A slang term for the CTRL-ALT-DEL sequence used to reboot a Windows machine (indicating that it takes 3 fingers to press the keys). Usually only used when you've run into a BSOD.

Oddly, if you are using NT, you use the same to lock your screen, change your password, and neatly shut down your computer. This is probably one of the greatest UI snafus ever.

thread = T = throwaway account

three-finger salute n.

Syn. Vulcan nerve pinch.

--Jargon File, autonoded by rescdsk.

The Everyone Project.
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The Macintosh version was a lot more satisfying. Holding down the control and command keys, you hit the power key (also on the keyboard) and your computer's current state would instantly become a thing of the past, and a new dawn would be heralded by the lovely Macintosh startup chime. Of course, everything in memory was utterly obliterated, but you would normally be performing this key combination to get you out of a fatal system freeze anyway.

With the transition to USB keyboards, this key combination has become a lot less satisfying, in that it's not always guaranteed to work. If I understand it correctly, certain processes need to be operational to interpret the input from the USB keyboard, whereas the old ADB keyboard could transmit a restart even to the most paralysed system. You can still restart the machine using the control+command+power key combination, but only if the system is more or less fully operational, and why would you want to do that? Also, the power key on the USB keyboard is flush with the keypad surround, so the salute is that little bit trickier to perform.

Oh, and you can use control+command+esc to force the current application to quit. Except that this will not work if your computer is even slightly angry at you.

Update: As generic-man reminds me, the Apple Pro Keyboard doesn't even have a power key. Truly the three-finger salute is a thing of the past.

The Mac has three 'salutes' you can make when the system freezes or hangs.

First, a force reboot is Command-Control-PowerKey. This (hopefuly) reboots your machine (just like if you'd selected 'restart'). As ryano pointed out, though, this has become much less effective recently than it once was.

Second, a force quit is Command-Option-Escape (not Command-Control-Escape!). This pops up a dialog box asking if you want to force quit an application. Usualy this won't fare too well, either, if you're badly frozen or hung, but can be useful if you need to quit an application when it wouldn't normaly be possible.

Third, a soft interrupt key is Command-PowerKey. On older machines, there was an actual interrupt button on the machine, but I don't think they have them any more. Anyway, it will pop up a dialog similar to the Force Quit dialog, but it will just have a little prompt in it. If you type 'G F' (gee space eff), and hit return, it will force quit the application if you aren't too badly frozen. This usualy has a higher rate of success than Command-Option-Escape.

If you have a debugger, (read: MacsBug), Command-PowerKey will boot you into that. MacsBug can almost always recover from anything but a really nasty crash, but is fairly complicated to use. It is, after all, a programmer's tool.

It is "crucial" to note that while the Force Reboot does require three fingers, it is strange to see either of the others preformed with three fingers -- the interrupt key obviously requires two, and Force Quit can be affected with only a thumb on the Command and Option keys, and an extended finger to the Escape key.

One way to describe the Boy Scout salute. To do so, you touch the thumb and pinky of your right hand, and raise the middle three to your brow (straight and flat).

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