What does IRQ mean and what is it?

IRQ - Interrupt ReQuest
This can be thought of as a 'channel', or 'line', that devices in your PC use when they want the processor's attention. For example, when you move the mouse or press a key on the keyboard a signal is sent to the processor asking for its attention.
It is important that the IRQ settings in your machine are set correctly, otherwise it can cause devices to conflict with each other. This will cause one or more devices to stop working or behave erratically.

Modern computer devices and operating systems which use the Plug and Play standard have eliminated the need to manually configure the IRQ channels, however, some non-standard configurations can cause IRQ conflicts to arise. One example of this would be where you have two devices from the same manufacturer, which in rare cases can cause a conflict as they try to use the same IRQ channel.

If required, IRQ channels can be assigned to devices manually, either through the BIOS or via the operating system.

For more on IRQ channels and how you can correct conflicts see our guide to IRQ channels in our upgrading section.

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