The processor invokes the protected mode interrupt

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Unformatted text preview: the interrupted 8086 program. Note that if an operating system intends to support all 8086 MS-DOS-based programs, it is necessary to use the actual 8086 interrupt and exception handlers supplied with the program. The reason for this is that some programs modify their own interrupt vector table to substitute (or hook in series) their own specialized interrupt and exception handlers. HANDLING AN INTERRUPT OR EXCEPTION THROUGH A TASK GATE When an interrupt or exception vector points to a task gate in the IDT, the processor performs a task switch to the selected interrupt- or exception-handling task. The following actions are carried out as part of this task switch: 1. The EFLAGS register with the VM flag set is saved in the current TSS. 2. The link field in the TSS of the called task is loaded with the segment selector of the TSS for the interrupted virtual-8086-mode task. 3. The EFLAGS register is loaded from the image in the new TSS, which clears the VM flag and causes the processor to switch to protected mode. 4. The NT flag in the EFLAGS register is set. 5. The processor begins executing the selected interrupt- or exception-handler task. When an IRET instruction is executed in the handler task and the NT flag in the EFLAGS register is set, the processors switches from a protected-mode interrupt- or exception-handler task back to a virtual-8086-mode task. Here, the EFLAGS and segment registers are loaded from images saved in the TSS for the virtual-8086-mode task. If the VM flag is set in the EFLAGS image, the processor switches back to virtual-8086 mode on the task switch. The CPL at the time the IRET instruction is executed must be 0, otherwise the processor does not change the state of the VM flag. 16.3.2. Class 2—Maskable Hardware Interrupt Handling in Virtual8086 Mode Using the Virtual Interrupt Mechanism Maskable hardware interrupts are those interrupts that are delivered through the INTR# pin or through an interrupt request to the local APIC (refer to Section, “Maskable Hardware Interrupts”, in Chapter 5, Interrupt and Exception Handling). These interrupts can be inhibited (masked) from interrupting an executing program or task by clearing the IF flag in the EFLAGS register. When the VME flag in control register CR4 is set and the IOPL field in the EFLAGS register is less than 3, two additional flags are activated in the EFLAGS register: • • VIF (virtual interrupt) flag, bit 19 of the EFLAGS register. VIP (virtual interrupt pending) flag, bit 20 of the EFLAGS register. 16-20 8086 EMULATION These flags provide the virtual-8086 monitor with more efficient control over handling maskable hardware interrupts that occur during virtual-8086 mode tasks. They also reduce interrupt-handling overhead, by eliminating the need for all IF related operations (such as PUSHF, POPF, CLI, and STI instructions) to trap to the virtual-8086 monitor. The purpose and use of these flags are as follows. NOTE The VIF and VIP flags are only available in Intel Architecture processors that support the virtual mode extensions. These extensions were introduced in the Intel Architecture with the Pentium® processor. When this mechanism is either not available or not enabled, maskable hardware interrupts are handled as class 1 interrupts. Here, if VIF and VIP flags are needed, the virtual-8086 monitor can implement them in software. Existing 8086 programs commonly set and clear the IF flag in the EFLAGS register to enable and disable maskable hardware interrupts, respectively; for example, to disable interrupts while handling another interrupt or an exception. This practice works well in single task environments, but can cause problems in multitasking and multiple-processor environments, where it is often desirable to prevent an application program from having direct control over the handling of hardware interrupts. When using earlier Intel Architecture processors, this problem was often solved by creating a virtual IF flag in software. The Intel Architecture processors (beginning with the Pentium® processor) provide hardware support for this virtual IF flag through the VIF and VIP flags. The VIF flag is a virtualized version of the IF flag, which an application program running from within a virtual-8086 task can used to control the handling of maskable hardware interrupts. When the VIF flag is enabled, the CLI and STI instructions operate on the VIF flag instead of the IF flag. When an 8086 program executes the CLI instruction, the processor clears the VIF flag to request that the virtual-8086 monitor inhibit maskable hardware interrupts from interrupting program execution; when it executes the STI instruction, the processor sets the VIF flag requesting that the virtual-8086 monitor enable maskable hardware interrupts for the 8086 program. But actually the IF flag, managed by the operating system, always controls whether maskable hardware interrupts are enabled. Also, if under these circumstances an 8086 program tries to read or chang...
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