The hidden function of the keyboard “BREAK” button

Some of you know what the “Pause/Break” button on the keyboard does. But what is the actual function of the break command? And is it in use today?

History of the button

Back in the -90’s while using command prompt, or the actual DOS, this button had a life saving feature as it allowed you to pause those long executed “dir” command inside a folder by pausing the processor. But what about the “Break” feature? This function was invented a loooong time ago and was designed to break the connection of a modem on older machines. If we go even further back in time, the break button was used by the operators to start and stop a transmitting connection on the telegraph lines.

I don’t own a telegraph line what good is it for me?

Well, it’s a long forgotten key, and the reason why it’s there today is because of the standard keyboard layout that still exists.

But Microsoft has given the key some function after all. If you press and hold the windows key and hit the break key you will actually see the computers system properties. It’s faster than right clicking the “My Computer” icon and hit properties. Also it’s much faster than entering into “control panel” and search up the system entry.

So as it is an old key function that has been with us for a very long time, Microsoft has been kind to blow some life back into it.


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