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Bill Gates Says He's Sorry About Control-Alt-Delete (qz.com) 320

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: At the Bloomberg Global Business Forum today, Carlyle Group co-founder and CEO David Rubenstein asked Microsoft founder Bill Gates to account for one of the most baffling questions of the digital era: Why does it take three fingers to lock or log in to a PC, and why did Gates ever think that was a good idea? Grimacing slightly, Gates deflected responsibility for the crtl-alt-delete key command, saying, "clearly, the people involved should have put another key on to make that work." Rubenstein pressed him: does he regret the decision? "You can't go back and change the small things in your life without putting the other things at risk," Gates said. But: "Sure. If I could make one small edit I would make that a single key operation." Gates has made the confession before. In 2013, he blamed IBM for the issue, saying, "The guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button."
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Bill Gates Says He's Sorry About Control-Alt-Delete

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  • by maxrate ( 886773 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:25PM (#55235009)
    I'll control-alt-delete you (Weird Al)
  • That's the one?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ngc5194 ( 847747 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:26PM (#55235013)
    I have a LONG list of things that I think Mr. Gates should be embarrassed about regarding Windows. The three finger salute is very, very low on my list.
    • This was my reaction exactly.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @08:01PM (#55235241)

        This was my reaction exactly.

        Actually, I think CTRL-ALT-DEL is one of the things they got right. There is little chance of doing it by accident, a dedicated button would have been a waste of keyboard real estate, and resulted in far more inadvertent resets.

        It actually makes sense that the decision was forced on Microsoft, and if the decision had been left up to Bill, he would have taken the dumb alternative.

        • by default luser ( 529332 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @08:20PM (#55235359) Journal

          You know, like that stupid Reset button on the Apple II. Located conveniently above the RETURN key.

          Can't tell you how many times I fucking hit that thing.

          • It only worked in conjunction with the ctrl-key, so why would anyone care if you hit it by accident?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by dranga ( 520457 )
              On the apple 2e and later, yes, it required the control key.. on the 2 and 2+, just the reset button alone would reset the machine, and probably trash anything you were working on.
              • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @11:05PM (#55236147)

                Control keys are for mere "users". Just in case I ever have a little "emergency", my computer is configured to automatically wipe all memory and format its hard drive when pressing the "

        • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @09:01PM (#55235593)

          Yes, I agree that Control-Alt-Delete is an entirely reasonable design, and I'm not sure why Gates is apologizing for it -- particularly when there are a number of other things that I think most people would agree he should apologize for.

          For instance -- using the backslash for directory paths when every other OS used normal slashes. As a developer, I think I curse that about once per week.

          Or, maybe more controversially, the registry.

          • by Curtman ( 556920 ) *
            <CR><LF>

            If he was involved in that typewriter holdover, there should be a large monetary fine at the very least.
          • Re:That's the one?! (Score:5, Informative)

            by steveha ( 103154 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @11:50PM (#55236289) Homepage

            using the backslash for directory paths when every other OS used normal slashes

            You overlooked one other OS that matters here: CP/M.

            When MS-DOS was first developed, it was not the first DOS on the market; the majority of the business market was using Z-80 processor computers running CP/M. (Home users were on Apple II computers, mostly. Some business users used an Apple II with a CP/M card!) Anyway, MS-DOS looked and worked almost exactly like CP/M. MS-DOS programs were not that different from CP/M, I think deliberately to make it easier to port. The similarities were enough that the company that made CP/M threatened legal action over them. (Bob Zeidman checked the source code [embedded.com] and he says no stolen code was present.)

            Anyway, the important thing is: CP/M used forward slash as the punctuation for command-line program arguments. Thus, so did MS-DOS.

            And nobody was really thinking too much about directory separators because CP/M, and MS-DOS 1.x, did not have directories. They used floppy disks, and those disks just had one directory. Just a flat list of files.

            When MS-DOS 2.0 came out, someone was thinking of the slash for directories, because there was an actual command that you could put into your config.sys file that let you switch the character used for command-line switches. This was SWITCHAR and if you set it to - you also set the directory separator to forward slash. It was undocumented! It was never officially supported! And I think MS-DOS 3.0 dropped it and it never returned. (But in Windows, even today, you can just use forward slash as a directory delimiter and it works.)

            I think that Microsoft had the opportunity to push on this. Just say "old MS-DOS apps that are using the old APIs can continue to use forward slash for command-line switches, but any program that works with directories should use the dash. It's The New Standard." I think they could have pulled it off, with some grumbling but nothing serious. But either someone at Microsoft was timid, or else they had an argument about this with IBM and lost, I don't know.

            But way back in the dawn of time, compatibility with CP/M was the reason why forward slash was reserved as the command-line switch marker.

            P.S. I think the registry was a good idea. Having a little database to store options, and have some kind of daemon that owns it, avoids race conditions and is just good sense. However, using an opaque and fragile binary database format was insanity. They could have used a simple text-based format (like .ini files... or, heck, S-expressions!) and saved the world a lot of pain. Or, at least made their binary database less fragile and documented it completely so that third parties could write registry checker tools that could fix corrupted registries or whatever.

            Ideally they should have used JSON for the registry, but I'm pretty sure the registry pre-dates Javascript, let alone JSON as an interchange format.

            • Re:That's the one?! (Score:4, Informative)

              by Waccoon ( 1186667 ) on Thursday September 21, 2017 @07:17AM (#55237349)

              I like how everyone forgets that MacOS originally used the colon for directory separators, among other weirdness.

              Conforming to UNIX standards was not that common in the budding PC industry. MS always gets the blame because they're one of the few companies that actually survived.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I have a LONG list of [MS gripes]. The three finger salute is very, very low on my list.

      For all the others, both God and I give him the one-finger solute. [nasa.gov]

    • Funny, your list is missing.
    • I'd go so far as to say, it was one of the few things he got right!

      Of course if the software quality had made it unnecessary, that would be a whole different evaluation.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @09:02PM (#55235597)

      I think hide known extensions should be quite higher on the list.

  • Blaming IBM eh?

    Looks like it's time for another volume of "What Happened".

    • Didn't the IBM guy turn around and say something like "sure we invented it, but you made it popular..."
    • "Blaming" in the sense that Gates thought that the software so horrible it would benefit overall from having a single key to reboot, so you could easily do it by accident.

      If the software quality is low enough, it eventually becomes true.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      You know, I have no interest in reading Clinton's book, but I did run into someone who did. He said (and this probably shouldn't come as a shock) that the media reports that make it sound like a vendetta book are misleading. Mostly it's campaign trail anecdotes.

  • I don't understand. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:27PM (#55235021)

    I thought it was supposed to be a *good* thing to prevent people from accidentally restarting their machines by pressing the wrong button. From that perspective, it's a success.

    The fact that windows now adds a whole bunch of other options to that command, like change password, log off, lock the computer, etc, is entirely their fault; there's nothing stopping them from adding *those* commands to another button, say an F10 or something, that allows you those options. So what is wrong with Ctl-alt-del again?

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:38PM (#55235101) Homepage

      Yup. Back in the days when Ctrl-Alt-Del did an immediate soft reboot of your computer, it was really smart to not have it be a single button. Not only was it not a single button, they chose keys that were all over the keyboard, making it very difficult to press them all accidentally. If you slipped and mashed your hand down on the keyboard, there's no chance you'd just happen to hit those keys.

      Now, I don't know. What does it do? It opens the login screen if you're in a domain? It brings up a menu to bring up the task manager, I think? Those things could be a single button, but at the same time, I don't think we need to cram a new button onto keyboard designs just for that.

      • by xevioso ( 598654 )

        And in fact, Gate's quote that he thinks he made a mistake and that it should always have been a single button is actually odd. That would have been a disaster. There's no way to make a single button more secure than three buttons if you are trying to prevent an accidental restart.

        Using a single button to show a screen where you'd have the option to restart is bad too, because back in the early days you needed to restart *quickly* sometimes.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          And in fact, Gate's quote that he thinks he made a mistake and that it should always have been a single button is actually odd.

          No its not.

          That would have been a disaster. There's no way to make a single button more secure than three buttons if you are trying to prevent an accidental restart.

          You are not trying to prevent an accidental restart. He's talking about using them to bring up the login/logout/lock/taskmanager screens. It would not be a 'disaster' if there was a single key to do that. Hell.. we've had "Win-L" as a shortcut for lock for ages and nobody is really up in arms about that.

          Yes CTRL-ALT-DEL once upon a time was a soft reboot, but that isn't what Bill Gates is apologizing for. He's apologizing for having to press it to bring up the login screen. There is no real reaso

          • Programs cannot (could not?)trap ctrl-alt-delete.

            That means that it is not possible to have a rogue program get at people's passwords. If people knew only to type their password after pressing those keys.

            Then, in Windows 8, they gave up on it.

            (The password that is stored is hashed. And should have been salted.)

            • 99.9% of all Windows users would happily type in their password if an application popped up an authentic looking fake full screen windows login screen with the cursor flashing inside the password box. They're not going to press CtrlAltDel because it is already asking for their password.

              Unless companies are educating users that they must always press CtrlAltDel even if the password cursor is blinking (which most won't bother) the whole CtrlAltDel requirement is just bullshit. Passing it off as a security th

    • by Jecel Assumpcao Jr ( 5602 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:50PM (#55235175) Homepage

      The IBM PC was designed by observing the market leader (the Apple II with a Microsoft CP/M card) and copying all the good stuff while trying to avoid its problems. One of the problems of the Apple II was that reset was a simple key close to the return key. So it wasn't rare for you to type in stuff all night only to watch it all vanish due to a slightly misplaced finger. A popular add-on product for the Apple II was a little plastic cap for the reset key that you had to lift before you could press it. IBM selected three keys that were far enough apart than nobody would type by accident.

    • Yeah. I've had keyboards on client machines with a power button right next to home and delete. It's the most insane, horrific thing ever.

      You shouldn't be able to POWER DOWN A SERVER with a single keyboard press. You don't power down machines that often. You shouldn't even be able to restart Windows with a single accidental press by pressing the windows key and then a couple more keys (this has happened). You don't make "high risk, low occurrence" things faster... unless you're an idiot.

      I, for one, want a bu

      • You shouldn't be able to POWER DOWN A SERVER with a single keyboard press.

        That's why the power options should specify that the power and sleep buttons do nothing by default. They used to, didn't they?

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Better yet, have both the power and suspend keys pop up a dialog box to the effect "Do you want log out, shutdown, restart, or sleep?" with the default being "log out" until the user changes the setting away from "Ask" in power management settings.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        You don't make "high risk, low occurrence" things faster... unless you're an idiot.

        Then Google are idiots, as anyone can wipe a developer-mode Chromebook by turning it on, pressing Space as prompted, and pressing Enter as prompted.

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        This even has a tvtropes page: Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock [tvtropes.org]

    • Exactly. It's as a key combination that wasn't used by something else (as far as I know) and wasn't going to be accidentally triggered. Giving them a dedicated key for it would have caused issues with accidental key presses and everyone else trying to hijack the key for other functionality. CTRL+ALT+DEL is fine.

      The only legit complaint I could think of is that it may be hard for people with disabilities to trigger.

    • by Dadoo ( 899435 )

      My problem with Ctrl-Alt-Del, especially in the DOS days, was that it was handled by software. If the currently running program wasn't using the DOS input routines or checking for the sequence, itself, it simply wouldn't work, and you'd have to power-cycle your computer to reset it.

      If they had actually wired up those keys to send a hard reset to the CPU, it would have been fine.

      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        That is not my memory at all. Ctrl-Alt-Delete worked unless your machine was hard locked (trapped in an interrupt handler thanks to a buggy driver or misbehaving hardware).
        • by Dadoo ( 899435 )

          Ctrl-Alt-Delete worked unless your machine was hard locked

          Even if that's true (and I'm pretty sure it isn't), it happened all the time, and it's exactly one of the things a hard reset would fix.

    • Ctrl-alt del generates a hardware interrupt which bypasses whatever program is running. Originally it went straight to the BIOS and triggered a reboot of the computer. But was later modified to invoke a handler attached to that interrupt. That's why it's used to initiate a login onto Windows Server. When you press ctrl-alt-del, you're guaranteed to get the real Windows login prompt (which is triggered by that interrupt). If malware has set up a fake look-alike login prompt, ctrl-alt-del will bypass it
  • Apologize to poor old Two-Finger down at the bar!

  • Compatibility (Score:5, Informative)

    by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazzt.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:34PM (#55235071) Homepage

    The reason they used that combo in the first place was for compatibility with legacy applications. In legacy Windows, CTRL+ALT+DEL was handled at a low level and could bring up task manager or restart the machine. Applications could not detect the keypress.

    When they went to implement multi-user and logins, they realized they needed to ensure applications could not spoof the login screen to trick users into entering their credentials. A malicious application could potentially save and reuse these credentials especially if they were of a DIFFERENT user or an admin user.

    What to do? Well if they had the user press a key combination that applications couldn't detect to log in, or even a key combination that would result in a different action if they were already logged in, a fake application would not be able to detect this keypress and spoof the actual login screen. Guess what, an existing key combination fit this criteria. They could have invented a new combination, of course, but chances are a legacy application might use this combination as a hotkey, and reserving it for login user would break that application.

    • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazzt.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:36PM (#55235081) Homepage
      I forgot to mention... I think the key combo stretches all the way back to MS-DOS, where CTRL+ALT+DEL would instantly reboot. I assume 16-bit Windows trapped this combination first of all so DOS wouldn't intercept it and reboot right away, and also so they could anticipate the user was having problems and offer to run Task Manager. But the key combo was first declared in DOS as a key press that could be used to soft reset the machine, but would not be pressed accidentally. CTRL+ALT+DEL makes perfect sense for that scenario. Then it just evolved organically.
      • by Nonesuch ( 90847 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @09:39PM (#55235789) Homepage Journal

        The apology was for the choice to capture the historical "Reboot" key sequence and re-purpose it for logon. This was particularly annoying when we still had a mix of OSes in the workplace, and people got into the habit of walking up to any unknown "PC" and the first thing they do is give the 3-finger salute, rebooting the computer if it was running something other than the latest Microsoft product.

        Almost as big a sin against computing as the 1994 introduction of the "Windows Key".

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      It appears it gradually became widespread and entrenched such that nobody bothered to put a halt to it, like the parable of the boiling frog. I suspect at one point there was a conversation similar to:

      PHB1: What if a program or Windows locks up? How can the user end the program or reboot?

      PHB2: Well, the technicians have added a secret key combo: ctrl+alt+delete for that. But that's not very user friendly.

      PHB1: How about something a little easier, such as Ctrl+Esc? It's hard to bump accidentally, but easier

    • The reason they used that combo in the first place was for compatibility with legacy applications. In legacy Windows, CTRL+ALT+DEL was handled at a low level and could bring up task manager or restart the machine. Applications could not detect the keypress.

      The way they sold it for the NT was the key combo terminated any TSR's (an old DOS term for Terminate and Stay Resident). Only had 640K memory to use, any little bit helped.

  • so where was this single NMI button supposed to go - right next to the enter key I suppose.

    Besides, it's not as if c-a-d gets my PC's immediate attention anyway, I can sometimes wait 10 minutes after I hit it, unless I get impatient and hit the power button. If the machine is doing OK then Billy could have picked any key to get its attention, when things go wrong the Non-Maskability of the interrupt doesn't seem to do the trick reliably

    • so where was this single NMI button supposed to go

      In between TAB and CAPS LOCK.

    • If the machine is doing OK then Billy could have picked any key to get its attention, when things go wrong the Non-Maskability of the interrupt doesn't seem to do the trick reliably

      C-A-D was probably never a NMI. It's serviced by a DOS interrupt handler (INT 1? IIRC) and thus you could always change the behavior. I'm not absolutely sure the original IBM PC didn't get a real interrupt from the keyboard controller, though.

  • Pretty dumb answer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:42PM (#55235123) Journal

    "Sure. If I could make one small edit I would make that a single key operation."
    On an Apple ][ we had a reset key. However it only would work in conjunction with the CTRL key.
    Why? So you can not hit it by accident and cause a reboot.
    Basically every Workstation, Mini Computer, uses a 2 or 3 key combo which REQUIRES BOTH HANDS, so it can not be triggered by accident.

    Is ctrl/alt/del a good combo? No idea, never cared.

    • On an Apple ][ we had a reset key. However it only would work in conjunction with the CTRL key.

      That's not quite right. On the Apple ][+ and later you needed to use the CTRL key as well. Starting with Apple ][e series 2 (with the Open and Closed Apple keys) it was CTRL-OpenApple-Reset or CTRL-ClosedApple-Reset for diagnostics. On the original Apple ][, though, just the reset key was enough and was quite annoying.

  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1&hotmail,com> on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @07:51PM (#55235181)
    I thought the point of Ctrl-Alt-Del was that it generated a system-level interrupt that no other program would be allowed to supercede (I'm getting the exact terminology wrong here probably, but the point is), and only the operating system would be get a user to put in a password on the familiar login screen.

    Otherwise, malicious or other programs might be able to spoof the login screen and capture a users credentials.

    Good thinking, but it just led to some convoluted keyboard contortions as a result.
    • I thought the point of Ctrl-Alt-Del was that it generated a system-level interrupt that no other program would be allowed to supercede

      It generates a non-maskable interrupt. However, under the IBM architecture, it has always been possible to install your own handler for that interrupt (and it's always been possible to mask it).

    • Re:the reason (Score:4, Informative)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @08:03PM (#55235259) Homepage Journal

      It's called a NMI, or non-maskable interrupt... except... it actually isn't one of those, at least not at the hardware level. There's no line dedicated to it on the keyboard bus. It might have been way back in the way back when the keyboard controller was a big fat DIP IC.

      • It's called a NMI, or non-maskable interrupt... except... it actually isn't one of those, at least not at the hardware level.

        Well, at the CPU level, it really is a non-maskable interrupt. The CPU interrupt mask can't mask it. But the usual IBM-style architecture runs the interrupt line through an external interrupt controller before it goes to the CPU, and it can be masked by that.

  • back in my dos/windows days (long ago) i didnt mind ctrl-alt-delete at all, frankly dont see why people make a big deal of it.

  • We had an instance where one of our customers only had one hand. Pretty difficult to do the three finger salute with one hand. They were resorting to putting things in their mouth to get the third key. I bought a cheap USB keyboard, took out the PCB, figured out what to short out to get CTRL-ALT-DEL, and put it in a box with a single button. Problem solved.
    • I remember a time when I was young and my desk was so cluttered there was nowhere to set down my coffee when the app froze, and I had to three-finger with two fingers and my nose. Surely it is more convenient than putting random items in your mouth?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bioteq ( 809524 )

      We had an instance where one of our customers only had one hand.
      Pretty difficult to do the three finger salute with one hand.
      They were resorting to putting things in their mouth to get the third key.
      I bought a cheap USB keyboard, took out the PCB, figured out what to short out to get CTRL-ALT-DEL,
      and put it in a box with a single button.
      Problem solved.

      I have fairly small hands and I am able to CTRL+ALT+DEL with one hand -- My right one.

      Maybe some keyboards make it difficult, but every one I use has made this possible.

  • So the key sequence that halts everything and restarts no matter what should be EASY to hit accidentally?
  • ummmm I like Cntrl-alt-delete sequence. It is a system interrupt, the 3 key combination means you are not likely to accidentally hit it. It isn't a particularly onerous combination and the combo harkens back to when it used to be a reboot (definitely something you don't want to accidentally do).
  • Its pretty clear from the abstract that they're *not* talking about Ctrl-Alt-Del as the sequence for resetting the computer. Rather, they're talking about Ctrl-Alt-Del as the non-app-trappable sequence for triggering certain behaviors in Windows NT (login prompt, etc.). In that context, a single button actually would have been fine.

    Of course this is Slashdot, so everyone is ignoring that and just skipping to assuming it was the former :-)

    • Rather, they're talking about Ctrl-Alt-Del as the non-app-trappable sequence for triggering certain behaviors in Windows NT (login prompt, etc.).

      If, by "non-app-trappable" you mean that a Windows application couldn't intercept it you're almost correct. The Control-Alt-Delete key combination was actually baked into BIOS and caused the system to jump to the Reset Vector to start the initialization/reboot sequence. Windows itself was actually grabbing the Reset Vector to prevent this behaviour but in earlier versions of Windows applications could still steal it away from Windows to run their own code. I think they only fixed this with the Windows NT 4.

  • Y'all are missing out on something. There is a SysRq key, generally remembered for... actually, it isn't remembered much at all. BUT, the purpose was to be an intentional out-of-the-way key that did System Requests. AKA, things like reboots and shutdowns.

    It has very rarely been used by anyone or anything at all, because neither Microsoft nor IBM ever got around to figuring out why they put this odd key on the keyboard in the first place. It might do something if you have some antiquated KVM switch (keyboard

    • And the scancode for SysRq is a lot easier to detect in an OS or BIOS than many other extended keys and easier than combinations with multiple modifiers like Ctrl-Alt-Del. While on a modern AT keyboard SysRq is Alt-PrtScr, the controller still sends a single byte scancode back (0x54). It's something IBM invented and was mostly ignored by mainstream software vendors like Microsoft. And I believe it mapped to its own INT handler in PC BIOS, so it should have been easy for an OS to latch onto.

      Windows keys are

    • by SEE ( 7681 )

      Hmm? Microsoft and IBM knew exactly why IBM put it on the new keyboard for the PC/AT -- to signal "CP-DOS"/"Advanced DOS"/"286 DOS"/"MT DOS"/"DOS 5", the new OS that was going to take full advantage of the 286's protected mode, through whatever program might happen to be running. Because one thing that was sure was that no pre-AT software was going to be listening for a key that didn't exist, while any other key or key combo might have already been hijacked.

      And if you can get your hands on one of the pre-

  • Not to lock it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @08:16PM (#55235335) Homepage

    WIN+L will do that just fine.

  • First off Bill Gates didn't invent crtl-alt-delete. That honor goes to David Bradley of the original IBM PC design team. The primary use of which is to perform a warm-boot of DOS, as that particular combination is hardwired into the IBM PC BIOS. In Windows NT it caused the NT login screen to be displayed. Given the quality of security in WinNT it was the only way to be sure you weren't running a fake login screen.
  • "I would make that a single key operation."

    Wrong answer, Bill.

    By making it a little hard to do you reduce the chances of it accidentally being done. Control-Alt-Delete is a good choice. Adding a single function key to the keyboard just for that would be a VERY BAD choice as it would waste space and make errors more likely.

    (Remember, space is infinite so don't waste it.)

  • "We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't wanna give us our single button.

    IMHO it wasn't a mistake.

    On the Apple ][ there was a RESET button.

    On the Apple ][+ it was changed to CTRL-RESET because it was too easy to _accidentally_ trigger a single button.

    With the Apple //e a third button was added: CTRL-Open Apple-Reset for a built-in ROM test.

    Of all the "mistakes" with Windows, Bill picks this one???? And not the retarded 8.3 filenames when an Apple ][ had _30_ c

  • by n3r0.m4dski11z ( 447312 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @10:21PM (#55235973) Homepage Journal

    "You can't go back and change the small things in your life without putting the other things at risk," Gates said.

    That sounds suspiciously like something a retired time traveller would say...

  • Sure. If I could make one small edit I would make that a single key operation.

    Why not use the Alt-SysRq key that was on the original PC keyboard? It even had the advantage of being tied to a dedicated interrupt so a locked-up keyboard driver wouldn't block the key. Can't argue that the key wasn't there, it was there from the very start and intended for just this use (secure attention signal).

    I'd even go so far as to question whether it's a problem. Logging on or unlocking a computer are things done relativ

  • Jesus! We don't need another key on our keyboards. It's already Bill's fault that we have 105 key keyboards instead of 101 key keyboards. He just HAD to have that silly windows key. And what was it good for? Throwing you out of your FPS game when you accidentally pressed it.

    I suppose Bill would want a separate key for login, and then one to logout, and then one to open the control panel, one for Internet Explorer, one for email, etc...

    We already had keyboards with all that crap on it - I'll stick with th

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