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Real mode

Real mode denotes a way of operating Intel microprocessors. It means that only 1 MB of memory can be addressed. PC computers execute the first steps in this mode when starting. DOS (MS-Windows) operates in this mode. The advantage of using the real mode is that the BIOS routines may be used.

Real mode is the only mode x86 processor designs were capable of operating in until the 80286.

Other more modern operating systems switch to the more powerful protected mode.

Read on: IA-32, X86 and x86 assembly language