August 2007 Reader Challenge and July Reader Challenge Winners

July 2007 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our July 2007 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide," goes to Matt McCabe, of Minnesota. Second prize, a copy of "Windows Vista in a Nutshell," goes to Geoff Walker, of California. Both books are from O'Reilly Media.

To view the July Reader Challenge answers go to or look for the "related article" link on this page.

August 2007 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Vista Update challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by August 14, 2007. You MUST include your full name, and street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes). 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 here at on August 15, 2007.

The August 2007 Challenge

When I first started using Vista (in Beta 1), I spent most of my time learning about specific tasks related to network management, such as creating shares, assigning permissions, managing network connections, and so on. After I finished writing some articles and books on those topics, I had time to play around in Vista for real, examining a variety of features and functions. When the retail copy of Vista arrived, I wiped the partition and installed the OS on a fresh partition (always a good idea after playing with beta code).

The computer I'm using is several years old, but it meets the minimum requirements for Vista. I began installing software and using it, and found that every few days I'd come into my office to find that my Vista computer had "frozen" during the night. Every time I pressed the Reset button, I muttered, "I gotta get more RAM."

One morning, after Vista had started again, I decided to copy some documents from my Vista machine to a computer on a different network. I inserted a USB 2.0 flash drive, an AutoPlay dialog box opened to ask me what I wanted to do with the flash drive, and one of the options was Speed Up My Computer. I'd found ReadyBoost, which is a Vista technology that lets you use flash memory for the system cache! The heck with transferring documents, I wanted the whole flash drive dedicated to ReadyBoost! My computer doesn't freeze anymore (although the problem may have been solved when I removed some of the gazillion tasks that were running in Scheduled Tasks).

How much do you know about ReadyBoost and the way it works? Can you answer the following questions correctly?

Question #1: Which of the following events take place when you select Speed Up My System in the AutoPlay dialog box that appears after you insert an appropriate device?

A. Vista tests available space on the device and tests the speed of random writes.
B. Vista tests available space on the device and tests the speed of random reads.
C. Vista tests the speed of random writes and random reads.
D. Vista tests available space on the device, the speed of random writes, and the speed of random reads.

Question #2: If you use a ReadyBoost device only for its cache (and not for file storage) Microsoft says that you can gain a ReadyBoost cache equal to which of the following?

A. A cache equal to 50 percent of the system RAM.
B. A cache equal to 150 percent of the system RAM.
C. A cache equal to the system RAM.

Question #3: Which of the following list of devices supports ReadyBoost?

A. USB 2.0 flash drive, Secure Digital cards, external card readers.
B. USB 2.0 flash drive, Secure Digital cards, CompactFlash cards.
C. USB 2.0 flash drive, Secure Digital cards, external card readers, CompactFlash cards.

The Answers:

Question #1: D. The minimum requirements are 250MB space, 2.5 MB/sec for 4KB random reads, 1.75 MB/sec for 512KB random writes. If these minimum requirements aren't met, Vista won't use the device for ReadyBoost.
Question #2: B.
Question #3: B. ReadyBoost does not support external card readers.

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