Operating Systems; Interrupts | Free Online Course | Alison

The New Alison App has just launched Download Now

Operating Systems - Understanding Hardware and Software Interrupts - Revised

Learn about operating system interrupts and how they are processed with this free computer operating systems course.

Systèmes d'exploitation
This free online course in computer operating systems will teach you about hardware and software interrupts. An interrupt is a signal sent to the processor that interrupts the current process and may be generated by a hardware device or a software program. This course will also teach you about the programmable interrupt controller, CPU context switching, context switch overheads, and the factors affecting context switching time.
  • Certification

  • Réactif

  • Publisher

  • Accreditation






View course modules


Operating systems are event-driven, which means that the OS only executes when there is an event. This course will start by teaching you the three main types of events. You will then study the Programmable Interrupt Controller(PIC), the Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller(APIC ), and the Local Advanced Programmable Interrupt controller(LAPIC). You will learn what happens when there is an interrupt and what causes the switching of stacks. You will also study the parts of a typical interrupt handler.

A software interrupt is an instruction in a program which causes an interrupt when executed. It is used primarily for implementing system calls. This course will teach you how a software interrupt happens. You will also learn how a CPU switches between processes and study the direct and indirect factors that affect context switching time. The course will also discuss the three methods used for passing parameters to system calls, which are by Registers, user mode stacks, and designated memory regions.

This Operating Systems - Understanding Hardware and Software Interrupts course is part of a series of courses on computer operating systems. Prior to taking this course, make sure you have studied the 'Introduction to Operating Systems', 'Introduction to Memory Management', and the 'Introduction to Operating Systems Processes'. But if you are ready for this course, check it out today and boost your knowledge of software and hardware interrupts in just a few short hours.

Start Course Now

Learning Outcomes

Having completed this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the three types of Interrupts in Operating system
  • List the steps in a hardware interrupt
  • Describe how a software interrupt happens
  • List factors that affect context switching
  • Describe how a CPU switches between processes


All Alison courses are free to study. To successfully complete a course you must score 80% or higher in each course assessments. Upon successful completion of a course, you can choose to make your achievement formal by purchasing an official Alison Diploma, Certificate or PDF.

Having an official Alison document is a great way to celebrate and share your success. It is:

  • Ideal to include with CVs, job applications and portfolios
  • A way to show your ability to learn and achieve high results
All Certificates are available to purchase through the Alison Shop. For more information on purchasing Alison Certificates, please visit our FAQ. If you decide not to purchase your Alison Certificate, you can still demonstrate your achievement by sharing your Learner Record or Learner Achievement Verification, both of which are accessible from your Tableau de bord. For more details on our Certificate pricing, please visit our Pricing Page.


    You have received a new notification
    Click here to view them all