It's been a mystery for a long time; why did Microsoft make people who owned early versions of Windows use the Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard combination to log into their PC? Last week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates shed some light on this subject during a Q&A at Harvard.
The event, which was later posted on YouTube, shows David Rubenstein, Harvard Campaign co-chair, asking Gates point blank, "Why, when I want to turn on my software and computer, do I need to have three fingers on Control, Alt, Delete? Whose idea was that?” Gates said, "It was a mistake," which got a huge laugh from the crowd attending the Q&A.
Gates said that a single button solution was something that Microsoft really wanted, but he put the blame on IBM for the Ctrl+Alt+Del setup. Specifically, Gates indicated that the unnamed person who designed the keyboard at IBM didn't want to offer up one button login support. Gates added:
You want to have something you do with the keyboard that is signaling 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.