Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows key+Break: Show System Properties

Posted in Windows by estephen on May 11th, 2007

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.

22 Responses to 'Windows key+Break: Show System Properties'

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  1. Jason said,

    on May 14th, 2007 at 6:06 am

    Excellent shortcut, thanks. I open that dialog countless times a day.

  2. Jim said,

    on May 18th, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    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.

  3. Tom Buckner said,

    on May 19th, 2007 at 6:38 am

    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.

  4. Steven said,

    on May 21st, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    A little easier trick would be to hold the ALT key and double click “My Computer” on your desktop. :-)

  5. koloman said,

    on June 6th, 2007 at 1:18 am

    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.

  6. Humbug said,

    on June 9th, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    @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.

  7. estephen said,

    on June 11th, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Steven, hey, if you want to use the mouse, you’re reading the wrong blog! :)

  8. Szaky said,

    on June 13th, 2007 at 6:03 am

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


  9. alex said,

    on November 21st, 2007 at 8:16 am

    that shortcut was working on my laptop, but suddenly…

    I press Win + Pause, and nothing happens

    I have a hp dv 6338, any idea?

  10. alex said,

    on November 21st, 2007 at 8:43 am

    I rebooted, and the combination works again…

    what could be happened?

  11. Josh said,

    on June 19th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    um dont work for me pause with a break 😀

  12. estephen said,

    on June 19th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    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?)

  13. Trev said,

    on July 11th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    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)

  14. Aka said,

    on November 15th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I fixed my sticking keys with Trevor’s method, above and it took care of the problem.


  15. on February 13th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    mine works fine, Windows key + Break, Alt+Dblclick on mycomputer

  16. on December 14th, 2010 at 2:03 am

    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

  17. anon said,

    on February 17th, 2011 at 11:27 am

    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.

  18. Tony said,

    on February 29th, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks. I have a Toshiba and could not get either win + pause or break to work BUT anon suggestion did work.

  19. esme said,

    on December 28th, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I have purchased a Samsung with windows 8. There is not a key marked ‘break’ so I am unable to use the short cut. Help

  20. birchtree said,

    on February 28th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    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.

  21. gavin said,

    on March 5th, 2013 at 2:53 am

    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

  22. Doreen said,

    on May 13th, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    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!

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