Check out the simple, fascinating origin story of Ctrl+Alt+Delete

Ctrl+Alt+Delete. It's the one key combination that practically everyone, including your tech-challenged family members, knows as the go-to for getting out of sticky situations with an unresponsive PC.

But how did that specific combinations come to be?

The story starts with an IBM engineer in 1980, on a quest to solve the problem of how to quickly reset the IBM PC he was working on without having to go through a lengthy system reset.

YouTube channel "Great Big Story" has a great video that covers the whole story with the engineer that created the iconic key combination, Dr. Dave Bradley, and you can get the full scoop above.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • I met Dr. Bradley after he gave a talk and I also got an old school keyboard signed by him.
  • I had him as a professor a few times in college. I enjoyed his teaching style.
  • Control-Alt-Del ended immediate problems and then had you hoping the system was not hashed when you brought it back up once PCs were no longer just hobbyist toys. I spent a lot of time recovering from morons who used it as a Reset without worrying about the consequences. And, I believe Gates is on record as saying it was one of the biggest mistakes they ever let out the door, too.