Privileve level

Privilege modes

Level Encoding Name Abbreviation
0 00 User/Application U
1 01 Supervisor S
2 10 Reserved
3 11 Machine M
  • Provides protection between different components of the software stack
  • Any attempts to perform an operation not allowed by the current mode will cause an exception to be raised
  • These exceptions will normally cause traps into the underlying execution environment

Machine mode

  • Highest privilege
  • Mandatory privilege level for RISC-V hardware platform
  • Trusted code environment
  • Low level access to the machine implementation
  • Manage secure execution environments
  • User mode and supervisor mode are indented for conventional application and operating systems
Number of levels Supported modes Indented Usage
1 M Simple embedded systems
2 M, U Secure embedded systems
3 M, S U Unix-like operating systems


  • Any attempts to access non-existent CSR, read or write a read-only register raises an illegal instruction
  • A read/write register might also contain bits that are read-only, in which writes to read-only bits are ignored

Supervisor mode

  • Steps to reproduce the behavior
    • Switch to machine mode (if not already by default)