Steve Ballmer Wrote The First Blue Screen Of Death Text

Yes, the one and only. The Blue Screen of Death, also known as BSOD, is as much a Windows trademark, as the Start Button, Start Menu, and more recently, the Start Screen.

Currently it shows up whenever something goes wrong with the operating system, but in previous versions this blue screen popped up whenever a certain key combination was pressed — yes, the famous Ctrl+Alt+Del keys.

First introduced in Windows 3.1, it allowed a way for users to close a program or an application that was not responding. At the same time, this screen also offered a quick way to restart the computer.

Well, as this post on The Old New Thing blog explains, it was none other than former CEO Steve Ballmer that wrote the text of this screen in the first version.

He was the head of the Systems division back then, and wanted a different text for this feature:

“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. The text he came up with was actually quite good, and it went into the product pretty much word for word.”

The rest, as they say, is history, and these words soon became famous among Windows enthusiasts.

Obviously, the BSOD evolved a lot in subsequent years, and was refined in various versions of the operating system. Newer versions of the platform handle application crashes better than before, and besides, they do not offer as often as they did before.

But all said and done, this is one more thing you can thank Ballmer for.

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  • Mike Greenway

    Remember glass houses? Put down the rocks!