Card Services (Card and Socket Services) is a software layer used with PCMCIA cards -- usually in portable computers. Card Services provide hot plugability, plug and play and other capabilities for these removable cards Card services layers are available for MSDOS, Windows and for other Operating systems. This software is typically in addition to driver software required by analogous non-PCMCIA peripherals. A number of (generally small) programs may have to be loaded in a specific order to provide Card and Socket Services for a single card. Card and Socket services typically comes with an automatic installation routine that sometimes works. When Card and Socket Services work, they are very convenient.

Point Extender Software is sometimes used as an alternative to Card Services. Point extenders may sacrifice hot plugability, PNP and other capabilities in order to achieve relatively small size and simplicity for cards that will be permanently installed. Typically a Point Extender will provide the complete card interface in one program that needs to be told what IRQ, DAM, I/O address and ROM address to use. While inelegant, this can look pretty good after an afternoon of struggling with malfunctioning Card and Socket Services software.

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