The creation of Ctrl-Alt-Delete

Nowadays, ‘switching it off and on again’ has entered the everyday computer user’s lexicon. However, there was a time when rebooting a PC took time, patience and a developer’s knowhow.

In 1981, IBM were on the cusp of computing innovation. Their new 5150 personal computer would bring software into the domestic space, but it still required a way for developers to be able to reboot it – without the usual slow, onerous memory checks. When David Bradley programmed the Ctrl-Alt-Del shortcut, he purposefully chose three keys that are difficult to press all at once, accidentally. While always intended for developers’ back pockets, it became a swift way for everyday users to restart their home computers when Microsoft added the command to its Windows Operating System.

Ever since David Bradley’s invention entered mainstream computing, IBM has remained a forerunner of electronics inventions. As outside counsel for the brand, Abel + Imray has been proud to do our ‘bit’ in the PC revolution.

"I may have invented it, but Bill [Gates] made it famous"
- David Bradley, inventor of the Ctrl-Alt-Del shortcut.