Three-finger salute (computing)

From Academic Kids

In computing, the three-finger salute is a jocular term for the keyboard combination that forces a soft boot, brings up the process manager (on Windows, BeOS or Mac OS X) or a jump to ROM monitor. These keys are sometimes referred to in computer manuals as interrupt keys, since they are often used to interrupt the operation of a malfunctioning program. The "three-finger salute" is named after the one-finger salute, a euphemistic name for a rude hand gesture. Other humorous synonyms include the "Vulcan nerve pinch" or "Vulcan death grip" from the original Star Trek TV series.

Platform Key combo Function
Acorn Machines (pre-1987) Break Soft reset the machine (hold down Ctrl as well for hard reboot, hold down SHIFT to boot from disk)
Acorn Machines (post-1987) Reset key Soft reset the machine (hold down Ctrl as well for hard reboot, hold down SHIFT to boot from disk. On some later systems, the SHIFT key would have an opposite effect.)
Amiga Ctrl + Left Amiga (or Commodore) + Right Amiga Reboot the machine
Amstrad CPC 464 and CPC6128 Shift + Ctrl + Esc Reset (cold)
Amstrad PCW Shift + Extra + Exit Reset (cold)
IBM PC under DOS Ctrl + Alt + Del Perform a soft reboot
IBM PC under Windows 3.x shell Ctrl + Alt + Del Close unresponsive applications or (if pressed twice) perform a soft reboot
IBM PC under Microsoft Windows (95, 98, and Me) Ctrl + Alt + Del Bring up simplistic task manager (actually "Close Program" dialog) or (if pressed twice) perform a soft reboot
IBM PC under Windows NT-based OS (NT, 2000, and XP) Ctrl + Shift + Esc Bring up the Task Manager
Ctrl + Alt + Del Bring up the login screen (when pressed in login screen), or the "Windows security" dialog or (configurable on Windows 2000 and later) the Task Manager (when logged in)
IBM PC under OS/2 Ctrl + Esc Bring up the Window List (unblocking the synchronous input queue)
Ctrl + Alt + Del Perform a soft reboot
Ctrl + Alt + NumLock (twice) Halt the system and begin a system dump to floppy disc
IBM PC under Linux Ctrl + Alt + Del Signal the init process (usually configured to soft reboot)
Alt + SysRq + function key Depending on the function key, performs a certain low-level function. Examples: sync (flush caches), reboot (forced soft reboot), unmount (remount filesystems readonly), etc...
IBM PC under other OS Ctrl + Alt + Del Often (but not always) configured to reboot
Sun workstation L1/Stop + A Enter ROM monitor
Sun workstation (serial console) Break Enter ROM monitor
Apple II family machines Ctrl + Reset Enter the monitor or ROM BASIC
Ctrl + Cmd + Reset Reboot the machine
Ctrl + Option + Reset Enter BIOS setup, then reboot
Ctrl + Option + Apple + Reset Self-test, then reboot
Some Apple Macintosh computers Cmd + Power Enter monitor
Control + Cmd + Power Reboot the machine
Mac OS (7 and later) Command + Option + Esc Force quit applications
SGI workstation Left Shift + Left Ctrl + Left Alt + Keypad Divide + F12
Commodore 64/128 Run/Stop + Restore Halt (soft reconfiguration) and return to READY prompt
X Window System Ctrl + Alt + Backspace Restarts windowing system, logging the user out if using an X display manager, kills X otherwise
TI-89 2nd + Left Arrow + Right Arrow + On Restarts the calculator and clears RAM
HP-48 On + C Restarts RPL, clearing the Stack and PICT, closing IO, and returning to the HOME directory (but not purging the memory)
On + A + F As above, but also purges the memory
BeOS Ctrl-Alt-Shift and click an applications entry in the Deskbar Kills application

See also

Article originally based on Three-finger salute ( at FOLDOC (, used with permission.



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