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Hardware Protection and Type of Hardware Protection

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In this article, we are going to learn about hardware protection and its types. So first, lets take a look at the type of hardware which is used in a computer system. We know that a computer system consists of hardware components like processor, monitor, RAM and many more. The important thing is, that the operating system ensures that these devices are not directly accessible by the user. 

Basically, hardware protection is divided into 3 categories: CPU protection, Memory Protection, and I/O protection. These are explained as follows:

 1. CPU Protection: 
CPU protection ensures that, a process does not monopolize the CPU indefinetely, as it would prevent other processes from being executed. Each process should get a limited time, so that every process gets time to execute it’s instructions. To address this, a timer is used to limit the amount of time, which a process can occupy from the CPU. After the timer expires, a signal is sent to the process for relenquishing the CPU. Hence one process cannot hold the CPU forever. 

2. Memory Protection: 
In memory protection, we are talking about that situation when two or more processes are in memory and one process may access the other process memory. To prevent this situation we use two registers which are known as:

1. Base register
2. Limit register 

So basically Base register store the starting address of program and limit register store the size of the process. This is done to ensure that whenver a process wants to access the memory, the OS can check that –  Is the memory area which the process wants to access is previliged to be accessed by that process or not.

3. I/O Protection: 
With I/O protection, an OS ensures that following can be never done by a processes:

  1. Termination I/O of other process – This means one process should not be able to terminate I/O operation of othe processes.
  2. View I/O of other process – One process should not be able to access the data being read/written by other processes from/to the Disk(s).
  3. Giving priority to a particular process I/O – No process must be able to priorotize itself or other processes which are doing I/O operations, over other processes.


What is the purpose of hardware protection in a computer system?
Hardware protection is used to prevent direct access to hardware devices by user-level processes and to ensure that processes run within their designated bounds to prevent conflicts and errors.

What are some consequences of not having hardware protection in a computer system?
Without hardware protection, a process may be able to directly access and modify system resources or interfere with other processes, leading to system instability, crashes, or security breaches.

How does CPU protection prevent a process from monopolizing the CPU?
CPU protection involves setting a timer to limit the amount of time a process can use the CPU. Once the timer expires, a signal is sent to the process to relinquish control of the CPU, allowing other processes to run.

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Last Updated : 15 May, 2023
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