Bill Gates admits ‘Control-Alt-Delete’ a mistake

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, talks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 in New York. Gates was participating in a panel discussion on, "Big Bets" Philanthropy: Partnership, Risk-Taking, and Innovation." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Bill Gates has finally admitted the puzzling Control-Alt-Delete key combination used to access the login screen on personal computers was a mistake.

According to Yahoo! US reports, Gates, co-founder and former chairman of Microsoft, made mention of the mistake during a recent appearance at Harvard University.

"We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button.

“You want to have something you do with the keyboard that is signaling to a very low level of the software — actually hard-coded in the hardware — that it really is bringing in the operating system you expect, instead of just a funny piece of software that puts up a screen that looks like a login screen, and then it listens to your password and then it’s able to do that,” the billionaire software mogul explained.

The odd combination was originally designed to reboot a PC, but it became part of PC folklore as a login prompt in early versions of Windows. The IBM PC that Gates helped develop was introduced in the fall of 1981.

This admission from Gates came after years of debate over the key combination.

David Bradley, the engineer who came up with the sequence, has previously blamed it on Gates.

"I may have invented it," Bradley said, "but Bill made it famous."

Bradley said he still didn't know why Gates used the Control-Alt-Delete for the login screen.