Windows key+Break: Show System Properties

Chances are you’ve got this “Break” key on your keyboard in the upper center (it might be located with the “Pause” key) and you’ve never used it. It sure doesn’t do much. Well, if you press that Windows key plus the Break key, you get the System Properties control panel, which (among other things) tells you how much memory your computer has. With a couple of presses of the Ctrl+Tab key to change tabs in the dialog box, you can view your hardware devices and make sure they’re working, change your computer name, or a few other administrative tasks.

26 thoughts on “Windows key+Break: Show System Properties”

  1. On my standard keyboard, the Win key + Pause/Break works, but on my laptop, where the Pause and Break are separated, it’s Win key + Pause – just a heads up in case it doesn’t work for some folks.

  2. Thanks. Just a note: I have one of those Microsoft media keyboards that includes and “F Lock” key. The F Lock has to be turned OFF for this key combo to work; with F Lock on, the combo operates the Scroll Lock function.

  3. How is using the mouse _and_ the keyboard easier than using just the keyboard?

    You’d have to take your other hand off the keyboard to do that – no thanks.

  4. @Steven & Koloman
    Thats a good trick and what if you don’t want to take your hand off your mouse? If you happen to already have the mouse in hand it would be better but otherwise the Alt+Break is probobaly better.

  5. Hi all,
    that’s Windows + Pause, not Windows + Break!!
    Not all keyboards have pause/break on the same key…


  6. that shortcut was working on my laptop, but suddenly…

    I press Win + Pause, and nothing happens

    I have a hp dv 6338, any idea?

  7. Either Windows+Pause or Windows+Break should work. The official listing from Microsoft’s help pages is Windows+Break, but keyboards do vary.

    Alex, sorry, no idea about what might have disabled it. Glad the reboot fixed it though. (Josh, try rebooting?)

  8. hp laptop keyboards’ ctrl, alt, and shift keys have a tendency to get invisibly “stuck”. the physical key is not stuck, so you can’t directly see or feel the problem.
    this can be very confusing, since it will cause certain keystrokes or mouseclicks to either not work at all or to do something different. but if you know to expect it, the fix is easy.
    just tap all the ctrl, alt, and shift keys to get the offending key “unstuck”.
    i have an hp dv8000, and a couple times i couldn’t even log into windows because a shift key was stuck.
    by the way, system properties shortcut is winkey+(fn)+pgup(pause) for me. (pause is fn+pgup on my laptop)

  9. I tried to go the old Pandora’s Battery method on my friend’s slim but it just shows a black screen then turns off leading me to believe he has one of the un-pandorable psp(s). I tested the Pandora’s Battery on my phat psp and sure enough it works so that

  10. iyou might have to press [fn] + winkey + pause for it to work on a HP laptop because the pause button is the [fn] version of pg up or something like that.

  11. I’ve just bought Samsung NP350 series laptop. The Pause/Break key is not there. Is there another way to bring up System Properties? Alt+Dblclick does not work either – is it because its Windows 8? Somebody suggested that Break works by pressing Fn+Esc. But Win+Fn+Esc is not bringing up System Properties.

  12. On my NP53 under W7, Fn+Esc does work as a Break key when running VB code in excel (though behaves slightly oddly by apparently speeding up execution and over-riding the WAIT function unless pressed for a long period

  13. I have never used a Pause or Break key but my latest laptop has Pause printed on the Right Shift Key. I don’t know what it’s for, even after reading some of the above and other bits on websites.

    Does tapping on one part of that key activate the Shift Key and on another part, the Pause?

    A few times on this laptop while typing I get a beep and look at the screen to see the cursor still blinking, perhaps in the middle of a word, but while I’m trying to type the letters I’m typing do not show in my document or e-mail screen.After I wait a good while the typing starts appearing again. Does this have something to do with the Break key? Would I have hit it by mistake? I hadn’t used the Shift for a capital at that time. I am confused. Help!

    1. For the 1st. question, about Shift/Pause key: on HP 240 notebook if you press fn+right shift, it acts as “pause”, if you press the right shift key only, it acts as a normal Shift Key.

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