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So what exactly is Plug-and-Play PnP PnP is a combination of the computer system Basic Input Output System BIOS hardware devices operating system OS device drivers and system resources that dynamically detect and install hardware devices that have been added to a computer system Rather than requiring a user to know and understand the technical details involved in such a task PnP will automatically assign the system resources that are needed for the new device and will also locate and install the necessary driver software In a nutshell when connecting the new device a user should be able to turn the computer on and use the new hardware device after PnP installs and configures it This concept is meant to end the days of manual device configuration and driver conflicts providing nontechnical computer users with the ability to easily upgrade their computer systems The goal was to make adding components such as a printer or scanner no more difficult than adding a DVD to a television once a user plugs it in they can use it In a narrower sense PnP is setting bus-resources for the hardware devices PnP matches devices with their device drivers and specifies their communication channels With the older ISA bus before PNP jumpers were formerly set the bus-resources in hardware devices Software drivers were assigned bus-resources by configuration files or the like or by probing for the device at addresses where they were expected to reside The PCI bus was PnP-like from the beginning While the PCI bus specifications do not use the term PnP it supports in hardware what is today called PnP The architecture of the PC provides for only a limited number of Interrupt Requests IRQ Direct Memory Access DMA channels InputOutput IO addresses and memory regions If there were only a few devices and they had unique standardized bus-resource IO addresses and IRQ numbers then there would not be a problem of attaching device drivers to
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