiently by allowing it to pause lower-priority tasks and address higher-priority tasks quickly, ensuring responsive and efficient system performance.

Importance of CPU Interrupt Code

The technology term “CPU Interrupt Code” is important because it plays a crucial role in the efficient functioning and communication of a computer system.

Interrupt codes enable the central processing unit (CPU) to pause its current task momentarily and handle more urgent tasks or events that require immediate attention, such as input/output operations, hardware issues, or software requests.

These codes ensure that the CPU manages its resources effectively, prioritizing tasks and improving overall system performance.

Additionally, interrupt codes help maintain the stability of the computer as they aid the CPU in swiftly addressing any errors or critical issues that could potentially cause a system crash or malfunction.


A CPU Interrupt Code is a crucial component in the efficient functioning of a computer system. Its primary purpose is to facilitate communication between the processor and the various peripheral devices while ensuring that the system remains responsive. By doing so, the CPU interrupt code allows the system to effectively manage and prioritize its resources, thus enabling it to perform a multitude of operations simultaneously.

In essence, interrupt codes act as triggers that inform the CPU when particular events, such as new data or the completion of a task, occur. This streamlined communication ensures that system resources are allocated optimally and that sensitive tasks receive the required attention, thereby significantly enhancing overall performance. One of the core functions of a CPU Interrupt Code is enabling the CPU to temporarily halt its current task in order to address more critical processes.

When a peripheral device sends an interrupt signal to the CPU, the processor can pause the existing operation, store its current state, address the new task, and ultimately return to the initial task by restoring its state. This way, the CPU can effectively attend to high-priority tasks such as managing user inputs or executing time-sensitive operations, without compromising on the simultaneous execution of less critical tasks. By employing interrupt codes, the system’s efficacy is increased, ensuring a seamless and robust user experience, thereby making CPU interrupt codes an essential element in modern computing systems.

Examples of CPU Interrupt Code

CPU Interrupt Codes play a vital role in computer systems, as they allow the processor to pause its current task and handle an important or urgent event. Here are three real-world examples:

Keyboard Input: When a user presses a key on the computer’s keyboard, the keyboard sends an electrical signal to the CPU, generating a hardware interrupt. The CPU then interrupts its current task or process and runs the appropriate Interrupt Service Routine (ISR) to read the key pressed and store it in a buffer. After the ISR completes, the CPU resumes its previous task.

Print Jobs: When you initiate a print job from a computer, the task is sent to the printer. As the printer receives the print data, it sends an interrupt to the CPU, signaling that it’s ready to accept more data. The CPU will pause its current task, service the interrupt by sending more data to the printer, and then continue working on its other tasks. This coordination allows the computer to continue its tasks without waiting for the printer to complete the print job.

Disk Operations: In modern computer systems, disk operations involve interrupts to ensure efficient data transfer between the CPU and the storage devices. For example, when a computer runs a program or accesses a file from the hard drive, an interrupt is generated for the CPU to begin reading data from the drive. Once the required data is available in memory, another interrupt is raised to let the CPU know that data is ready for processing. This allows multitasking and efficient data handling between the CPU and storage devices, ensuring the system runs smoothly.


CPU Interrupt Code FAQ

1. What is a CPU Interrupt Code?

A CPU interrupt code is a signal sent by hardware or software to the processor indicating an event that needs immediate attention. Interrupts help the operating system efficiently manage tasks and resources, as they temporarily suspend the current process to execute a specific function related to the interrupt.

2. What are the types of CPU interrupts?

There are two primary types of CPU interrupts: hardware interrupts and software interrupts. Hardware interrupts are triggered by external devices, such as peripherals or timers, whereas software interrupts are generated by programs running on the system to request OS services or handle exceptional conditions.

3. How do CPU interrupts work?

When a CPU receives an interrupt request, it suspends its current operation and stores the process context (such as registers and instruction pointer). It then executes an interrupt handler routine specific to the interrupt type or source. Once the routine is complete, the CPU restores the original process context and resumes its previous operation.

4. What is an Interrupt Descriptor Table (IDT)?

An Interrupt Descriptor Table (IDT) is a data structure in the CPU that contains the base addresses of interrupt handlers. When an interrupt occurs, the CPU refers to the IDT to locate the appropriate interrupt handler routine address in memory.

5. How do programmers handle CPU interrupts in their code?

Programmers generally do not handle CPU interrupts directly, as they are managed by the operating system and device drivers. However, when writing low-level code such as operating systems or embedded systems, developers can set up and configure interrupt handlers and specify how interrupts should be processed.


Related Technology Terms


  • Interrupt Request (IRQ)
  • Interrupt Vector Table
  • Interrupt Handler
  • Interrupt Service Routine (ISR)
  • Non-Maskable Interrupt (NMI)


Sources for More Information


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