Bill Gates has finally admitted that Control-Alt-Delete was a mistake. The Microsoft co-founder told the audience at the Harvard Fundraising Campaign on Saturday that they made a mistake to force users to use the infamous key combination to log into their computers.
There are a very few computer users who don’t know what CTRL-ALT-DEL does. In the early days, this keyboard command on IBM PC compatible computers was used to reboot the computer. Nowadays, it is generally used to interrupt a program or function or access the task manager.
However, for many people who use Windows at work, they would need to press the three-finger salute on their keyboard to log in.
“Why, when I want to turn on my software and computer, do I need to have three fingers on Control, Alt, Delete?” Harvard Campaign co-chair David Rubenstein asked the computer magnate.
“You want to have something you do with the keyboard that is signalling to a very low level of the software – actually hard-coded in the hardware – that it really is bringing in the operating system you expect, instead of just a funny piece of software that puts up a screen that looks like a log-in screen, and then it listens to your password and then it’s able to do that,” Mr Gates explained why Microsoft decided to go with the iconic key command.
“We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t want us our single button.
“It was a mistake,” he then admitted, causing the audience to laugh at his honesty.
The “guy who did the IBM keyboard design” was no other than David Bradley, who, funnily enough, shared the blame with Mr Gates at the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC in 2001.
“I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous,” he said on stage with Mr Gates, earning him a laugh from the audience.
Watch it here:
Full Q&A with Bill Gates at the Harvard Campaign:
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