Bill Gates Mistake: Control-Alt-Delete Should've Never Happened

Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 04:52 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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If Microsoft mogul Bill Gates had a CTRL Z for life, he’d apparently undo the CTRL-ALT-DEL combination of keys that just about every Windows user knows.

Gates finally admitted at a Harvard fundraising event last week that the three-key sequence was a mistake.

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“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,” Geekwire quoted Gates as saying. “We programmed at a low level. ... It was a mistake.”

Many have questioned why in the world Microsoft chose such a clunky command to log into its computers. Most users know it as the go-to command they use if a program freezes or to access system information.

The question on the birth of CTRL-ALT-DEL has been addressed over the years, including by Microsoft engineer David Bradley, who is credited with being the father of the command.

Bradley said the command was originally set up to reboot the PC and for use during development stages, with no intention of making it available to users, "Good Morning America" said. Obviously, that plan went awry at some point. It’s still a valid command in the Windows 8 release.

“I wasn’t really enamored with control-alt-delete,” Bradley told CNET in a different interview some time ago, but added that he thinks Microsoft was right in adding the command to be used in the way it is now. If it had stayed as a reboot command, that could have caused users untold nightmares over lost data. He doesn’t know, though, why it was ever used to take users to a log-on screen.

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Related stories:

Bill Gates Is the Richest in the US – and the World, Forbes Says

Bill Gates: Lasker Awards Go to Philanthropist, 5 Scientists

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