Computer programs normally follow from one instruction after another and carry on working through them in sequence.

This is fine if nothing else is happening. But if something happens which the CPU needs to deal with at that instant, such as a mouse movement, or a keyboard input, engineers have built a system into the microprocessor to deal with these events and have called them an 'interrupt'.

An interrupt will signal to the software currently running, to break off from what it is doing and to handle the interrupt instead. When the task is complete, the software jumps back to the instruction it was working on before being interrupted and carries on again from that point.

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