system call

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system call

[′sis·təm ‚kȯl]
(computer science)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

system call

(operating system, programming)
The mechanism used by an application program to request service from the operating system. System calls often use a special machine code instruction which causes the processor to change mode (e.g. to "supervisor mode" or "protected mode"). This allows the OS to perform restricted actions such as accessing hardware devices or the memory management unit.
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