What is Plug and Play (PnP)?

Definition – What does Plug and Play (PnP) mean?

Plug and Play is the capability created by Microsoft for its Windows 95 and later operating systems that gives the users the ability to simply plug a hardware device into the computer and have the computer identify that the device is there. It is also known as the ability of the computer to detect and configure device automatically, without requiring the user to configure the hardware with jumpers or dip switches physically.

Glossary Web explains Plug and Play (PnP)

The term plug and play has now been expanded to a massive variety of application where the same lack of user setup is applied. Expansion hardware devices are controlled and exchange data with the host system through defined memory or I/O spaceport addresses, interrupt request lines, direct memory access channels, and other mechanisms, that must be related with a particular device to operate. Most of the computers have a unique combination of these resources to each slot of a motherboard. Other computer designs provided all the resources to all slots, and each outer device had its own address decoding for the registers or memory blocks.

In order to operate PnP property on compatible computers, the computer must have BIOS support Plug and Play Windows 95 or later operating the system and peripheral with Plug and Play support.

Martin Adler

Martin Adler is a Computer Engineer and an accomplished writer with a passion for inspiring everyone with exciting technologies. He loves to explore technical terms and try to deliver something worth reading.