Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer spent more than 30 years at the Redmond-based software maker, so it’s only natural to expect some of the features that you’re still using today to be entirely based on his ideas.
Most users are already familiar with the infamous Blue Screen of Death that (still) shows up whenever something goes wrong with Windows, but before that, there was just a blue screen that popped out whenever users pressed Ctrl+Alt+Del.
Basically, this particular feature was introduced in Windows 3.1 to allow users to close apps that stopped responding, while also offering the option to quickly restart the computer in case of any software crash.
At that time head of the Systems Division, Ballmer personally examined the way the Ctrl+Alt+Del feature looked, and although he admitted that it was quite a good addition to the operating system, he wanted a different text. So, he decided to do this on his own and write the text that’s now famous among Windows enthusiasts.
“Unlike some other executive, Steve took up the challenge, and a few days later, he emailed what he thought the Ctrl+Alt+Del screen should say,” Microsoft explained on The Old New Thing blog.
This Windows application has stopped responding to the system.
Press ESC to cancel and return to Windows.
Press ENTER to close this application that is not responding. You will lose any unsaved information in this application.
Press CTRL+ALT+Del again to restart your computer. You will lose any unsaved information in all applications.
Needless to say, the Blue Screen of Death itself has evolved a lot since then and it now display more information regarding the error that caused it to show up.
What we have here, however, is actually the very first Blue Screen of Death that looked more like a full-screen error which still allowed users to continue working on their computers even though an app crashed. At this point, whenever you see a BSOD there’s no chance to get back to Windows until you reboot your computer, but app crashes are better handled these days and obviously do not occur so often as before.
And still, here you are, one more thing to thank Steve Ballmer for. Now you know who to blame when you get a BSOD.