Bill Gates on if he regrets Control-Alt-Delete: 'You can't go back and change the small things in your life without putting the other things at risk'

Bill gates windows 3.0Microsoft ArchiveBill Gates poses with Windows 3.0, the 1990 operating system that introduced ‘control-alt-delete’ to Windows.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and the world’s richest man, is not usually one to look back. Indeed, his first and most famous book to date was titled “The Road Ahead.” 

So it’s no surprise that Gates had a philosophical answer when pressed at a Bloomberg event today on whether or not he regrets “control-alt-delete,” the infamous two-handed keystroke for logging in to or restarting a Windows PC.

“You can’t go back and change the small things in your life without putting the other things at risk,” Gates said, according to a report in Quartz.

However, Gates does go on to admit that if he could change one thing without affecting linear time too harshly, he would have made it a single button. 

This isn’t the first time Gates has made this point, either: Back in 2013, Gates said that he originally intended for “control-alt-delete” to be a single button, but IBM got in the way. Back around 1980, when the two companies were collaborating on the original IBM PC, Microsoft couldn’t get IBM to spare a dedicated button on the keyboard.

This is something that IBM PC co-creator David Bradley once copped to, during a panel discussion at a media event. 

“I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous,” Bradley said  — leaving Gates, also sitting on the stage, looking somewhere between bemused and annoyed. 

You can watch that moment here:

For all the second-thoughts about it, control-alt-delete has stuck around: It’s still in current versions of Windows 10, now used primarily to access the task manager or to switch logged-in users quickly.

Get the latest IBM stock price here.

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