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WARNING: May Contain Adult Content. Parents are Cautioned

March 19, 2005

Microsoft Interview

Here they are - the Microsoft Interview Questions. AND THE ANSWERS!
Using these answers will guarantee you get hired at Microsoft - even if you are not applying!

Riddles

Q: Why is a manhole cover round?
A: If it were any other shape, it could fall into the hole.

Q: How many cars are there in the USA?
A: A Lot.

Q: How many manhole covers are there in the USA?
A: I don't know - I know that they're round, and I can tell you exactly why!

Q: You've got someone working for you for seven days and a gold bar to pay them. The gold bar is segmented into seven connected pieces. You must give them a piece of gold at the end of every day. If you are only allowed to make two breaks in the gold bar, how do you pay your worker?
A: Do you want me to lie to you or do you want me to tell you the truth?

Q: One train leaves Los Angeles at 15mph heading for New York. Another train leaves from New York at 20mph heading for Los Angeles on the same track. If a bird, flying at 25mph, leaves from Los Angeles at the same time as the train and flies back and forth between the two trains until they crash, how far will the bird have traveled?
A: This is a TRICK question. Remember that you're at a MicroSoft interview. The key word in the question is crash. So the correct anwser is: I don't know - but the trains probably crashed because they were running somebody else's software.

Q: Imagine a disk spinning like a record player turn table. Half of the disk is black and the other is white. Assume you have an unlimited number of color sensors. How many sensors would you have to place around the disk to determine the direction the disk is spinning? Where would they be placed?
A: That depends on which half is black and which half is white.

Q: Imagine an analog clock set to 12 o'clock. Note that the hour and minute hands overlap. How many times each day do both the hour and minute hands overlap? How would you determine the exact times of the day that this occurs?
A: Is the clock even running? And it would be hard to tell time with all those numbers over-lapping!

Q: You have two jars, 50 red marbles and 50 blue marbles. A jar will be picked at random, and then a marble will be picked from the jar. Placing all of the marbles in the jars, how can you maximize the chances of a red marble being picked? What are the exact odds of getting a red marble using your scheme?
A: Paint all the blue marbles red - then pick. Is that a good scheme(tm)?

Q: There is a room with a door (closed) and three light bulbs. Outside the room there are three switches, connected to the bulbs. You may manipulate the switches as you wish, but once you open the door you can't change them. Identify each switch with its bulb.
A: Break two of the switches - then the other one is to the light that works!

Q: Suppose you had 8 billiard balls, and one of them was slightly heavier, but the only way to tell was by putting it on a scale against another. What's the fewest number of times you'd have to use the scale to find the heavier ball?
A; Just once - if your lucky enough! Pick two balls, weight them - if one is Heavier - you found it in just one weighing!

Q: Imagine you are standing in front of a mirror, facing it. Raise your left hand. Raise your right hand. Look at your reflection. When you raise your left hand your reflection raises what appears to be his right hand. But when you tilt your head up, your reflection does too, and does not appear to tilt his/her head down. Why is it that the mirror appears to reverse left and right, but not up and down?
A: First, ask if its a concave or convex mirror.

Q: You have 4 jars of pills. Each pill is a certain weight, except for contaminated pills contained in one jar, where each pill is weight + 1. How could you tell which jar had the contaminated pills in just one measurement?
A: See who will pay the most.

Q: The SF Chronicle has a word game where all the letters are scrambled up and you have to figure out what the word is. Imagine that a scrambled word is 5 characters long: How many possible solutions are there? What if we know which 5 letters are being used?
A: Obviously there is only one solution - the one who wrote the puzzle intended.

Q: If you had an infinite supply of water and a 5 quart and 3 quart pail, how would you measure exactly 4 quarts?
A: Fill the 5 quart pail up to the 4 quart mark.

Q: You have a bucket of jelly beans. Some are red, some are blue, and some green. With your eyes closed, pick out 2 of a like color. How many do you have to grab to be sure you have 2 of the same?
A: This is another trick question - How can I pick out two of a like color with my eyes closed?

Q: If you have two buckets, one with red paint and the other with blue paint, and you take one cup from the blue bucket and poor it into the red bucket. Then you take one cup from the red bucket and poor it into the blue bucket. Which bucket has the highest ratio between red and blue? Prove it mathematically.
A: Well, for starters, What Color are the buckets!

Applications

Q: How can computer technology be integrated in an elevator system for a hundred story office building? How do you optimize for availability? How would variation of traffic over a typical work week or floor or time of day affect this?
A: No offense sir - If Microsoft did that - I would always take the stairs!

Q: How would you implement copy-protection on a control which can be embedded in a document and duplicated readily via the Internet?
A: Use a Hammer, or Matches.

Q: Define a user interface for indenting selected text in a Word document. Consider selections ranging from a single sentence up through selections of several pages. Consider selections not currently visible or only partially visible. What are the states of the new UI controls? How will the user know what the controls are for and when to use them?
A: Ok, now do you want it to actually work or not?

Q: How would you redesign an ATM?
A: For starters, make it crash every hour! Whenever the user wants to withdraw money, write a program that makes an asinine assumption about what they are doing, and have an obnoxious cartoon dollar-bill pop-up and be very condescending and treat them like a child!

Q: Suppose we wanted to run a microwave oven from the computer. What kind of software would you write to do this?
A: For starters, make the microwave blow-up every hour! Whenever somebody goes to use the microwave, write a program that makes an asinine assumption about what they are doing, and have an obnoxious cartoon oven-mit pop-up and be very condescending and treat them like a child!

Q: What is the difference between an Ethernet Address and an IP address?
A: Six.

Q: How would you design a coffee-machine for an automobile.
A: Automobiles don't drink coffee.

Q: If you could add any feature to Microsoft Word, what would it be?
A: Minus Microsoft.

Q: How would you go about building a keyboard for 1-handed users?
A: Well, depends - do you want it to work or not?

Q: How would you build an alarm clock for deaf people?
A: Simple, Ropes and Pulleys.

Thinkers

Q: How are M&Ms made?
A: By the easter bunny

Q: If you had a clock with lots of moving mechanical parts, you took it apart piece by piece without keeping track of the method of how it was disassembled, then you put it back together and discovered that 3 important parts were not included; how would you go about reassembling the clock?
A: Is it an Analog or Digital Clock?

Q: If you had to learn a new computer language, how would you go about doing it?
A: Osmosis

Q: You have been assigned to design Bill Gates bathroom. Naturally, cost is not a consideration. You may not speak to Bill.
A: Cool - revenge is sweet!

Q: What was the hardest question asked of you so far today?
A: What Questions?

Q: If MS told you we were willing to invest $5 million in a start up of your choice, what business would you start? Why?
A: Whatever they decided my choice was - do I have to use my real name?

Q: Explain a scenario for testing a salt shaker.
A: Dinner.

Q: If you are going to receive an award in 5 years, what is it for and who is the audience?
A: Formatting my hard-drive and re-installing windows(tm) without re-installing DirectX8(tm).

Q: How would you explain how to use Microsoft Excel to your grandma?
A: Start->Settings->Control-Panel->Add Remove Programs, then remove Microsoft(tm) Excel. Then hand her some paper and a pencil - paper won't crash every hour.

Q: Why is it that when you turn on the hot water in any hotel, for example, the hot water comes pouring out almost instantaneously?
A: Cause and effect - when you turn on hot water - you get hot water - Faucets aren't designed by Microsoft(tm) yet.

Q: Why do you want to work at Microsoft?
A: Blurred vision and un-natural sexual practices.

Q: Suppose you go home, enter your house/apartment, hit the light switch, and nothing happens - no light floods the room. What exactly, in order, are the steps you would take in determining what the problem was?
A: Depends - am I in a horror movie?

Q: Interviewer hands you a black pen and says nothing but "This pen is red."
A: Ah - you must be a Microsoft(tm) Employee!

Q: What is the airspeed of an unlaiden swallow?
A: What do you mean? An African or European Swallow?

What have we learned here? What do these interview Questions tell us?
They tell us that Microsoft employees know alot about

    Manhole covers.
    How many cars are out there
    Train Crashes
    Spinning Disks
    Analog Clocks
    Marbles and Jars
    Pills
    Coffee Machines for Automiblies
    M & M's
    Salt Shakers

Its too bad they don't know anything about writing software that actually works.

To Learn More About Microsoft, Visit thier website WWW.MICROSOFT(tm).COM