Microsoft DOS break command

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About break
Break syntax
Break examples

About break

Break can be used to enable or disable the breaking capability of the computer. For example, if a user wanted to cancel a batch file or another MS-DOS processes, that user could press CTRL + C (break), which would then prompt the user if they want to cancel the current process.

Turning break off will cancel CTRL + C; however, the user will still be able to press CTRL + PAUSE/BREAK and have the capability of getting out of a batch file or current running process.

Note: Newer versions of Windows (Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and higher) only include this command for backwards compatibility and turning the break off has no effect.


The break command is an internal command and is available in the below Microsoft operating systems.

All Versions of MS-DOS
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8


Windows XP and earlier syntax
Windows Vista and later syntax

Windows Vista and later syntax

Sets or Clears Extended CTRL+C checking on DOS system

This is present for Compatibility with DOS systems. It has no effect under Windows.

If Command Extensions are enabled, and running on the Windows platform, then the BREAK command will enter a hard coded breakpoint if being debugged by a debugger.

Windows XP and earlier syntax

Sets or clears extended CTRL+C checking.


Type BREAK without a parameter to display the current BREAK setting.


break on

Turns on the break, which allows the Ctrl + C function.

break off

Turns off the break, not allowing Ctrl + C to cancel a process.

Additional information

  • See our break definition for further information and related links on this term.