Jumpers are short conductors that are used to connect pins on circuit boards of electronic equipment such as computers. They are used to configure the working of the various systems in a desired way.
In the past, the older generation computers had many jumper blocks. The way they were set was not well documented and this made it difficult to set them as it is required. For instance, the early Intel model 386 had up to 40 jumper pairs on their motherboards but the most resents ones only have one.
The trend has been to try to remove jumpers completely from the hardware of the systems. The jumpers are being replaed with auto-configurations that are stored in non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) (Tripod, (n.d).).
Software configuration simply uses a set of written programs to make the computer work in a particular way the user wants it. The user may install the program to the computer and consequently make the settings. The other way is using USB devises that have automatic set of programs that play on initiating them. These are the type of plug and play components. The automatic types of Configurations are stored in a NVRAM where the settings are configured according to the user’s desire. Either the settings are negotiated at system start-up time, or host processor loaads them.
The advantages of the new technology are; one can change the settings even when a system is running, this is because there is no need of accessing the motherboard. It eliminates the hassle of opening the casing of a machine and resetting it. Besides the ease in set-up, the machines that work without the jumpers are usually faster.
The disadvantage of using the systems that do not use jumpers is that that they require a little technical knowledge to set them. The program configuration may be a little bit technical to some users. Viruses, power failure, or a careless user may corrupt the software.