The History of Ctrl-Alt-Delete #VintageComputing #Retrocomputing #IBMPC @LundukeJournal

Ctrl-Alt-Del — also known as “The Three Fingered Salute” — is among the most recognizable key commands in the entire computer world. Restarting, or logging into, countless computers since the 1980s.

But how did it come to be? The Lunduke Journal of Technology provides the story, discussing the development of the IBM 5150, the original IBM PC, in 1981.

One of the engineers working on the BIOS of the 5150, David Bradley, implemented a three-key reset for the team within IBM (and partners such as Microsoft) to use during development.

A convenience feature that was never intended to see the light of day. Three keys that would quickly reset the entire machine without needing to do a hard “Power off and Power back on”.

Not only was this feature intended to be strictly used for internal development purposes… it barely received any development time at all.

“It was five minutes, 10 minutes of activity, and then I moved on to the next of the 100 things that needed to get done.” – David Bradley

All that changed when someone included the details of “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” in the technical manuals for the IBM Personal Computer.

Read the complete details here and the fact that the original concept was “Ctrl-Alt-Esc”.

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