David Bradley was the 12th member of the 12 member team in Project Acorn – the IBM race to build a PC in record times. It was the spring of 1981 and engineers were going crazy as the prototypes will crash regularly and the boot up will take for ever as every time it had to go through a series of memory tests. Bradley was entrusted with a way to trigger a reset without the memory tests.
“Five months into the project, he created ctrl+alt+del … “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,”…Bradley never intended to make the shortcut available to customers, nor did he expect it to enter the pop lexicon”. writes Virginia Hughes. Bradley wanted the keys far apart making it unlikely that they were pressed at the same time. The IBM PC shipped and the shortcut remained. It came to light only when MS Windows started crashing all over and users discovered Ctrl+Alt +Del. It spread through word of mouth making Bradley a programming hero.
Bradley acknowledged the contribution of Microsoft to making his invention famous in a bitter sweet way. Of-course Bill Gates thinks otherwise.
Where I learnt it #193