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What is WATCHDOG TIMER? What does WATCHDOG TIMER mean? WATCHDOG TIMER meaning – WATCHDOG TIMER definition – WATCHDOG TIMER explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under license.
A watchdog timer (sometimes called a computer operating properly or COP timer, or simply a watchdog) is an electronic timer that is used to detect and recover from computer malfunctions. During normal operation, the computer regularly restarts the watchdog timer to prevent it from elapsing, or “timing out”. If, due to a hardware fault or program error, the computer fails to restart the watchdog, the timer will elapse and generate a timeout signal. The timeout signal is used to initiate corrective action or actions. The corrective actions typically include placing the computer system in a safe state and restoring normal system operation.
Watchdog timers are commonly found in embedded systems and other computer-controlled equipment where humans cannot easily access the equipment or would be unable to react to faults in a timely manner. In such systems, the computer cannot depend on a human to reboot it if it hangs; it must be self-reliant. For example, remote embedded systems such as space probes are not physically accessible to human operators; these could become permanently disabled if they were unable to autonomously recover from faults. A watchdog timer is usually employed in cases like these. Watchdog timers may also be used when running untrusted code in a sandbox, to limit the CPU time available to the code and thus prevent some types of denial-of-service attacks.
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