Gates admits Control-Alt-Delete was a mistake

Bill Gates has admitted the puzzling Control-Alt-Delete key combination used to access the login screen is dumb.

Speaking to Harvard University, Gates said that it was a mistake and the process should have been performed with a single button.

He added that it was not really Microsoft’s fault. Apparently the guy who did the IBM keyboard design refused to provide Microsoft with a single button.

Control-Alt-Delete was originally designed to reboot a PC, in the early versions of Windows it was a log-in screen. The IBM PC that Gates helped develop was introduced in 1981 and he was at the mercy of suits at Big Blue.

According to Geekwire, it finally explains why Microsoft used the somewhat difficult keyboard combination.

The version of the story fleshes out what David Bradley, the engineer who came up with the Control-Alt-Delete sequence said in a 2001 interview marking the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC. He said at that time that he invented Control-Alt-Delete, but “Bill made it famous”.

Bradley said he did not know why Gates used Control-Alt-Delete for the login screen, a hole in the story which Gates has finally cleared up.

Windows XP and Windows 7 still use Control-Alt-Delete and it works in Windows 8 as a shortcut for locking your PC or accessing the task manager.