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Bill Gates Acknowledges Ctrl+Alt+Del Was a Mistake

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:30AM (#44959009)
    Even bill gates does not approve of Ctrl+Alt+Del [cad-comic.com]
  • XT was a mistake (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ruir (2709173) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:31AM (#44959029) Homepage
    if we start thinking in what was wrong building a computer with 25 years technology then we would lost count of the mistakes. If it weren't for the backing of IBM, it would been an instant market failure.
  • by nschubach (922175) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:34AM (#44959053) Journal

    Once they got the "Windows Key", why did they continue using the Ctrl + Alt + Delete?

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Because not everyone has one?
      This keyboard does not. In fact I don't think I own any that do.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:40AM (#44959161)

      Because accidentally pressing the windows key in the middle of a game would shut down an entire computer instead of momentarily piss off a gamer.

      • That's why I love my Logitech G11... it has a "game switch" that basically only serves to disable the Win key.

      • The article is only stating about using Ctrl+Alt+Del to log into Windows, not restart the computer. Changing the Windows login command to a single key (even the Windows key) would not have the effect you describe.
        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:25AM (#44959861) Journal
          The point of using control-alt-delete is that it's a key combination that can not be caught by any userspace process that does not have a special permission. This means that it's impossible to spoof the login screen on Windows without already having compromised the kernel. It doesn't matter what the key combination is, as long as it's one that is not delivered by the normal keypress event delivery mechanisms. Control-alt-delete is a reasonable choice, because no application author is likely to complain that they can't use this shortcut combination.
      • When we used to play Decent 2 on Windows NT and Windows 95 we used to remove the "Windows" Keys from the keyboard as you somehow jumped out of DOS (the game ran in a kind of DOS or something other awkward) but you did not come into windows. So you could not switch back. Sometimes Alt-Tab worked, but often not. Was annoying like hell.

      • by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:19AM (#44959775)
        Thank god we are at least past the era in which pressing the Win key or Alt-Tabbing in a game would jam the whole operating system.
        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          The problem now is that when a game freezes you can't Win key or alt-tab out and kill it.

      • by SunTzuWarmaster (930093) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:34AM (#44960743) Homepage

        I use the Start key all of the time. Seriously. I use it in the following manner, essentially as a keyboard shortcut and linux holdover:

        *Start* (type some keys) (enter) to launch a program.
        Frequent uses include "cal" for Calculator, "not" for notepad, "wor" for Word, and "add or remove" for the Program Manager

        *Start* (# key) to bring up window #.
        One uses include Start+1 (Currently set to the Google App Launcher) (then used as the first example)
        Another is Start+2, which is always my E-mail application (across multiple computers)

        *Start*+R to bring up the "Run" dialog
        Frequent uses from the Run dialog are "dxdiag", "cmd", and "regedit"

        *Start*+D to "Show Desktop"
        Admittedly used less now with the prevalence of two monitors

        *Start*+E to bring up Explorer
        Used ALL THE TIME

        *Start*+CTRL+TAB to bring up a listing of all windows
        Admittedly, this is mapped to a StrokeIt Gesture shortcut (but the point stands)

        *Start*+DirectionalArrow (Up/Down/Left/Right)
        Used to move, maximize, and restore a window. Try it, Start+Left will put a window at half of your left screen. SUPER USEFUL. USED ALL THE TIME. EXTRA POINTS ON A BIG MONITOR. This is the fastest way to move windows to a second monitor.

        I probably do 90% of these every day. I use the Start key as much as CTRL and ALT.

    • by robmv (855035)

      Because people would cry with petitions like "Give me my Ctrl + Alt + Delete back!, don't change things that works!" and everything your hear when someone try to do something different

  • I loved the power key on the old Apple ADB keyboards. I didn't enjoy the operating system back then, but I remember wishing PC's had such a key.

    • Re:ADB (Score:5, Informative)

      by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:24AM (#44959843)
      PCs were held back by the AT standard power supply, which used a hard wired power switch. Only a handful of OEMs used "soft" power switches. IBM was one of the first using it in their PS/1 machines back in 1992 or so. Apple started using them even earlier. It wasn't until ATX style power supplies that soft power switches became universal on PCs around 1998 or so. The introduction of ACPI really pushed for it since it needed full control of system power.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:40AM (#44959165)
    That was back when programmers were also engineers, and they realized the risk of accidentally hitting a single key and wiping the contents of RAM without saving. A complex key combination avoids accidents. I really don't see a problem with it. And considering that (most) keyboards still haven't evolved a "reboot" key, there doesn't seem to be great demand. Hell even the "Windows Start" key is probably the least utilized key on my keyboard, only good to tab me out of FPS games by accident and get me killed when I meant to hit Ctrl or Alt.
    • by garyoa1 (2067072)

      The only way a single key would make sense would be to put it "under" the keyboard.

    • by edawstwin (242027)
      You can always disable that key, or as at least one of my friends has done, remove the physical key from they keyboard.
    • I have a number of keys that are used far less frequently than the Win key... notably Scroll Lock, Pause/Break, Insert and, of course, Caps Lock. The least used key is probably the context menu key, which I've only ever used on systems with a malfunctioning or nonexistent mouse. I also rarely use most of the F keys... F4 and F5 are the only ones that see use on a regular basis.

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by moronoxyd (1000371) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:55AM (#44959401)

      I had a keyboard once with a dedicated start/shutdown key.

      After shutting down my system a few times accidentally I threw that keyboard away.

      • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:07AM (#44960411)

        I had a keyboard once with a dedicated start/shutdown key.

        After shutting down my system a few times accidentally I threw that keyboard away.

        Seems like a bad design. Macs had a power key for ages on their keyboard, but it pulled up a shutdown prompt instead of killing the whole machine instantly. (You could hold it down for 3 seconds for a force power down, IIRC.) It was also far above the keys and hard to accidentally hit on the machines I remember. This [wikimedia.org] is the one I had on my Performa 5200, and this [wikimedia.org] was the one my old iMac had. (You can see the power key on the latter above the divide between the letter and numeric keypad sections.)

        What was the keyboard you used like, and what OS was it for?

      • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

        by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:10AM (#44960439) Homepage Journal

        I had a keyboard once with a dedicated start/shutdown key.

        After shutting down my system a few times accidentally I threw that keyboard away.

        Apple keyboards have a power button on the keyboard. It's not the location or difficulty of hitting the key that matters, it's how it's handled. The approach currently used by Apple (but not invented by Apple, BTW) of "tap = request to shutdown, requires confirmation" and "press and hold means forcible power off" works just fine.

    • You do realize that most PCs today ship with a power button that's effectively on the keyboard, right? After all, most PCs shipped today are laptops, and virtually every laptop has a power button that is for all intents and purposes a part of the keyboard, since it shares the same face of the device as the other buttons in the keyboard. People seem to have figured out ways around the problems you're describing as well, such as prompting the user to confirm that they want to shut down if they just casually p

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:43AM (#44959211)

    A single button that, if hit, would reboot the system???? That's is the stupidest shit I've ever heard. If you hit it by accident, goodbye to your work. Remember that when you hit CTRL-ALT-DEL in DOS, it didn't even give you a prompt to shut down, it just rebooted. Who in their right mind would want that in a single key??

  • by Alomex (148003) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:45AM (#44959239) Homepage

    In my book that is the one thing they got right. It is a cumbersome combination as it should be since you do not want to reboot your computer by accident.

    It still irks me how easy is to accidentally shutdown your computer in windows when all you are trying to do is putting it to sleep through the menu.

    In programming languages this is called "syntactic salt" and it is used to implement powerful primitives that should not be used lightly.

  • Revisionist history (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:46AM (#44959249)

    Ctrl-Alt-Del was a thing *before* Windows. Microsoft made use of it because it was there. It made sense to use it as a login trigger by intercepting its function. Especially since doing so put the reboot function under the control of the OS, not the user.

    Yes, I've only read the summary, not the article itself, but I suggest you read this in conjunction with it, or afterwards:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ctrl_alt_del

    • by DickBreath (207180) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:08AM (#44959605) Homepage
      Ctrl-Alt-Del generates a non maskable interrupt. Yes it was there before Windows, and even before DOS. If an OS wants to react to it other than instantly rebooting, said OS needs to install an interrupt handler for it. That interrupt handler is fired at a way lower level than ordinary keystrokes, malware, or friendly userspace applications.

      Using Ctrl-Alt-Del to trigger login gives you two kinds of security:
      1. Software cannot simulate a Ctrl-Alt-Del in order to play games with the login screen.
      2. By first pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del, the user logging on can be quite sure that they are giving their login credentials to a genuine Windows (or whatever OS) login screen, and not some malware that merely resembles the login screen.
      • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaho o . com> on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:29AM (#44959905)

        Using Ctrl-Alt-Del to trigger login gives you two kinds of security:

        1. Software cannot simulate a Ctrl-Alt-Del in order to play games with the login screen.

        2. By first pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del, the user logging on can be quite sure that they are giving their login credentials to a genuine Windows (or whatever OS) login screen, and not some malware that merely resembles the login screen.

        Perhaps I'm simply misinformed and the software does something different somewhere...but I've 'simulated' Ctrl+Alt+Del from Remote Desktop, LogMeIn, TeamViewer, and VNC...I still don't follow how this still holds true.

        • When you press Ctrl+Alt+Del on your computer, you know that the OS is the one that receives it so you know that the login screen before you was generated by the OS and not some malware that's sitting in userland.

          When you 'simulate' it from a remote session, you lose that guarantee. Any malware could intercept the simulated Ctrl+Alt+Del and show you what looks like the OS login screen.

        • by DickBreath (207180) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @12:34PM (#44961373) Homepage
          Those programs and protocols have provisions to simulate a Ctrl-Alt-Del. A VM will actually simulate the non maskable interrupt. If you are remoted in to a GUI that is not on the physical console, then there is no keyboard to generate an NMI and the GUI you are connected to simply reacts to the simulated NMI (aka Ctrl-Alt-Del).

          But try 'simulating' a Ctrl-Alt-Del for the GUI session attached to the physical display/keyboard. I'll wait.
  • I have kids. At times, they've randomly walked up to the keyboard and pressed keys. That's how I found out that one of my keyboards had a "moon" key, and that it magically shut down my computer - no prompting needed. And the number of times I've intentionally pressed the "Windows" key? Probably once a year.

    • The sleep key to put a computer to sleep was pretty common on OEM systems for a while (especially Compaq), but I see it less often now on basic keyboards.

      If you run Windows and never use the Windows key, you're missing out on a lot of good keyboard shortcuts.

  • by nbritton (823086) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:47AM (#44959269)

    Why on earth would you want a key on your keyboard to be a non maskable interrupt? Heaven forbid you mistype, or someone comes walking by and hits it. I'm going to have to side with IBM on this one. Also, what does C.A.D. have to do with starting a computer? It was only added to the Windows startup processes as a way to trick malicious programs into terminating.

  • by MiniMike (234881) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:48AM (#44959287)

    I'm just glad we didn't have to do something like Ctrl + Alt + Del + F6 + Esc + (number pad) Enter for the same functionality.

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:00AM (#44959481)

    I don't understand the problem. Ctrl+Alt+Del originally meant "reboot". That's obviously not something you want to do accidentally. If there's a problem it is in using the three-finger-salute for things other than reboot.

  • by ls671 (1122017) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:18AM (#44959761) Homepage

    I used to work for a small company where we had 10 Linux servers and 1 windows NT box hooked to a Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) switch. My boss was using the windows server for Webtrends.

    He would never check which server he was on before pressing ctrl-alt-del to login so he would reboot the Linux servers at random causing customers to phone us because they were offline.

    Gladly enough, ctrl-alt-del isn't as hardcoded in Linux that it is in Windows. All I had to do is modify the init scripts to ignore ctrl-alt-del so that solved our problem.

  • RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:16AM (#44960511)

    Since most can't seem to be bothered to read the TFA, you're all a bit confused.

    Gates isn't opposed to the three finger salute for rebooting, he's decrying M$ use of Ctrl-Alt-Delete to LOGIN TO WINDOWS.
    It would be nice if the title represented the story accurately, but this is slashdot.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @11:24AM (#44960613) Journal

    The summary doesn't give the real reason -- it's in TFA. As ctl-alt-del was a low level interrupt on the PC to restart -- getting out of a bluescreen or a hung desktop -- and given that it was absurdly easy to write a trojan that mimicked the login screen, it became necessary to force users to use ctl-alt-del to log in to be able to tell the difference between the real login process and a fake one. There really wasn't a better choice. People had already used the key combination for years to unjam windows, and it was an easy way to enforce a needed security measure.

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