Anyone who has ever gotten their hands on a Windows PC knows the famous ‘Ctrl+Alt+Delete’ command. It is that one thing that remains unchanged about the Windows OS, even decades later. We all use the command to login or access the task manager at the first sign of any trouble. Any Windows’ user hardly bothered about the fact that why this tiny task requires the use of both hands. However, Bill Gates strongly dislikes this command as its existence bothers him.
The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein questioned Gates at the Bloomberg business forum that why Gates had picked that awkward command for accessing the task manager. The reply that came from Gates was full of regret.
“I’m not sure you can go back and change small things in your life without putting the other things at risk. Sure, if I can make one small edit, I’d make that a single key operation,” he explained to the audience.
The reason for that odd command that requires pressing keys on different ends of the keyboard together lays in the IBM hardware. According to Gates, this command was a mistake caused by the IBM developer as “The IBM hardware PC keyboard only had one way it could get a guaranteed interrupt generated.”
David Bradley, the IBM engineer and the inventor of the command, was brought in the line of fire when Gates placed the blame on him. Bradley says that the keyboard was not their biggest concern when they were developing the entire system. The command was supposed to be used during the early development but not for the public use. The BIOS feature was later incorporated as a software feature with Windows 3.0 Enhanced Mode.
Bradley speaks of those days in the 1980s when he discovered the ‘ctrl+alt+delete’ command,
“It was not a memorable event. It wasn’t intended as something we were going to tell the customers about. Then it turned out that this reset was a problem-solver for people who were writing the programs and writing the instruction manuals.”
He returns a bit of the blame to Gates with this statement,
“I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous.”
It has been decades since the command was first brought to public use. Why didn’t Microsoft ever try to fix this? Gates wishes they had added a simple login button instead.
After all these years, this command has now become a Windows legend and Windows users do not wish for it to go away. Bill Gates and the IBM developers can continue to argue over whose fault it was. The truth is, we want it whatsoever the case may be!