In a recent interview at Harvard University, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates admitted that the Ctrl-Alt-Del key sequence of logging into a Windows computer was a mistake despite its good intentions.

Even though today’s Windows PCs still recognizes the three-key combo to, for instance, log on, lock the computer, or launch the task manager, Ctrl-Alt-Del was actually implemented as a secure solution for users to enter their username and password. Back in the old days, there were already ill-minded hackers who can guise their software to look like the real logon screen, potentially fooling the gullible and newbies into submitting their confidential information.

Gates actually wanted a single button in lieu of Ctrl-Alt-Del, but the engineer responsible for the keyboard design didn’t grant them such. Instead, the folks at Microsoft made do with low-level programming to achieve a secure logging process. In the end, Ctrl-Alt-Del actually turned out to be useful even to this day. So don’t regret this “mistake”, Gates.

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