Bill Gates: Making people press Ctrl+Alt+Del to log into Windows 'was a mistake'

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.

Gates has been open in recent months with admitting Microsoft has made mistakes in the past, such as with the launch of Microsoft Bob and with the company's involvement in smartphone development.

Source: Harvard on YouTube via GeekWire

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