I'm looking for a way on Windows 7 (without using third party software) to set a custom execution command on Ctrl + Alt + Del and - obviously - disable the menu that opens when pressing those 3 keys.

I am not looking for a way to open the Task Manager directly, and I want to keep the regular functions of the 3 individual keys the same as well.

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    The operating system reserves this key combination for itself. It is unlikely that you will be able to change how these keys interact with the OS. May 14, 2014 at 21:11
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    To clarify I want to run a custom command. Disabling the whole blue menu would be the logical conclusion from my attempt on success. I know this will might require some changes in the core. (To the downvoter: I don't know why I get a down vote for that, it's a legitimate question.) May 14, 2014 at 21:18
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    Maybe if you tell us WHY you want this behavior, we can help come up with a workaround.
    – Wutnaut
    May 14, 2014 at 21:27
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    I'm guessing the downvote is because you're trying to do something that's explicitly in violation of something intended to be guaranteed by the OS. Thus (1) you're attempting to create a security risk, (2) there is no "right way" to do it, and (3) as pointed out by Astara, any workaround is likely to be broken by MS in the future. Why do you want to do this? May 14, 2014 at 23:27
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    That's a drastic enough modification that you should really just use a different operating system, I think. Why wouldn't you just use a different keyboard shortcut for whatever it is that you want to happen? May 15, 2014 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


You would have to write a driver that goes into the OS, to change it's behavior, and it would be unsupported. C-A-D is the "secure attention" key -- that MS says, "guarantees" you are talking to the real password/login screen, since anything else can be intercepted or faked. The implication is that C-A-D cannot be intercepted or faked through any supported mechanism.

I'd bet it is also the case, that if you came up with something that allowed intercepting CAD, MS, would likely regard it as a security flaw and issue a patch to prevent your method from working.

  • I think I fully agree to your answer. In future I might overview GINA.DLL and see what abilities the resources give me. May 15, 2014 at 0:47
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    @modiX: You may be interested in Keith Brown's 2005 article for MSDN Magazine, Customizing GINA and/or the 2001 TechNet article The Essentials of Replacing the Microsoft Graphical Identification and Authentication Dynamic Link Library.
    – eggyal
    May 15, 2014 at 6:07
  • @eggyal Thank you, yea GINAHOOK is what I need. I'm going to install the Windows 7 Platform SDK and check out the given GINAHOOK and GINASTUB examples. May 15, 2014 at 6:31
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    @modiX GINA DLLs are ignored in Windows Vista and later. Source
    – and31415
    May 15, 2014 at 14:06
  • A good example of this kind of integration is Pharos SignUp for libraries. It completely replaced the login screen and Ctrl-Alt-Delete for Windows 2000 and Windows XP. I haven't seen it for newer versions of Windows though.
    – Moshe Katz
    May 20, 2014 at 2:32

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