Reader Challenge October 2009

USB Drives Displaying Two Drive Letters

Solve this month's UPDATE challenge, and you might win a prize!

The October 2009 Challenge:
Some of the readers who write to me aren't IT pros; they're users who are studying IT with the hope of creating a new career path, or they're users with a high level of curiosity about computers. Many of their questions are interesting, especially when they tell me, "Our IT director couldn't explain this."

I've received a number of messages from users who wanted to know why they see two new drive letters on the computer when they insert a USB flash drive. Would you be one of the IT pros who could explain this?

Question #1: Some USB flash drives have two drive letters because:

A. The manufacturer partitions the drive so you can separate the files you preload from the files you copy from a client/user computer.
B. The manufacturer creates a read-only partition that is preloaded with software you can launch from the flash drive.
C. The manufacturer creates a read-only partition to hold the drivers you need to use the flash drive on various versions of Windows.

Question #2: Windows sees the partitions as:

A. One CD and one removable drive.
B. Two CD drives.
C. Two removable drives.

How to Play
Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by October 27, 2009. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number. Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct.

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on November 17.

September 2009 Reader Challenge Winner
Congratulations to Chad Dean of Iowa, the winner of our September 2009 Reader Challenge. He wins a copy of Head First Networking from O'Reilly Media.

#1: B These flash drives are U3 flash drives.
#2: A (the fact that Windows sees a CD is what launches the autorun feature when you insert the flash drive into a USB port).

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