Most long-time users of Windows have probably witnessed a few Blue Screens of Death (BSODs) in their time using the operating system. But one thing you probably didn't know (until you read the title of this article), is that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer actually wrote the original version of the BSOD.

Microsoft developer Raymond Chen revealed this tidbit in a blog post. The story begins with Windows 3.1 back in 1992 and Ballmer as head of the Systems Division. He visited the Windows team one day and didn't think the wording of the Ctrl+Alt+Del dialog sounded quite right, so the team challenged him to do a better job. And he did.

According to Chen, the phrasing that Ballmer came up with made it into the final product almost word for word. It was the first appearance of the BSOD in Windows, which was used to let people know that an application had, essentially, crashed.

Nowadays the BSOD is reserved for fatal system-level crashes, often arising from driver issues or dodgy hardware. Windows 8.1 displays a frowny face and a short paragraph explaining the predicament before restarting, having evolved significantly since its early iterations.