One of the things about Windows NT 4.0 that was a major inconvenience was its inability to report accurate information regarding resource allocation. Another, and perhaps even more problematic aspect of Windows NT 4.0 was that it wasn't fully Plug And Play compliant. This meant that if you had resource conflicts on your machine, the operating system wasn't geared to handle the arbitration of these conflicts.
The good news is that Windows 2000 has come to the rescue! One of the reasons why Windows NT 5.0, ahem, Windows 2000 was so late to the party was problems with getting the Plug And Play functionality to work correctly within the confines of the security and operating system architecture. However, they did get it to work, and it works great!
But, have you ever checked your hardware resource allocation on a Windows 2000 computer? This information can be accessed via the Device Manager applet, which is located on the Hardware tab of the System Properties Control Panel applet. When I open mine and change the view to Resources by Type and expand the Interrupt Request (IRQ) node, I find something that looks a little disturbing.
Indeed, I have four devices using IRQ 9! These include:
- 3Com Etherlink XL 10/100 PCI TX NIC (3C905B-TX)
- ATI Technologies Inc. RAGE 128 GL AGP
- Creative AudioPCI (ES1370), SB PCI 64/128 (WDM)
- VIA USB Universal Host Controller
But I don't seem to have any problems with resource contention. What is even stranger is that if I look at the IRQ assignments in my BIOS, they look nothing like the assignments displayed in the Device Manager. What gives?
If you find yourself mystified by this state of affairs, check out Deb Shinder's article on how Windows 2000 manages shared resources. It's a real eye-opener.