# 78 Microsoft Interview Questions

**December 31st, 2009** by lewis

### SEE ALSO: Microsoft program manager interview class

Here’s a list of Microsoft interview questions. Many of our clients have interviewed and received Microsoft job offers. Contact us for a free 15 minute interview analysis before your Microsoft interview.

**Link to Microsoft interview questions for:**

- What types of projects (academic or otherwise) have inspired you in the past?
- What are some self-directed missions that may have influenced your career direction?
- Did you have a moment of epiphany when you KNEW what you wanted to be when you grew up?
- How does Microsoft fit into your vision?
- What are some things that excite and motivate you?
- What are some examples of poorly/well-designed software? What makes the software this way and how would you change it?
- What is your favorite Microsoft product? Why?
- What is your least favorite Microsoft product? Why?
- Explain a database to a young child.
- Explain the Internet to your grandparents
- What is your favorite web site? Why? Now improve it.
- Steve Jobs calls and asks you to improve the iPod. Go.
- What’s an example of great product design?
- Why do mirrors reverse right and left instead of up and down?
- If a bear walks one mile south, turns left and walks one mile to the east and then turns left again and walks one mile north and arrives at its original position, what is the color of the bear.
- How would go about finding out where to find a book in a library. (You do not know how exactly the books are organized beforehand).
- A band is going in the street with a constant speed. Someone in the last row has a dog. The dog runs ahead, reaches the front row of the band and gets back to it’s owner. The dog’s speed was constant all the way and while it was running the band passed 50 feet. Find the length of the dog’s path,if the distance between the front and the rear row of the band is 50 feet.
- The government wants cars to keep track of whether or not they are speeding. The part to determine this is already able to determine the speed of the vehicle, how would you design the rest of the system.
- How many times a day do the hands on a clock overlap themselves?
- You have 8 balls. One of them is defective and weighs less than others. You have a balance to measure balls against each other. In 2 weighings, how do you find the defective one?
- There are 3 baskets. one of them have apples, one has oranges only and the other has mixture of apples and oranges. The labels on their baskets always lie. (i.e. if the label says oranges, you are sure that it doesn’t have oranges only,it could be a mixture) The task is to pick one basket and pick only one fruit from it and then correctly label all the three baskets.
- Why is a manhole cover round?
- How many cars are there in the USA?
- 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?
- 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 collide, how far will the bird have traveled?
- 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?
- 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?
- You have 5 jars of pills. Each pill weighs 10 gram, except for contaminated pills contained in one jar, where each pill weighs 9 gm. Given a scale, how could you tell which jar had the contaminated pills in just one measurement?
- If you had an infinite supply of water and a 5 quart and 3 quart pail, how would you measure exactly 4 quarts?
- 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?
- Which way should the key turn in a car door to unlock it?
- If you could remove any of the 50 states, which state would it be and why?
- There are four ants at four corners of a square of unit distance. At the same instant all of them start running with unit speed towards the person on their clockwise direction and will always run towards that target. How long does it take for them to meet and where?
- Design a music system for a car. What are the features? Draw a picture.
- Design a GPS navigation unit for a hiker.
- Design a communication device for Canadian park rangers.
- Design a remote control for an automatic window-blind system.
- Design a coffee maker that will be used by astronauts.
- Design an alarm clock.
- Design an alarm clock for a blind person.
- Design a search function.
- What are examples of poorly designed software?
- Design an instant messaging system.
- I am your grandmother. Describe what MATLAB is to me.
- How would you explain what a database is to a 5-year-old?
- Develop an algorithm for selecting objects in Visio.
- Tell me about a time when you made a decision and later found out that it was incorrect. What did you do to resolve the issue?
- Suppose you are one week away from the product shipping date and discover a bug in your software. What do you do?
- How would you test a keyboard?
- How would you test a pen?
- Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval?
- How would you test an elevator?
- How would you test a vending machine?
- How would you test a program that takes in two points and outputs the distance between the two points?
- Test the Windows scroll bar.
- Given a rectangular (cuboid for the puritans) cake with a rectangular piece removed (any size or orientation), how would you cut the remainder of the cake into two equal halves with one straight cut of a knife?

- You’re given an array containing both positive and negative integers and required to find the sub-array with the largest sum (O(N) a la KBL). Write a routine in C for the above.
- Given an array of size N in which every number is between 1 and N, determine if there are any duplicates in it. You are allowed to destroy the array if you like. [ I ended up giving about 4 or 5 different solutions for this, each supposedly better than the others ].
- Write a routine to draw a circle (x ** 2 + y ** 2 = r ** 2) without making use of any floating point computations at all.
- Given only putchar (no sprintf, itoa, etc.) write a routine putlong that prints out an unsigned long in decimal.
- Give a one-line C expression to test whether a number is a power of 2. No loops allowed.
- Given an array of characters which form a sentence of words, give an efficient algorithm to reverse the order of the words (not characters) in it.
- Give a good method to count the number of ones in a “n” (e.g. 32) bit number.
- What are the different ways to implement a condition where the value of x can be either a 0 or a 1?
- Reverse a linked list.
- Insert in a sorted list.

- Why do you want to work for Microsoft?
- How would you deal with changes being made a week or so before the ship date?
- How would you deal with a bug that no one wants to fix? Both the SDE and his lead have said they won’t fix it.
- Write a function that counts the number of primes in the range [1-N]. Write the test cases for this function.
- Given a MAKEFILE, design the data structure that a parser would create and then write code that iterates over that data structure executing commands if needed.
- Write a function that inserts an integer into a linked list in ascending order. Write the test cases for this function.
- Test the save dialog in Notepad.
- Write the InStr function. Write the test cases for this function.
- Write a function that will return the number of days in a month (no using System.DateTime).
- You have 3 jars. Each jar has a label on it: white, black, or white&black. You have 3 sets of marbles: white, black, and white&black. One set is stored in one jar. The labels on the jars are guaranteed to be incorrect (i.e. white will not contain white). Which jar would you choose from to give you the best chances of identifying the which set of marbles in is in which jar.
- Write the test cases for a vending machine.

### SEE ALSO: Microsoft program manager interview class

*Sources*

http://halcyon.usc.edu/~kiran/msqs.html (retrieved 12/29/2009)

http://www.sellsbrothers.com/fun/msiview/ (retrieved 12/29/2009)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_interview

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January 07, 2010 at 1:28 pm, Anonymous said:

Nice set of questions… Do you have answers to these questions? I found some of the answers here… My Tech Interviews.

Good Luck

November 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm, Mihai Roman said:

Solutions for linked lists related questions: http://dailyjobquestions.com/2011/11/09/microsoft-linked-lists/

http://dailyjobquestions.com/2011/10/14/loop-test/

Solutions for math problems involving probabilities: http://dailyjobquestions.com/2011/10/27/microsoft-probabilities-math/

Logical reasoning puzzles: http://dailyjobquestions.com/2011/10/25/microsoft-logical-reasoning/

http://dailyjobquestions.com/2011/10/26/microsoft-logical-reasoning/

Also searching in a circularly sorted list: http://dailyjobquestions.com/2011/10/13/circular-binary-search/