Gates calls Ctrl+Alt+Del command a mistake

Keyboard closeup Bill Gates favoured a one-button alternative to Ctrl+Alt+Del

Related Stories

Bill Gates has described the decision to use Ctrl+Alt+Del as the command needed to log on to a PC as a mistake.

Originally designed to trigger a reboot of a PC, it survives in the Windows 8 operating system as the command to access the task manager toolbar and is still used in older versions to log on.

In an interview, the Microsoft co-founder blamed IBM for the shortcut, saying he had favoured a single button.

The keyboard shortcut was invented by IBM engineer David Bradley.

Originally he had favoured Ctrl+Alt+Esc, but he found it was too easy to bump the left side of the keyboard and reboot the computer accidentally so switched to Ctrl+Alt+Del because it was difficult to press with just one hand.

During IBM's 20th anniversary celebrations, he said that while he may have invented it, Bill Gates made it famous.

His involvement in the invention has made him something of a programming hero though- with fans asking him to autograph keyboards at conferences.

Finger strike

The shortcut, also known as the three-finger salute - came to prominence in the early 1990s as a quick fix for the infamous "blue screen of death" on PCs.

But speaking at a fundraising campaign at Harvard University, Mr Gates said he thought that it had been a mistake.

"We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button."

While some loathe the clunky command, others took to news site Reddit to express their fondness for it.

"I feel a single button would be a mistake," said one.

"There's a conscious commitment and in many cases a sense of satisfying sword play in executing the two-handed finger strike of Ctrl-Alt-Del."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Technology stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • SyedTanks instead of toys

    Lyse Doucet on the plight of children in Syria and Gaza


  • Silhouette of manSuper-shy

    Why do Germany's super-rich so often keep their heads down?


  • Children playing in Seoul fountainDay in pictures

    The best news photos from around the world in the past 24 hours


  • Gin drinkerMother's ruin

    The time when gin was full of sulphuric acid and turpentine


BBC Future

(Getty Images)

Interactive: How planes crash

Shedding light on air disasters Read more...

Programmes

  • The smartphones of shoppers being tracked in a storeClick Watch

    How free wi-fi can enable businesses to track our movements and learn more about us

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.