How to pause execution for a while in a Windows batch file between a command and the next one?

  • Is this intended to become a canonical? If so then some explanatory text might be appropriate. Sep 26, 2012 at 23:06
  • 2
    "Explanatory text" as in?
    – Massimo
    Sep 27, 2012 at 7:00
  • 2
    Most, if not all, canonical questions I've seen include text describing the intent of that question. Sep 27, 2012 at 8:52
  • Or some text explaining the situation... It's mostly to help with SEO, but also helps to frame potential Answers.
    – Chris S
    Sep 28, 2012 at 1:12
  • 4
    SEO working just fine. First hit for me on Google search.
    – jbo5112
    Oct 1, 2015 at 22:44

5 Answers 5


The correct way to sleep in a batch file is to use the timeout command, introduced in Windows 2000.

To wait somewhere between 29 and 30 seconds:

timeout /t 30

The timeout would get interrupted if the user hits any key; however, the command also accepts the optional switch /nobreak, which effectively ignores anything the user may press, except an explicit CTRL-C:

timeout /t 30 /nobreak

Additionally, if you don't want the command to print its countdown on the screen, you can redirect its output to NUL:

timeout /t 30 /nobreak > NUL
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    The timeout command does not work with Windows XP even with the 2003 Resource kit installed and the sleep command does not work in Windows 7 so the ping command can still be of good use if you are using the batch file on both Win7 and WinXP.
    – user178627
    Jun 20, 2013 at 22:55
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    timeout does not work in non-interactive scripts: "ERROR: Input redirection is not supported, exiting the process immediately." so sometimes using hack with "ping" is preferred.
    – iMysak
    Oct 26, 2015 at 11:08
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    for the record, if the stdin is closed this command will exit immediately!
    – andras.tim
    Jan 23, 2020 at 2:22
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    For the record, this works fine in Windows 10 2004 (b19041.630): C:\WINDOWS\system32>timeout /t 5 & ping mit.edu -- This pauses/counts down for 5 seconds, then pings mit.edu 4x and drops to the prompt just as expected.
    – Rook
    Aug 9, 2021 at 12:53
  • In windows XP you can use choice /t 10 /D N when you copy the choice.com from your windows 98 into your windows xp. Unfortunally Windows XP has no native timeout or choice
    – Radon8472
    Nov 8, 2021 at 14:01

Since it applies here, too, I'll copy my answer from another site.

If you want to use ping, there is a better way. You'll want to ping an address that does not exist, so you can specify a timeout with millisecond precision. Luckily, such an address is defined in a standard (RFC 3330), and it is 192.0.2.x. This is not made-up, it really is an address with the sole purpose of not-existing (it may not be clear, but it applies even in local networks): - This block is assigned as "TEST-NET" for use in documentation and example code. It is often used in conjunction with domain names example.com or example.net in vendor and protocol documentation. Addresses within this block should not appear on the public Internet.

To sleep for 123 milliseconds, use ping -n 1 -w 123 >nul

  • 3
    Please don't do that, even if it's slightly better than pinging a real address. Ping is simply the wrong tool for the job.
    – Massimo
    Jul 17, 2014 at 12:39
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    @Massimo It's most likely not what it was intended to do :) But I think it's a good solution still - it does work better than timeout in some scenarios (in particular higher resolution). Also, it's become quite well known, so most people would not be very surprised (i.e. confused) when they see it in your batch file.
    – mafu
    Jul 18, 2014 at 8:15
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    @Massimo Alright! I guess we just have different views. If you don't mind I'll still leave this answer up since it seems to be better than pinging localhost n times as is most often described.
    – mafu
    Jul 18, 2014 at 11:25
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    timeout is the right solution for the operating systems it works on. ping is the only solution that works from 5.1-6.3. With 25% of systems still on 5.1, timeout is not "the correct way".
    – Wyrmwood
    Jul 23, 2014 at 1:42
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    timeout is the wrong solution for any operating system, because it is fatally broken even in Windows 10. What use is a command that fails just because input is redirected? Apr 28, 2019 at 0:22

You can sleep in Batch using powershell:


powershell -nop -c "& {sleep -m Milliseconds}"


powershell -nop -c "& {sleep seconds}"
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    Works like a charm. Dec 14, 2020 at 20:38
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    Yes, this works much better than 'timeout' Example: powershell -nop -c "& {sleep 10}"
    – ZaSter
    Apr 21, 2021 at 15:48
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    This solution has worked for me in Win10, in an unattended .bat script.
    – Cirieno
    Apr 26, 2021 at 15:06
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    Wish I could upvote this answer a few more times. Worked perfectly in my unattended script.
    – BWhite
    Sep 15, 2021 at 16:13

You can also insert a ping to localhost. This will take 4 seconds to complete (by default). It is considered a kludge by some, but works quite well all the same.

The command:

  • 6
    Ehm... the whole purpose of this Q/A was exactly to correct two other questions which have this as their accepted answer, but can no longer be corrected because their OP is no longer around.
    – Massimo
    Sep 26, 2012 at 20:13
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    While it will work it's the equivalent of driving a screw with a hammer. A wrong tool may work, but it's still wrong.
    – voretaq7
    Sep 26, 2012 at 20:16
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    @MarkAllen - technically you then have to worry about whether or not ping comes with your OS. If you're worried enough about '95 '98 or ME then you should be as equally worried about 6.22 which doesn't have ping either Sep 27, 2012 at 20:36
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    @Massimo Call it baby duck syndrome. Oh - I just saw your comment above. You weren't even asking this as a real question, you just wanted your answer to be the answer to the question in general. I see. Maybe next time you could include that in your question. Then I could have wasted zero time on it.
    – Mark Allen
    Sep 28, 2012 at 0:00
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    @MarkHenderson It's easier (for me) to remember whether or not a particular release of the OS supports TCP/IP than to remember whether or not it includes a command I hadn't heard previously. You know?
    – Mark Allen
    Sep 28, 2012 at 0:01

Disclaimer: this is not the "ideal" solution, so don't bother beating me over the head with that like done to those recommending ping...

When possible, use timeout for sure. But as noted in the comments, that's not always an option (e.g. in non-interactive mode). After that, I agree that the ping "kludge" is perhaps the next best option, as it is very simple. That said, I offer another option... embed some VB Script.

The basis of this solution has all sorts of application beyond this. Often VBS can do things that batch cannot, or at the very least do so with drastically more ease. Using the technique illustrated here, you can mix the two (not "seamlessly", but "functionally"...).

Here's a one liner, to create a temp script, execute it, then delete it. The script does the sleeping for you (for 3 seconds in this example).

echo WScript.Sleep 3000 > %temp%\sleep.vbs & cscript %temp%\sleep.vbs %sleepMs% //B & del %temp%\sleep.vbs

Here's basically the same thing, written a bit differently:

set sleepMs=3000 & set sleepVbs=%temp%\sleep.vbs & echo WScript.Sleep WScript.Arguments(0) > %sleepVbs% & cscript %sleepVbs% %sleepMs% //B & del %sleepVbs%

And then finally, like ping, CScript itself has a timeout option! So, if you enter an infinite loop in the script, you can let the interpreter enforce the duration. Note, this is a "busy" operation, which eats the CPU, and therefore I don't recommend it when you can use the WScript.Sleep procedure, but I present it as a conceptual option for the sake of completeness:

set sleepSec=3 & set sleepVbs=%temp%\sleep.vbs & echo While True > %sleepVbs% & echo Wend >> %sleepVbs% & cscript %sleepVbs% //B //T:%sleepSec% & del %sleepVbs%
  • You know ... you could do this in powershell, I expect, without having to write a file. Apr 28, 2019 at 0:20
  • Yeah, that is likely another good solution, though this one I believe is more backwards compatible with old versions of Windows.
    – BuvinJ
    Apr 28, 2019 at 1:03

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