The Right Click

Bill Gates calls the awkward Control-Alt-Delete command a mistake

The Right Click

Ever thought the key combination of Ctrl-Alt-Delete was a little awkward for every time you want to restart your computer? Well the former head of Microsoft, Bill Gates, says that it wasn’t meant to be like that, and blames IBM for it.

In an interview at Harvard last week, Gates said that they needed a key combination to signal to the hardware to start the operating system, preventing other applications from faking a login prompt and stealing a password, The Verge explains.

“We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t wanna give us our single button,” said Gates. “It was a mistake.”

To hear Gates answer the question, skip ahead to 16:40:

‘The guy’ Gates is referring to is David Bradley, an engineer who worked on the original IBM PC, and he’s previously laid the blame on Bill Gates. In an earlier interview, Bradley said “I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous.”

[ Related: World’s thinnest keyboard unveiled by English company CSR ]

You can see Gates unamused reaction to Bradley’s comment here:

(Yikes, can you say ‘awkward’?)

The ubiquitous presence of Ctrl+Alt+Delete has been greatly reduced in later versions of the Windows operating system, although even in Windows 8, pressing that key combination will still take you to the Lock/Switch User/Sign Out/Task Manager options.

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