Pause key

Updated: 02/07/2022 by Computer Hope
Pause key

Located near the top-right of most PC keyboards, sharing the break key (as shown here), the pause key can temporarily halt a computer process. For example, the pause key could momentarily stop a computer game, like Deus Ex or the Call of Duty games, while the user steps away.


Most compact laptops, including Ultrabooks and netbook computers, do not have a pause key. Also, Apple keyboards do not have a pause key.

Depending on the program or the specific action desired, users may need to press Shift or Ctrl plus the pause key to pause a program or game. On a computer with the Microsoft Windows operating system, users can also press Windows key and Pause to bring up the System Properties window.

The most common use for the pause key today is to pause the screen output from the BIOS (basic input/output system) when a computer is first booting up.

Where is the Pause key on the keyboard?

The Pause key may be abbreviated as Pa or Pause and is found with the other control keys on the keyboard. Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the Pause key highlighted in blue.

Print Screen key


On Apple computer keyboards, the Pause key may be missing and have an F15 function key instead.

Where is a Pause key on a laptop keyboard?

Laptop control keys

The Pause key on a laptop is often part of another key near Backspace, as shown in the picture. If a laptop uses two keys as one key, you must press Fn with the second key you want to use. On a laptop, the Scr Lk, Pause, and Break functions are usually part of another key and are in blue text.

To use these keys, press Fn and the key with the blue text you want to use. In the example picture, Pause is part of the Insert key, so you would need to press Fn and Insert to execute the Pause functionality.


With laptops there's no standard placement for the Pause key. Your laptop may not have the same configuration as shown in the picture. However, all PCs follow the same steps mentioned above.


Smaller, more compact laptops may not include a Pause key.

How to resume from a pause

If you're using a program where the Pause key pauses the program or the output (e.g., pressing pause as the computer boots). You can resume from the pause by pressing the Enter.

Break, Control keys, Keyboard terms, Pause