What is the function of Pause/Break button?

Did you ever thought that what does the Pause/Break button do? Is it to use when you are stuck at work and waiting for a coffee break? Like if you hit that button and everything freezes and you get a coffee in the mean time. Well, that is the  fantasy may never become reality.

So then, why that break button is there actually?

Well, the origins of the break key actually go all the way back to the 1800s, when Zesty memes were sent in via Telegraph, rather than the internet.

Back then, if two people were communicating via teleprinter, one person could press break to break the circuit,which effectively interrupted the sender and let them know that the other end needed to transmit something.

You know the way Policemen and Soldiers talk on Walkie-Talkie and they say “Over” at the end of their sentence, they click the button with similar functionality and they say this to let them know that they are ending their sentence. This button has that similar functionality.

This usually happened when one new source that was sharing a telegraph line with others has some breaking news to report but even though teleprinters have long been obsolete the break.

It is stuck around on computer keyboards as a means to stop or terminate a running program. Now, this functionality was much more common back before graphical Operating Systems were a thing.

Break button’s function for Modern Operating System

But for fun you can still use “Ctrl + Break” to terminate a program in DOS or in other text-only environments. But on a more practical note, you might also still see a system administrator using the break key, if a PC is connected to a mainframe and they have to interrupt the boot process to recover a password.

But that doesn’t have much applicability to you folks a home, does it?

What is the use of Pause/Break button for home users?

So a far more common use for you would be to pause that flow of text you might see on your own computer at boot time, like if you would like to see BIOS messages, that might help you understand of troubleshoot any issues you are having now.

It doesn’t work on every PC, but give it a shot the next time to your system. If you are curious the Pause button will also stop any huge avalanche of text scrolling down your screen, if you are using command prompt and even if you can’t be bothered to care about anything that has to do with old school command line computing.

There are still two modern applications for pause break, holding down the windows key and pressing pause break will bring up system property screen and some games will let you press pause your game play.

Make sense right? It does make me wonder why that is not the standard but even if your favorite game doesn’t use the Pause key for this purpose.

You can always use hotkeys software to make this extraneous button do whatever you would like beating games or in Adobe Premiere just whatever you program if to do.

Don’t expect it to bring a halt to those incessant work messages about how you need to find a way to make episode is about obscure keyboard buttons, more compelling.


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