Monday, August 20, 2007


Control-Alt-Delete (often abbreviated to Ctrl-Alt-Del) is a computer keyboard command on PC compatible systems that can be used to reboot the computer, and summon the task manager or Windows Security in more recent versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. It is invoked by pressing the Delete key while holding the Control and Alt keys.

This keyboard combination was implemented by David Bradley, a designer of the original IBM PC. Bradley originally designed Control-Alt-Escape to trigger a soft reboot, but he found it was too easy to bump the left side of the keyboard and reboot the computer accidentally. He switched the key combination to Control-Alt-Delete, a combination impossible to press with just one hand (this is not true of later keyboards, such as the 102-key PC/AT keyboard or the Maltron keyboard). More advanced operating systems use its status as a "reserved" combination for various purposes, but often retain the ability to trigger a soft reboot in certain configurations or circumstances. Bradley is also known for his good-natured jab at Bill Gates, at that time the CEO of Microsoft, and also the creator of many of Microsoft's programs: "I may have invented Control-Alt-Delete, but Bill Gates made it famous".

Colloquially, the combination is also known as a three-finger salute, Three Fingered Death Grip or, more esoterically, as a Vulcan nerve pinch.

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