Bill Gates Says Control-Alt-Delete Was a "Mistake," Points the Finger at IBM

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ApathyCurve

I think Bill's been hitting those breakfast bloody marys a bit too hard of late. The purpose of C-A-D was that it had to be a very deliberate action rather than a slip of the hand. I wouldn't want a keyboard with a "reboot" button on it, and I can't imagine that anyone else would, either. Oh, I guess there are a few contrarians who would claim to like it, but they're probably the same 0.1% of people who claim they actually use the Windows key.

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MaximumMike

Well, I'm here to tell you that I use the windows button... every time I fat finger it trying to hit ctrl or alt :P

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Belboz99

There's still a whole lot of POSIX standard keyboard shortcuts that are virtually undocumented that work within Windows.

Some of the ones I use often include shift+ins to paste, one that at least in Linux is useful to paste within a terminal, where Ctrl+V does not work. Having a single paste shortcut is nice so I don't have to switch my keyboard shortcut based on what OS I'm in, but I found it completely by accident (habitually using Shift+Ins).

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jeffroland

This article is out of context. Gates says he regrets it because people had to log in to their account with ctrl-alt-del. His regret had NOTHING to do with bring up task manager. Paul, you should at least get the context right if you're going to post about something, otherwise you're misleading your readers.

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MaximumMike

Mistake? I thought it was one of the few things they did right.

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Philippe Lemay

To clarify, he wasn't saying they shouldn't have had the function at all. He was saying it should have had it's own dedicated button on the keyboard.

A kind of "Diagnostic" button.

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MaximumMike

I got that the first time. My original comment still stands.

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Philippe Lemay

So you think it was a good thing that they made the Windows diagnostic functions more difficult to find?

Why, to alienate those unfamiliar with computers?

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MaximumMike

If you were unfamiliar with computers when ctrl-alt-del was first used, or even if you were alienated by the requirement of pressing 3 buttons simultaneously, you had absolutely no business with a computer in the first place. Yes, it was a good thing they made it more difficult to find. No, a soft reboot does not count as a diagnostic utility.

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MiGreen

over a long time ago.

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ty2047

Leo Laporte interviewed David Bradley on Triangulation, it's a really interesting interview and he tells the whole story about ctrl alt delete.

http://twit.tv/show/triangulation/15
Bradley explains that it was a feature he put in while he was troubleshooting the bios and it was intended just to be a developer tool. And David Bradley deserves much respect as he was the guy that wrote the bios for ibm.

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showiproute

Long time Leo Laporte fan here. Thanks for the link!

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Budman_NC

Thanks so much for posting this link to David Bradley's interview. As someone who owned a Timex Sinclair 1000, Vic 20, etc., I really enjoyed hearing David talk about how it all started at IBM. He's truly a humble genius. :-)

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devin3627

i appreciated ctrl alt delete. in school when i was 7 my teachers tried apple + control + delete to restart their COMPUTERS and i tried it on my parents pc and it was awesome. Control + Escape has to be my favorite.

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ziggyinc

So we have some un-named hardware engineer to thank. The windows key causes enough grief, I shudder to think how many people would have given up computers completely in disgust after the four hundredth accidental reboot.

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Granite

With Win8, the Windows key finally has a useful function.

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davidzeb

At that time period, every personal computer had a single reset button.

With Apple, sometimes you had to do a Ctrl - Open Apple - Reset, but before that came along, reset was all you needed... or the power switch.

Also, Ctrl - Shift - Esc is a much faster way to bring up Task Manager in Windows.

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ziggyinc

But the reset key was not on the keyboard. In the early 90s when I was doing tech support some people didn't even know that there was a reset button.

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timmyw

I have to agree an 'easy' button would be far too easy to hit accidently. Especially considering the earlier purpose to reboot the machine.

Oops. I hit 'reboot' instead of 'save.' What do you mean I've just lost the last two hours of work? Just because I hit the wrong #*@&ing button!!! Who designed this piece of crap?

Now that it just brings up the task manager, it would not be as bad, but I could definitely see it happening from time-to-time while gaming from the keyboard. As anyone who has ever had a window pop-up during a game session can tell you it would be as annoying as hell.

From personal experience, I can tell you my cat has never managed to hit ctrl-alt-delete simultaneously and cause my computer to reboot. My cat has managed to jump up on the keyboard and frag three players simultaneously in Quake. Good Kitty!

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aarcane

Cleaver is right. A single button would lead to too much trouble.

As for the Mobile Market (and desktop, too!), if Microsoft Windows were open source, it wouldn't be losing market share now. People would make the changes they want to the platform they used to love, and continue to use the Desktop OS of choice for the next generations of mobility, gaming, and productivity.

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big_montana

And I do not see Apple having any market share issues with a closed OS in iOS for their mobile devices. It has nothing to do with the OS being open or closed, but how it is marketed and perceived.

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Carlidan

This comment is probably the most insightful comment I've read lately.

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Cregan89

Aaaand Microsoft would have 1/100 the revenue they have now!

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PCLinuxguy

Open Source! = Free as in beer

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Cleaver

Having worked in a handful of different tech support capacities, I'm not certains what's regrettable about the feature. Having a button combination is exactly what is needed when a system has a software meltdown, as the combination is easy to remember. If a single button had the same function as the combination it would lead to accidental key presses.