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A machine cycle consists of the steps that a computer’s processor executes whenever it receives a machine language instruction. It is the most basic CPU operation, and modern CPUs are able to perform millions of machine cycles per second. The cycle consists of three standard steps: fetch, decode and execute. In some cases, store is also incorporated into the cycle.
The machine cycle is the most basic operation that a computer performs, and in order to complete menial tasks such as showing a single character on the screen, the CPU has to perform multiple cycles. The computer does this from the moment it boots up until it shuts down.
The steps of a machine cycle are: