The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, speaks on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative 2013 (CGI) in New York.
The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, reveals the one thing he would have changed about Windows. Reuters

Windows was responsible for making Bill Gates the richest man on the planet and changed the way the world used computers, but despite all this the Microsoft founder has one regret about the software: CTRL+ALT+DEL.

The famous combination of keys, which is used to reboot problematic computers and come to the rescue when PCs playup, has become ingrained in the muscle memory of the billions of Windows users with everyone from IT geeks and popular culture adopting the phrase as a way to reflect a desire to 'get rid of something'.

Yet the iconic command (also known as the 'three-finger-salute') wasn't a fan favourite of everybody – namely the creator of the actual software, Bill himself.

At a recent event Gates revealed his dislike of the command and said if he could go back and change anything about the software that made him a multi-billionaire, it would be to add the ability to perform the command using only a single key.

"I'm not sure you can go back and change the small things in your life without putting the other things at risk," said Gates when asked at a Bloomberg Business Forum about why it takes three keys to lock or log in to a PC.

"If I could make one small edit I would make that a single key operation."

Like alerting someone to an annoying background noise they were once unaware of, Gates has now successfully highlighted to all the current active Windows users how irritating having to perform CTRL+ALT+DEL actually is. But he shares your pain, because he never actually wanted the three-keyed command in the first place.

Gates blamed IBM for Windows users having to awkwardly stretch their fingers for nearly 35 years as a result of inflexible hardware.

IBM PC
Microsoft and IBM worked together to bring PCs to the world, but Gates still has hang-ups about the hardware. Ruben de Rijcke, Wikimedia Commons

"The IBM hardware PC keyboard only had one way it could get a guaranteed interrupt generated. So clearly the people involved, they should have put another key on in order to make that work," he said at the forum.

This isn't the first time Gates has expressed his rue for the three-finger-salute, as in 2013 he once again threw blame on IBM for not being able to provide a single-key solution.

On a more positive side, if this is the only regret Gates has about the world-changing software then it goes to show why the operating system was such a dominating success. Talking of regrets, we won't mention Windows Vista or this video then...