January 2007 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our January 2007 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Windows XP Cookbook," goes to Piet van Dijk, of The Netherlands. Second prize, a copy of "Windows Vista in a Nutshell," goes to Dennis Winter, of California. Both books are from O’Reilly Media.

I offered an additional prize for the best answer to the extra credit question, but the readers who sent responses that described an easy and efficient method (many of which were also clever and funny) didn't include their addresses, so no additional prize is awarded. (I didn't think solutions that required multiple, complicated steps, as well as a script, were "efficient" enough to deserve a prize.)

February 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 challenge@windowsitpro.com by February 12, 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 e-mail receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem here ( http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid= 95075 ) on February 13, 2007.

February 2007 Challenge:

A reader wrote to tell me about a lunchtime discussion with several members of the IT department. The majority of the participants (and the majority of his IT department) grew up in Windows, but a few started with DOS.

The company is planning to upgrade some departments that have important security concerns (i.e., accounting, HR) to Windows Vista. The IT Pros who work in the test lab were commenting that, by default, Vista didn’t present the typical Ctrl+Alt+Del dialog box when Windows boots. The older folks said they remembered when the "three-finger salute" could only be read by the BIOS and caused the computer to reboot.

A conversation about Ctrl+Alt+Del ensued, and our correspondent said he was amazed at how little people knew about this powerful key combination. How much do you know about the C-A-D secure attention sequence?

Question 1: The C-A-D secure attention sequence produced the Task Manager, not a logon dialog box, until which of the following versions of Windows:

A. Windows 98 Second Edition
B. Windows NT
C. Windows XP

Question 2: In versions of Windows where the C-A-D sequence results in a logon dialog box, which of the following events is correct?

A. The sequence talks to the BIOS, which has been instructed by Windows to turn control over to Windows instead of rebooting.
B. The sequence is intercepted by Windows and is never read by the BIOS.

Question 3. When Windows responds to the sequence, which of the following is the only Windows process that can respond?

A. NT Loader (NTLDR)
B. winlogon.exe
C. NTDETECT.COM
D. boot.ini
E. winload.exe

You can find last month's reader challenge, and the answers, at the Windows IT Pro Web site, InstantDoc ID 94784 or click http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/94784/94784.html

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Answers to February 2007 Reader Challenge:

The correct answer to all three questions is B.

More information on Question #3: Only winlogon.exe can respond to the Ctrl+Alt+Del sequence, because its Process ID is stored by the Windows kernel, which makes sure that only winlogon.exe responds. (Every process contains its own independent virtual address space with both code and data protected from other processes, and its ID is tracked by the Windows kernel.) Incidentally, Windows Vista doesn't use boot.ini--you might want to remember that fact for future UPDATE Challenges.