I'm using Boot Camp to run Windows on my Mac.

Last night I tried to compress the memory of C, then after that finished, it told me to

Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart

How do I press these keys?

  • this question is > 5 years old and still has no validated answer. could please someone confirm what works here?
    – pallox
    Feb 26, 2019 at 14:45
  • Ctrl-Alt-Backspace (without Fn) seems to work for me on my MacBook Pro, as (roughly) per FDinoff's answer. Not sure how that works exactly - maybe there's some specific logic to handle that case.
    – mwfearnley
    May 19, 2020 at 10:54
  • I just today installed Windows 10 using Bootcamp on a 2012 MBRP 15" running OSX 10.13.6, and found that both key combos in FDinoff's answer work for me.
    – mhucka
    Jan 8, 2021 at 19:45

7 Answers 7


One of these should work. Option is Alt in Windows. Your Backspace key generates Delete (You might need to press the Fn key to generate Delete)

Control + Option + Delete


Control + Option + Fn + Delete

  • 1
    Should the key combinations say "Backspace" instead of "Delete"? If there were a Delete key, that would probably just work!
    – mwfearnley
    May 19, 2020 at 10:56
  • This one one of several confused answers. Backspace & Delete are two separate keys unless you have a short keyboard, in which case you use Fn/Backspace to mimic Delete. Backspace alone never generates Delete.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 4, 2021 at 15:48

You should also try:

Ctrl Shift Esc

  • It's similar in that it also opens Task Manager like C-A-D sometimes does. But it won't work in the other situations, where C-A-D specifically is needed.
    – user1686
    May 4, 2015 at 16:56

Here is an alternative. This worked for me in a slightly different and more complicated setup (connecting from a Mac to a Linux server through SSH and then from the Linux server to a Windows Server 2016 server through Remote desktop protocol using the rdesktop Linux RDP command line client).

In Windows:

  1. Click Start menu
  2. Click in the search bar
  3. Type "powershell"
  4. In the search results, click "powershell.exe"
  5. In the PowerShell shell that opens, type the following:

    Powershell -noprofile -nologo -noninteractive -command "(new-object -ComObject shell.application).WindowsSecurity()"

If PowerShell is not available, instead search for "cmd.exe" and in the cmd prompt, type:

explorer shell:::{2559a1f2-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}

Taken from: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/9c2ea402-087a-40a0-83de-170b49fdaac5/how-to-change-password-in-rdp-session?forum=winserverTS

Note: if your Mac keyboard layout is not English US, it might be hard to get the {, } characters in cmd.exe. In that case try the following:

  • Change you keyboard layout on your Mac to English US (use System Preferences)
  • In X11's preferences, check "Use system keyboard layout"
  • In Windows, make sure to also set the keyboard layout to English US.
  • These don’t work in the trivial setup of a single, non-Mac computer, with a user at the keyboard.   So I would be surprised if they work on Mac. Mar 20, 2020 at 20:01
  • well... it does works for me :)
    – philb
    Mar 20, 2020 at 20:06

To press CTRLALTDelete on a macOS machine, ^delete will not work.
You will need to press ^fndelete to get it to work.
the delete key on macOS is backspace, and fndelete is the real delete.

  • This is one of several confused answers. "the delete key on macOS is backspace" No it's not.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 4, 2021 at 15:46

Many of the answers here are confused.
The reason there is so much confusion is that many people who have only ever owned Macbooks & others with short keyboards may be unaware that an extended keyboard has both true Delete and Backspace keys, whereas a short keyboard only has a Backspace key.
Windows wants the 'true' Delete key.

enter image description here

Pressing Fn Backspace will send 'true' Delete.

So on an extended keyboard Ctrl ⌃ Alt ⌥ Delete ⌦ is the correct method.
On a short keyboard you need to press Ctrl ⌃ Alt ⌥ Fn Backspace ⌫
The Fn Backspace method will also work on an extended keyboard if you really feel the need.

Opt == Alt in all cases.
Some Mac keyboards actually say Alt, some say Opt & some only have the symbol ⌥.
It's all the same key.


You should be able to use one of the following:

  • Ctrl+Option+Del

  • Command+Option+Del

  • Ctrl+Option+Fn+Del

  • Command+Option+Fn+Del

  • Only if your keyboard has a 'Del' key in the first place.
    – mwfearnley
    May 19, 2020 at 10:48

Bootcamp Windows Partition. I tried 'every combination' that I found and none of them worked when I tried to log in to Windows. I solved this CtrlAltDelete problem by plugging a PC keyboard in to the Macbook. Worked like a champ! Be sure to change that "user must press CtrlAltDelete" setting in User Accounts once you are in!

  • This seems more like a comment then an answer to the proposed question.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 15, 2016 at 17:49
  • It looks like a workaround to me - plug in a PC keyboard.
    – Karu
    Mar 15, 2016 at 18:26

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