Break command

Updated: 11/12/2023 by Computer Hope
Break command

The break command can enable or disable the breaking capability of the computer. For example, if you wanted to cancel a batch file or another MS-DOS processes, press Ctrl+C to get a prompt asking to cancel the current process.

Turning break off will cancel Ctrl+C; however, the user can still press Ctrl+Break and have the capability of getting out of a batch file or current running process.


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


Break is an internal command and is available in the following Microsoft operating systems.

Break syntax

Windows Vista and later syntax

Sets or clears extended Ctrl+C checking on DOS system.

Break syntax 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 examples

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.