A D V E R T I S E M E N T
- Internal hardware interruptions
- External hardware interruptions
- Software interruptions
Internal hardware interruptions
Internal interruptions are generated by certain events which come during
the execution of a program.
This type of interruptions are managed on their totality by the hardware
and it is not possible to modify them.
A clear example of this type of interruptions is the one which actualizes
the counter of the computer internal clock, the hardware makes the call to
this interruption several times during a second in order to maintain the
time to date.
Even though we cannot directly manage this interruption, since we cannot
control the time dating by means of software, it is possible to use its
effects on the computer to our benefit, for example to create a "virtual
clock" dated continuously thanks to the clock's internal counter. We onlyhave to write a program which reads the actual value of the counter and to
translates it into an understandable format for the user.
External hardware interruptions
External interruptions are generated by peripheral devices, such as
keyboards, printers, communication cards, etc. They are also generated by
coprocessors. It is not possible to deactivate external interruptions.
These interruptions are not sent directly to the CPU, but rather they are
sent to an integrated circuit whose function is to exclusively handle this
type of interruptions. The circuit, called PIC8259A, is controlled by the
CPU using for this control a series of communication ways called paths.
Software interruptions can be directly activated by the assembler invoking
the number of the desired interruption with the INT instruction.
The use of interruptions helps us in the creation of programs, and by using
them our programs are shorter, it is easier to understand them and they
usually have a better performance mostly due to their smaller size.
This type of interruptions can be separated in two categories: the
operative system DOS interruptions and the BIOS interruptions.
The difference between the two is that the operative system interruptions
are easier to use but they are also slower since these interruptions make
use of the BIOS to achieve their goal, on the other hand the BIOS
interruptions are much faster but they have the disadvantage that since
they are part of the hardware, they are very specific and can vary
depending even on the brand of the maker of the circuit.
The election of the type of interruption to use will depend solely on the
characteristics you want to give your program: speed, using the BIOS ones,
or portability, using the ones from the DOS.