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Special Function Registers control the various functions of a microcontroller. They can be divided in two categories:

1. Those Control Registers, required and wired into the CPU and not necessarily part of the addressable memory, for program flow and arithmetic functions like:

Compilers of high level languages take care of those registers. Programmers of high level languages (C, Pascal, etc.) do not need to worry about them.

2. Those required by peripherals. Writing to these registers could set a timer, toggle an output pin, enable a serial communication etc. Set by the hardware they may contain the timer value, the input potential of a pin (high or low), a received byte from a serial communication etc.