The man who created Ctrl+Alt+Del


Originally published at:


"I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous," Bradley once said.

HA HA! Roger That!


One of those inventions most people swear before having to use.


The proper incantation is an essential step.


“I demand to see the Task Manager!”


I realize Ctrl-Alt-Delete was never intended for public use, but it’s a marvel after so many decades that it was never replaced with a single button marked “Fuck it!”




Now I want to re-label my control key, “fu”, my alt key, “ck” and the delete key, “it”.


Recent events have really prompted me to seriously consider governance as a special kind of software stack.


For the string of curses I use it’d need to be like a second spacebar


I’m disappointed that his name isn’t Wolfgang Controlalt-Deletersen



I predict in 100 years computers will become twice as powerful, ten thousand times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them!


Uhh OK I just actually watched the video, and while I liked the animation, I struggled to get past the opening claim that the IBM PC was “the most advanced computing machine ever created”. That’s… not right.


My Heathkit PC had a few CTRL-ALT-KEY functions. The best one dropped into a debug monitor in ROM. That was handy for stepping through protected software that had code.




I wish his name was Delbert.


The labelling was never so honest; but dedicated Ctrl+alt+del buttons actually had a period of relative prominence back in the pre-‘touch’ tablet PC era(call it 2005ish until the pen/wacom based convertibles were substantially eclipsed by capacitive options; definitely past its prime in the later win7 years).

When in tablet mode you couldn’t exactly deliver a three-finger salute; so a dedicated button would generally be provided in an accessible spot.

The snarky would suggest that this said something about the state of the software; the official justification was that, thanks to it’s particular pedigree Ctrl+alt+del was a ‘secure attention sequence’ that couldn’t be trivially spoofed by software(there was an option to allow software SAS for things like assistive technology input devices and VNC; but that was off by default); which is why the windows login prompt was put behind one.

As of Win8 that went away; not sure if it’s because it was just a nuisance, because of fatalism about the ease of circumvention, or because of optimism about newer attempts at integrity enforcement.


I can’t believe I am the first one to notice this coincidence:

Ctrl-Alt-Delete, the web comic.


And that he had Control issues and an Alternate lifestyle? :sweat_smile:


When he mentioned a Reset button, I flashed back to my first personal computer, an Apple II. The original Apple II had a Reset key on the upper right corner of the keyboard, just above the Return key. I became addicted to a platform game called Lode Runner. I don’t remember how many levels it had, but there were LOTS. The hitch was, you only had one life and you could not save your game. Every time you played you had to start at the beginning. I struggled for weeks, until one magic night, after hours of continuous play, I reached the last level and the topmost platform. Giddy with triumph I punched the Return key to end the game…and hit the goddamned Reset button instead. I must not have been the only person to make this error, because later Apple II versions isolated the Reset key on the upper right a short distance from the rest of the keyboard.