JSI Tip 7307. The Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Timeout utility.

When you use the Windows XP CMD help., or Windows Server 2003 CMD help, and press Timeout on the New command-line tools page, you see:


Pauses the command processor for the specified number of seconds.


timeout /t TimeoutInSeconds \[/nobreak\]


/t TimeoutInSeconds
Specifies the decimal number of seconds (between -1 and 99999) to wait before the command processor continues processing. The value -1 causes the computer to wait indefinitely for a keystroke.
Specifies to ignore a user key stroke.
Displays help at the command prompt.


  • The timeout command is typically used in batch files.
  • A user keystroke resumes the command processor execution immediately, even if the time-out period has not expired.
  • Timeout is similar to the MS-DOSpause command when you use it in conjunction with the sleep command.


To pause the command processor for ten seconds, type:

timeout /t 10

To pause the command processor for 100 seconds and to ignore any key press, type:

timeout /t 100 /nobreak

To pause the command processor indefinitely until a key is pressed, type:

timeout /t -1

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