Pause the execution of a batch file.


Displays the message "Press any key to continue . . ."

Presssing Ctrl-C when this prompt appears will offer the option: Terminate batch job (Y/N)?
Pressing either y or Y will then end the batch script immediately.

To suppress the message:

PAUSE >nul

To display a different message:

Echo Are you sure? Press Ctrl-C to cancel.
PAUSE >nul

Execution of a batch script can also be paused by pressing CTRL-S (or the Pause|Break key) on the keyboard, this also works for pausing a single command such as a long DIR /s listing.
Pressing any key will resume the operation.

Pause is often used at the end of a script to give the user time to read some output text.
An alternative to this is to run the script using CMD /K:

START CMD /k C:\demo\yourscript.cmd

That will run the script and the window will remain open for any further input. The limitation is that this only acts like a PAUSE statement at the very end of a script.

PAUSE does not set or clear the Errorlevel.
PAUSE is an internal command.

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Related commands

SLEEP - Wait for x seconds.
TIMEOUT - Delay that allows the user to press a key and continue immediately.
PowerShell: Pause
Equivalent bash command (Linux): read -p "press any key to continue" or ctrl-z & fg

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