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Acronym for interrupt request. One of a set of possible hardware interrupts, identified by a number, on a Wintel computer. The number of the IRQ determines which interrupt handler will be used. In the AT bus, ISA, and EISA, 15 IRQs are available; in Micro Channel Architecture, 255 IRQs are available. Each device’s IRQ is hardwired or set by a jumper or DIP switch. The VL bus and the PCI local bus have their own interrupt systems, which they translate to IRQ numbers. See also AT bus, DIP switch, EISA, interrupt, IRQ conflict, ISA, jumper, Micro Channel Architecture, PCI local bus, VL bus.