Windows

Test your knowledge of Windows XP performance again

How much do you really know about Windows XP performance? Test your knowledge in this TechRepublic Quiz and then compare your score with your peers.

Back in 2005, TechRepublic published a quiz on tweaking and troubleshooting the performance of Microsoft Windows XP. The results of the quiz were very revealing. It turned out that many taking the quiz failed to answer the majority of the questions correctly.

Now, some three years later, it is time to see just how well you know your Windows XP performance. We have republished the quiz in the Microsoft Windows blog and invite you to test you skills once again.

The quiz is a standard Macromedia Flash file, so you will need to have Flash Player installed on your PC.

The TechRepublic Windows XP Performance Quiz

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

90 comments
sammy.mah
sammy.mah

Did anyone implement all 12?

egm96
egm96

couldn't follow link to quiz, help?

Betageek52
Betageek52

WOOOOHOOOOO!!! I dont know it all, but I knew all of these! *Takes a BOW!!!*

ihfwt
ihfwt

11/12. I didn't know the answer to how many fonts can XP support.

yomalc
yomalc

well as a really dumb pc user who knows nothing, i got 5 right, no training no qualifications and actually 1 very old second hand machine.... i think i did very well!!

CaptBilly1Eye
CaptBilly1Eye

So where's my prize? :D ...shoulda been more questions. .

cubby
cubby

I find this quiz interesting and wondering if there's a way to get ALL the right answers. I mean, that this quiz not only evaluate the knowledge the IT community has but to let us learn in the way too.

roger
roger

Guess that tells you how well I would do on this test.

mastertexan
mastertexan

The second time around. The first time my score was 4/12. This was also my first time taking the test.

Cisco-SA
Cisco-SA

9 out of 12; I had to guess on the font question. Still the font question was a subjective response because it asked ..."before you would notice a slow down in the startup"... With all the crapware, companyware, virusscanware loading on top of WinXP, how would I notice? I also missed the question about disabling cache where would something go, oddly worded; I knew the answer but could not understand the question.

Thump21
Thump21

If you must know such obscure minutiae to make your OS perform better, there's something inherently wrong with its design (and designer).

petkovass
petkovass

Tell me where can i read something about Windows registry-i downloaded a book of Gerry Honeycut,but there must be shorter item i think...

lplpaca
lplpaca

I had to guess at the number of fonts - luckily I guessed correct, and got the full monty - 12 / 12 I amazed myself!

jim.roberts
jim.roberts

I never install, support, or tweak pc settings so I did better than I thought I might. I got 5 right and if I had gone with my initial gut feeling on two more it would have been 7. If the max memory one had specified 32 bit I would have had that one as well.

OrlnOrtiz
OrlnOrtiz

I said 8GB, the program said I was wrong, that the answer was 4GB. I ran 64-bit XP with 8GB of memory. That question should be a bit clearer in referring to the 32-bit version.

salim
salim

i only got 5 correct answers

douglasgross
douglasgross

Blame ITT Tech! Just kidding. Well, I guess I really could stand to read that Microsoft book on XP sitting on my shelf after all. I thought it was below my level of understanding. In my defense though, I switched from networking to web development in school. Now give me a CSS quiz and I will pass it with flying colors. Switched to Kaplan University, and am still working on my skills. Not going back into networking till I get a BA in Web Development. Though I will start working on the A+ Certification soon. Heh, I am an honor student and I got only one right!!!

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

got 10 out of 12. I guess i'm not too surprised, but it was a good mix of questions. Though the "disablepaging exec" question did not display "RAM". Ya just had to know thats where it moved stuff to.

icbhod
icbhod

Better than I thought......11 out of 12

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

How many of the Windows XP Performance quiz questions did you get correct? Does the result surprise you?

older ****
older ****

As an instructor of mine said when challenged why he was known on campus as "the 'puter guru" [which he denied]: "Nobody knows it all"--which is pretty much true, methinks. Anyway, there are a couple of the questions which I challenge. 1. Menu Show delay answer should be: Navigate to: ?HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\? Create/Modify Value Name: "MenuShowDelay" Right click and select ?Modify? Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value) Value Data: 0-999 (milliseconds) [Default=400] Now Navigate to: ?HKU\Default\Control Panel\Desktop\? Create/Modify Value Name: "MenuShowDelay" Right click and select ?Modify? Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value) Value Data: 0-999 (milliseconds) [Default=400] [I use 50] if you do the first, but not the second hack, the PC will hesitate on the sub-menus. Doing both, it Screams. [I'm Gateway 503GR/3GHz P4-530 HTT/2GB DDR RAM/64MB o/b vid/32GB SSD primary/150GB SATA Secondary] The other [2] which concern prefetch and page exec, I'll "simmer on the back burner", before/if I post further. [I got 9/12], but a good test.--I agree it needs more questions. A good one would be "Process Idle Tasks": A great new feature in Microsoft Windows XP is the ability to do a boot defragment. This places all boot files next to each other on the disk to allow for faster booting. By default this option is enabled but on some builds it is not, So below is how to turn it on. Navigate to: ?HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction? Select ?Enable? from the list on the right Right click on it and select ?Modify? Change the value to ?Y to enable? Use your computer's idle time wisely! Windows contains a feature that allows the PC to optimize your hard drive as your computer runs idle. (a mysterious term, but I have noticed [noticeable!], improvements personally) Navigate to: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OptimalLayout. Find/Create the REG_DWORD "EnableAutoLayout;" set the DWORD = 1 to enable the optimization Once set, you should soon notice some performance increase. If not, complain to Microsoft about it. As an additional note to these registry hacks and the comments regarding "BootVis" in item #8, a command can be entered in the "Start>>Run" box, to force a "BootOptimizeFunction". This command consists of "Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll, ProcessIdleTasks". This command is the basis of the BootVis tool. However, to make this work both of the hacks above must be executed beforehand ["Y" and "1"], otherwise it will not take place. Windows will do this task on its own, but the best method is to force Windows to do it, by creating a shortcut on your desktop with the command line above [sans quotes], as the target location. You can create that shortcut, then move it into the start menu, preferrably the "Accesssories Group. Name it "Process Idle Tasks". Then, any time you have excess/idle computer time on your hands, you can click on it to put Windows into action, to realign any startup/boot files. Also this works better if no screensaver/hibernate/power down functions in display properties are active. As a final note, be aware this process can take considerable time [20-30-45 minutes or more], especially the first time. The secret is to watch the HDD light for activity, and not interrupt the process until it is finished. I use the process at the end of the night, start it, then just turn off the monitor only, and leave the computer running all night till morning, while I sleep.

btljooz
btljooz

It states right there in the article (next to last sentence) that one must have Flash installed and enabled to take the test. ;) It gives the link to get Flash from, too. :) ------ Fixed a mistake > EDIT

TaDaH
TaDaH

The 2nd time around. I think I was in a bit of a rush the 1st time and not focusing enough. The font and the alternate configuration got me the first time.

edgar.vera
edgar.vera

Not bad at all, but then again it could have been the cup of joe I had before taking the test! The memory question I got right but that is assuming that it?s for a 32 bit OS. I haven't seen too much of 64 bit around. Maybe I need to start playing around with it. Who knows. I might switch! lol

btljooz
btljooz

What is more "obscure"? a. Those twelve steps. b. The gobbledygook and plethora of Command Line. EH? ?:| ]:) ;\ LOL! :^0 ------ Syntax > EDIT

jim.roberts
jim.roberts

I never install, support, or tweak pc settings so I did better than I thought I might. I got 5 right and if I had gone with my initial gut feeling on two more it would have been 7. If the max memory one had specified 32 bit I would have had that one as well.

petkovass
petkovass

You 're right -of course 64 OS can run 8 GB ,even unlimited .

hatfira
hatfira

This quiz was originally given before the 64 bit version came out. This is why the 4GB was correct and why 64 bit was not mentioned. It wasn't a trick question... Simply an outdated one.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

The quibble over the 64-bit v. 32-bit question leads me to a follow-up question: How many of you are using or supporting 64-bit operating systems these days? I think I may need a 64-bit test machine.

april
april

Those of you complaining about the 4GB vs 8GB limit (32-bit vs. 64-bit), you gotta remember that this was a rebirth of a 2005 quiz. Sorta indicates that the quiz was probably asking about 32-bit XP. I got a perfect score, but it's just a quiz. Now ask me what I WORE yesterday...

dragon_hunter21
dragon_hunter21

Heh... 15 year old high-school freshman got 1/2. Although I suppose I was kinda lucky...

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

We must be learning - more than a few people had trouble answering the quiz back in 2005.

jlieder
jlieder

8 correct, 4 incorrect. Better than I expected as I'm not a trained IT guy, just learned from hard knocks. Love computers. Too bad they weren't more prevalent when I was in college, might have ended up in IT rather than as a CPA. I know I would have enjoyed it more.

bigjessy
bigjessy

I didn't do too bad for an "off the cuff" test. Must admit that two of my correct answer were an "educated guess". I remember these type of tests from my MS certification days. MS always wanted you to think (?). I remember one particular 40 odd multi-choice questionnaire where the there were four possible answers. Two you knew were wrong and two were nearly worded the same. One of these was "configure ..... and reboot" the other was "configure .............and refresh". I of course chose the "reboot". BOTH answers were correct, HOWEVER the MS creed is "what ever is least intrusive to the system". Result, WRONG! I tried not to make the same mistake again. You have to think like MS to pass regardless of what you believe is the best option. Take the 4GB max. RAM for XP - I have configured many XP business and home machines and have yet to have one perform well with 4Gigs. 3Gigs is perfect. At some stage you will get a stacks overflow error with the usual BSOD. Regards Pat

DNSB
DNSB

I had several quibbles. The control panel applet in #11 is called System not System Properties though the windows that opens says System Properties as it's title, #4 seemed to be missing a RAM at the end of the question. No mention of what flavour of Windows XP (32 or 64 bit) in #7. And even there, a Windows XP 32 bit system with 4GB of physical RAM will show only 3.62GB present.

tomirock
tomirock

reinstalled flash 10...still fails to load. user error, i'm sure. any thoughts? t

d_g_l_s
d_g_l_s

is incomplete and is therefore a bit misleading.

btljooz
btljooz

I did fairly well in that I got five correct. However, two of the ones I missed I misunderstood the question and answered too quickly on. So I actually knew the answers to seven of the questions. The ones I didn't know, I *now* know. So it's been a positive learning experience for me! :D

cmaritz
cmaritz

I got 7 correct, which was kinda disappointing, but then I realised that the ones I got wrong I could have worked out in less than 5 minutes, if it was a hands-on type of test. And that's more like how it works in IT: Someone asks me a question, and if I don't know on the spot, the chances are still good that I at least know what general direction to look in, and then find it out or work it out quickly from there. So I refuse to remain discouraged by my junk score, and neither should any of you! :-) Time to celebrate with another cup of coffee.

Countrynet
Countrynet

OK, some of us had to stop and think back a little again...does anyone else know how many, if any, of these also apply to a Vista OS?

bladeoz
bladeoz

50% isn't too bad ;) I feel more of that stuff is system admin related.

TaDaH
TaDaH

How did I do on the quiz? 8 correct; 4 incorrect: 8/12=67%; not as well as I should have.

C
C

I have two quibbles with the test. The first is the wording of question 4: "Editing the registry and setting the DisablePagingExecutive value to 1 will move what portion of the operating system into..." into what? I assumed it was RAM and guessed right, but I shouldn't have to guess. The second quibble is question 9: "You can launch the System Configuration Utility with the command msconfig and from within which of these tools?" Whos cares? As long as you have one way to launch the configuration utility, why go looking for another? I use the msconfig command from 'Run...' on the start menu. Okay, I guess I'm getting a little nit-picky :-)

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

9 of 12, even got the one that ended in mid air... Good test.

Jonb123456
Jonb123456

4 Correct 8 Incorrect In all the years of administrating XP, I have not had to make configuration changes such as those in these questions. Am I really losing out or are these tweaks not effective enough to really matter?

ryno
ryno

I Got 6 and i learned a few things from those questions

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

I got 7 right, but I was undecided on 2 others and picked the wrong answer - so really I got 9 correct, except that I only answered 7 right. Mmm... ;)

dkoch
dkoch

OK only 8 out of 10, but that's while answering the phone and responding to e-mail (don't all IT folks work that way?). I agree that the question about memory should have stated 32 or 64 bit. Got that one right but only after "assuming" it was a trick question. The 64bit machine I am sitting at has 8GB in it.

BoyDKR
BoyDKR

Answered all questions correctly.

MGP2
MGP2

A. [i]How many of the Windows XP Performance quiz questions did you get correct?[/i] That's classified. I could tell you....but then I'd have to kill you. B. [i]Does the result surprise you?[/i] Aren't these questions getting a little personal now? ;-) OK, I got a 50. But in fairness to myself (read: If I have to make up a damned excuse, I will), is it REALLY that important that I know that "my network places" can't be configured as a link or a menu? Also (not an excuse, cuz I got it right), one of the questions is not worded properly. The one about "what portion is moved into the _______" It didn't make sense. But, again, I got it right, so it's not THAT much of a problem. ]:)

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

on the max memory for XP, it did not state 32 or 64 bit. Although it doesnt really matter since 64-bit can do more than 8GB. aside from that, I did Worse than I thought. However after the 'incorrect' came up I knew why it was wrong. not enough coffee yet -- not the right time for unexpected tests :^0 Well, at least I got 7 right :0

Merlin the Wiz
Merlin the Wiz

If you decide to move to XP 64, I suggest you check and make sure all of the hardware you have to have, need, want or even think about have drivers available. I purchased a canon all in one printer, copier, scanner for XP 64. No driver, no expectation for a 64 bit driver according to Canon support. So my significant other now has a new all-in one.

Merlin the Wiz
Merlin the Wiz

If you decide to move to XP 64, I suggest you check and make sure all of the hardware you have to have, need, want or even think about have drivers available. I purchased a canon all in one printer, copier, scanner for XP 64. No driver, no expectation for a 64 bit driver according to Canon support. So my significant other has a new all-in one.

Merlin the Wiz
Merlin the Wiz

If you decide to move to XP 64, I suggest you check and make sure all of the hardware you have to have, need, want or even think about have drivers available. I purchased a canon all in one printer, copier, scanner for XP 64. No driver, no expectation for a 64 bit driver according to Canon support. So my significant other has a new all-in one.

DNSB
DNSB

So far only test machines. Very few advantages to using 64 bit desktops and quite a few disadvantages -- until you run them on a 64 bit machines, you don't realize how many apps are using 16 bit code.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I am not supporting it and it spends most of its time off because I dont have time to play with it. Oh, and I dont care too much for Vista as well :0 But the company install of Vista is 32-bit anyway, so I was just playin with it a bit (actually I wanted to add 8GB RAM to see if the SW that the company used would actually not kill a system -- didnt work, it still dogged like crazy)

OrlnOrtiz
OrlnOrtiz

You are correct... According to Microsoft: "Supports up to 16 GB of RAM and 16 TB of virtual memory" (Source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en- us/library/bb457053.aspx) But the highest option was 8GB, so that's what I went with :)

douglasgross
douglasgross

That is a hard quiz. I think it was intended more for people with certifications from Microsoft.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

obscure mix of tweaks for those that really tweak their systems.

C
C

I routinely change MenuShowDelay to 100 and DisablePagingExecutive to 1, as well as killing most of the visual effects through System Properties. That's just me, though. I like a Spartan user interface :-)

noemib
noemib

Totally... I got 6 right, but I too have never had to use any of these "tweaks" in all my years of administering XP machines. Oh well, u win some, u lose some... Hey, I still have my job so I must be doing something right!

jwildhair
jwildhair

I got 6 right as well & for a non tech, it ain't too bad. Plus the only ones I got wrong I guessed at (except System Properties - don't know how I missed that 1).

Betageek52
Betageek52

It DID get me to see if I could launch MSConfig from inside a cmd window. I never tried that before.

LincolnIT
LincolnIT

I felt like I should of done better, but I did learn that you can access the System Info Util from the Help and Support page. I always use msconfig. Also, the visual effects question actually has two correct answers, although the correct one on the quiz is probably the better answer.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

except those that I got wrong on the test were 5 not 2 :D

lhjr1947
lhjr1947

AWWW RIGHHHHHHT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

Yes, it *does* make a difference when the question makes no sense. That was 1 of the 3 that I got wrong and probably because of the same thing; I didn't understand the context of the question due to its wording.

Your Mom 2.0
Your Mom 2.0

...and like MGP2, I agree that the question about what portion is moved to ??? didn't make any sense. Were we looking for the "what" or the "where"? Or were both the same thing? Maybe I just didn't understand it. I knew a few but also guessed at a few and got them right. Guess I don't do much tweaking to the systems I support. When something comes up that I can't do, I look up the info and know it from that point on. Keep the quizzes coming. I find I learn from them when I don't already know all the answers. 8 correct /4 incorrect.

cmaritz
cmaritz

Also got only 7 correct. Sheer suckness I say ... going to have to drown my sorrows in another cup of coffee.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

added extensions to allow some versions of Windows Server hit those RAM specs, but I believe that 16GB is the max for 64-bit. Edit: Oops, it appears I was a tad off. The maximum would be 16 exebytes, not GB :0 Wow, that would be one SCREAMING system huh :D http://www.reselleradvocate.com/public/ram/issues/ram27/ram27_64bit01.html It appears it is the OS's and MB's limitations now. Win Server maxes at 64, and 128 so it is likely XP would max at 16 GB (it never liked gobs of RAM anyway). And a second link for confirmation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64_bit

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

And I can't remember where. Just before I purchased XP X64, I read a chart that compared it to Vista 64 and stated that it(XP) could use 128 Gig of memory. I can't remember what Vista 64 could use because I have no intentions of using Vista, But it was much more. I can't afford 128 Gig, don't have the slots or bios for it, either (yet). I can't imagine using that much memory. But then, I can remember when 4 Meg was too pricey for the budget and it took 4 cards to get it. And 64 Meg was some distant fantasy. . . . (your link is broken,too. page not found)

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I looked at it like this. 16GB wasnt an option, and as I thought it was the 64 bit max, it had to be 32 bit question. :) Just how I thought it, and I got it right :) Even Better.

Betageek52
Betageek52

IT people do a Thankless job sometimes.

interpoI
interpoI

I got an 8 as well :( I guess that's not all that bad? Maybe if I take it again I'll get a better score? :)

sevenex
sevenex

I agree with Timbo. Why submit the question to us if it isn't complete? OTOH, there were some GOOD questions in it, so kudos for the effort!

mjhammer
mjhammer

As I said, I got 9 of 12, and really after I missed them, I went 'DOH' cuz I really knew the correct answer, it just wouldn't come out when I needed it, heheh.

cmate
cmate

I only got 1 correct but I don't consider that a failure ... this is my second incarnation with TechRepublic and in all the years of reading and seeking advice on tweaking XP, I can honestly say I do not recall ever seeing advice on any if the points raised in the quiz. I setup new computers daily and use a list of about 20 tweaks ... all gleaned from TR ... and they work a treat on desktops and laptops ... including 3 of my own workshop and office desktops. If there are others like me who have also "failed" the quiz, don't despair, as long as the computers you have tweaked are doing what they're supposed to be doing and performing better. A quiz regarding disabling Auto Updates, Secutity Centre, MS Time, Annoying OS PopUps, Error Messages, etc. would, I think, been more relative.

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

That is one of the first steps I use in any tune-up or on any computer that I work on that has more than 256mb of memory. It's not that way by default and with MOST (still not all)XP systems, there is at least that much memory. I missed 3, though. Not that they matter much with the systems I get to work on.

tkeller
tkeller

I had a nine of twelve score as well. I was disappointed at first, but in retrospect, it's not bad. And I'm not in IT. :)

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

you must tweak some things that I havent had to before

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I will need to be more caffeinated too! :)