"Offering free computer help, hints, and tips to the Internet populace." Now with over 3,820 tips!

Windows XP and DOS

Batch file SLEEP Command

SUMMARY: Cause Windows XP batch files to sleep for a given number of seconds.

Most operating systems provide a command in batch files to sleep, or wait, a certain number of seconds. This is great in that batch files can display text, allowing you time to read before continuing. Or, batch files may wait a few seconds in order to connect to other resources.

While Windows XP does not come with such a command, there are tricks to emulate it, such as a 'ping' command trick to emulate the sleep command. However, if you wish, the Windows 2003 Resource Kit provides a 'sleep' command requiring no extra tricks. The Resource Kit is a large download, but besides the 'sleep' command, the Windows 2003 Resource Kit also provides tools to remap keys, query the Active Directory, display the last 'n' lines of a text file (a tail command), and more. To download and install the Resource Kit:

1. Go to the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 download section at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/
. Or, if that link does not work, visit http://www.microsoft.com/ and search for "Windows 2003". Once there, choose the "Downloads -> Tools" link.

2. Select the link "Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools".

3. Click the "Download" link. Choose to register or not, depending on your choice, and follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the product. The default install directory is "C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\".

Once the Windows 2003 Resource Kit is installed, you may need to reboot your machine for the directory "C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\" to be added to your path.

Now that the sleep command is available, to see the online help, enter the following DOS command:

C:\>sleep /?

Or, just issue the command:

C:\>sleep N

Replace N with the number of seconds for batch file to 'sleep'. For example, a batch file can wait 5 seconds before continuing by issuing this command:

C:\>sleep 5

If you need to wait just a few milliseconds, issue this command:

C:\>sleep -m N

So, to sleep half a second:

C:\>sleep -m 500

Although this command supports a 'precise' millisecond sleep, I would not recommend it for real-time processing!

Return to the Windows XP and DOS page.

Print this tip

Get the Newsletter

blog comments powered by Disqus

Thanks For Sharing!

Newest Tips:

Buying a Digital Camera
[MODIFIED] Hidden Costs with Higher Megapixel Cameras
Windows 8
Resize Start Screen Tiles
Internet Explorer 11
Change the Default Search Provider to Google, Yahoo!, or Something Else
[MODIFIED] Disable Most Recently Used Files and Folders for Privacy

Follow Us!

About MalekTips and the Author

The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.