From the earliest days of Windows, pressing these 3 keys together has helped get you out of sticky situations by launching the Task Manager or re-booting the system.

In the bad old days of Windows 95 and Windows 98, I certainly found myself pressing these keys on a daily basis to re-boot a crashed system, or deal with a crashed application.

But Ctrl + Alt + Del still works in Windows 10 and gives you quick access to the Task Manager, or the options to shut down the system.

However, the famous 'three fingered salute', as it is known, is not without its critics, particularly because it means you have to press keys on opposite sides of the keyboard using both hands, making it difficult for people with reduced mobility.

And, apparently, even Bill Gates now regrets this infamous key combination.

When asked about it at a recent conference, he admitted he regretted including this key combination in the original Windows.

He said that if he were able to go back in time, he'd like to have made the reset operation work with a single key.

This would certainly make things easier but I'd be worried that I might press the key accidentally and re-boot my system, losing hours of work.

Anyway, things aren't that simple. The key combination came about because of the technical limitations of the keyboards supplied with the original IBM PCs. It was only using this 3-key combination that the system could be interrupted and shook out of its frozen state in order to re-boot.

In fact, the key combination was actually invented by an IBM engineer working on the first PCs and not by Microsoft.

Whoever came up with it, it looks like we are stuck with it now.

site map

business hours

We are open for business during the following times:

Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5pm.

newsletter sign up

By subscribing to our newsletter, you will always be updated with the latest news and offers from us.