Processor modes controls how the processor sees and manipulates the system memory and the tasks that use it.

There are three different modes of operation:

  1. Real mode
  2. Protected mode
  3. Virtual real mode

The difference between real mode and protected mode are the following:

Real mode:

  • In this mode processor works as 8088 / 8086.
  • This mode has only 1 MB memory addressing capability.
  • This mode handles only one task at a time.
  • In this memory address translation is not required.
  • In this mode processor or computer directly communicate with ports and devices.
  • This mode is not supporting memory management.
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Protected mode:

  • In this processor works in full capacity.
  • This mode has more than 1MB to few GB memory addressing capability.
  • This mode handles multiple task at time.
  • In this memory address translation is required.
  • In this processor communicates with ports and devices through OS.
  • This mode is supporting memory management.
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