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interrupt vector

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

An interrupt vector is the memory location of an interrupt handler, which prioritizes interrupts and saves them in a queue if more than one interrupt is waiting to be handled.

An interrupt is a signal from a device attached to a computer, or from a program within the computer, that tells the OS (operating system) to stop and decide what to do next. When an interrupt is generated, the OS saves its execution state by means of a context switch, a procedure that a computer processor follows to change from one task to another while ensuring that the tasks do not conflict. Once the OS has saved the execution state, it starts to execute the interrupt handler at the interrupt vector.

This was last updated in September 2012

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