Rus Articles Journal

Who thought up Ctrl combination - Alt - Del?

this year to personal computers are 33 years. And how many miracles for this small term created boxes which need even their creators, engineers of the IBM company doubted!

at the beginning of 1980 - x years the company sold large computers (mainframes) to big customers: to the government, military, universities, scientific centers, big corporations. Orders were huge, money from them went big. What here to think of trifles, of some there personal computers! Unless to use them as intelligent terminals to mainframes?

In 1975 model 5100 computer quite suitable for work on it one person was released. There was it desktop, with built-in is black - the white monitor, with the keyboard and with the store on a magnetic tape. The quite good candidate for personal computers, if not the price - 20 thousand dollars. It is very heavy!

At the beginning of 1980 - x years in the market of personal computers was a few players. In - the first, the initiator of all “games“ with personal computers, the Apple company with the Apple II system. It was followed by the Commodore, Atari, RadioShack and Tandy companies. They released rather cheap computers for radio fans who received the main high from the fact that they collected this “mukhorayka“ by the hands, and then had a good time simple amusing games, having connected the game computer to the screen of the home TV and to the home cassette tape recorder.

As the IBM firm considered creation of small computers as a non-core burden, was decided to bring the project to the reasonable end small group of the engineers and programmers (only 12 people) united under the leadership of Don Estridzha (Don Estrige) . It was supposed that if personal computers are necessary for something for firm, the third-party companies can “dump“ their production. And therefore to save time and to reduce the product price, designers as much as possible used “others“ practices. For the same reason the IBM company, at all not the baby in the jungle of protection of intellectual property, practically refused licensing of own components and basic system of input-output (BIOS). Let thousands of flowers blossom, let IBM PC be cloned by all, to anyone!

On the course of design there were little changes which defined - by a lofty style being expressed - destiny of mankind.

It was originally supposed that the IBM 801 processor which already had own operating system will be “brain“ of the new personal computer. But then as the processor for the personal computer chose Intel 8088. It was required to develop quickly and cheap an operating system for this processor. Contracted it to make the small company “Microsoft“. So there was MS - DOS which subsequently “Microsoft“ made the main product for several years and thanks to which this crumb with staff in 30 people turned into the international corporation.

Developers saved time and that they used already ready monitor and the printer. The monitor was developed in the Japanese branch IBM long ago, and as the printer took the matrix Epson printer. The keyboard and the monitor were not built in the computer, and were connected by means of a cable. This decision seems usual now, but then it was a new experience. The computer was designed and constructed in one year and one month. The first sample was let out on August 12, 1981.

David Bradley was one of the engineers working in team which created IBM PC (David J. Bradley). In five minutes he thought up piece which is still known by all. And will probably know until there are PC. Namely a combination from three keys - Control - Alt - Delete which forces the computer to reboot without switching off. Or, as speak, “to make hot restart“.

Bradley`s team developed basic system of input-output (BIOS). This system began work at once after turning on of the computer. It checked existence of various devices (the monitor, the keyboard, a floppa - disks, the timer, etc.) then tried to load an operating system from a floppy disk and if loading happened successfully, transferred control of MS DOS. It is so-called “cold restart“ prior to which the computer did not work.

Now “cold restart“ takes minutes 2, in 1980 - more than 5 minutes. When debugging continually it was necessary to make restart and to spend a lot of time, looking at the black screen on which green small letters run. To accelerate process of debugging of BIOS, Bradley made in the program an additional entry point for “hot restart“, after check of all joining equipment, there where loading of an operating system began actually. Thereby time of reset was reduced more than half.

“Hot restart“ was originally made by simultaneous pressing the Control keys - Alt - Escape. It is possible to press these three keys at the same time fingers of one hand, but it is difficult. Be trained, at you it will turn out! But then, to guarantee still big safety against casual pressing of a “fatal“ combination of keys, decided to replace a former combination with Control - Alt - Delete. On the old keyboard of IBM it was impossible to press one hand three of these keys at the same time. Americans call this combination “greetings three fingers“ (“three - finger salute“). Russian-speaking programmers sometimes use more intricate name: “combination from three fingers“.

David Bradley remembers that all work on installation in point BIOS of “hot restart“ took it at most 15 minutes, and then he was engaged following from one hundred works which should have been made. Nobody was going to open this production sekretik to general public. Bill Gates revealed him. It was very dissatisfied that on the computer or on the keyboard engineers did not find time to make the button for “hot restart“. From - for it on “the blue screen of death“ well-known in due time it was necessary to write “Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to start your computer anew“. So the whole world learned that such Ctrl+Alt+Del, and David Bradley became famous as the inventor of a combination from three fingers.