My small laptop has a small keyboard, which lacks a Pause/Break key. Ctrl-Alt-Break toggles Full Screen mode in Windows Remote Desktop. Without a Break key, how can I enter Full Screen mode?

I know I can exit fullscreen mode with the mouse.

Maximizing the window doesn't help.

This matters more on small laptops because the screens are small (so you need all the real estate you can get) and because the keyboard lacks dedicated PgUp/PgDn and other dedicated keys (so I can't easily use the RDP alternatives like Alt-PgUp).

  • 1
    Are you sure you don't have break as a Fn?
    – viking
    Jun 30, 2011 at 22:01
  • That's weird; maximizing the window makes RDP go full-screen for me, everywhere I use it. What happens when you maximize yours? Also, there's almost certainly a way to send Break; what make and model of netbook is it?
    – boot13
    Jun 30, 2011 at 22:15
  • If the resolution of the local screen is smaller than the resolution of the remote PC, then maximizing will not make it go full screen, as you'd lose the scroll bars.
    – Pangea
    Jul 6, 2011 at 2:54
  • @boot13 - RDP always used to go full screen but since v6.0 it maximises when the screen resolution and mstsc resolution both match, instead of going full screen. It's so bleeping irritating, as my boss's new laptop doesn't have a break key, meaning I have to watch him clunk around scrolling up and down every time he needs to get to the start bar. Nov 21, 2011 at 0:01
  • I even tried the Windows On-Screen Keyboard and had no luck. OP's own answer is my favorite. Apr 28, 2012 at 8:52

9 Answers 9


This is a known issue with systems running Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 whose resolution is set at 1366×768. Microsoft has created a hotfix which you can read about / request here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2582172

If you're lazy or don't want to give MS your email, you can just download it from here. Just know that by doing so Microsoft will have no way of notifying you if there is a recall on the fix.


I have a Lenovo E430 and was struggling with this very issue. None of the answers here worked for me because Fn+Insert does not equal Break on this keyboard. Fn+B is the shortcut.

As such, pressing Ctrl + Alt + Fn + B maximizes the RDC window.


  • In my experience, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Fn+B altogether often failed. Here is how I do it: hold Ctrl+Alt first, then press Fn+B.
    – null
    Mar 10, 2014 at 9:11
  • Ctrl+Alt+Fn+B perfect!
    – jpussacq
    Nov 14, 2017 at 12:13
  • Works fine 10 years later on Dell Latitude 5590 laptop keyboard running Windows 10
    – Andrew
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:33

Some alternatives for laptops where you do not find Break key:

On a Dell Latitude 6420 and others, press Ctrl + Fn + Alt + Insert

On an HP Envy, press Ctrl + Fn + Alt + pause

On HP Probook 4440s and others, press Ctrl+Alt+Fn+PageDown. This is equivalent to Ctrl+Alt+Break.

On Lenovo E430, press Ctrl + Alt + Fn + B. Hold Ctrl+Alt first, then press Fn+B.

  • Works on my Dell Latitude also!
    – Stabledog
    Oct 11, 2013 at 5:26
  • My current HP Envy has neither pause nor insert. Best I've found so far is CRTL + ALT + HOME which selects the pin icon in the blue RDP bar. From there I can WIN + D or Tab twice and hit Enter to minimize, or do other things like ALT + TAB.
    – Brian Z
    Feb 19, 2022 at 21:04

I used AutoHotKey as recommended in this question to map CapsLock to break using this binding: CapsLock::CtrlBreak

AutoHotKey needs to be running for the binding to hold. It is not a simple registry change that can be done with most other keys.


In HP laptops you have to press Ctrl+Alt+Fn+PageDown. This is equivalent to Ctrl+Alt+Break.

Its working with HP Probook series. I am using HP Probook 4440s

Remote Desktop Services Shortcut Keys


Ideally you could find a configuration option for mstsc.exe that lets you change that setting.. Or possibly a reg edit.

If you have some key you don't really use, you could remap it to function as a break key. You can use any of a large number of windows programs to remap keyboard keys. This article discusses 3 such applications.

  • Except that break is a special key and can't be mapped onto another key. (Owner of a brand new samsung laptop that has a numeric keypad, but no pause/break key.)
    – sean e
    Dec 15, 2011 at 21:06

If you're in full screen mode and you minimize, and then restore, it comes back in full-screen mode. So I've learned to always minimize, and not de-maximize from the panel that slides down at the top of the RDP screen.

I also made it easy to reconnect if I lose my full-screen state. First, I RDP to each machine and save credentials. (Only do this if you're on a secure machine). Second, I create a small batch file that looks like this:

start mstsc /v:%~n0 /f

I name the batch file after the computer I want to connect to. I put this in an easy-to-reach location (I have a dedicated toolbar on my task bar). Now, when I loose my fullscreen state, I just rerun this batch file and a few seconds later I'm back in full screen.

  • Your advice to just minimize will help me in the future. Your batch file one liner saved my bacon just now. Simplified, that looks like start mstsc /v: /v if your target computer is THANK YOU! Apr 28, 2012 at 8:43

Other have addressed the symptom, but to address the underlying question/issue, are you absolutely certain that your laptop does not have a Break key? Even netbooks usually have one; if it doesn’t get its own key, it usually shares one with Insert.

Perhaps it is simply not printed on the key (particularly common with after-market/replacement/generic keyboards).

You did not mention the make/model of the laptop, but check the manual/docs to see if you have to do anything special to signal that key such as pressing Ctrl+Fn+F11.

Unless the manufacturer is really trying to cut costs, it is usually included because as sean mentioned, Break is a special key. It is similar to how Ctrl+Alt+Delete is/was specially handled by the keyboard controller at a hardware level (a direct line to the reset pin on the CPU).

  • 1
    Or it could be like mine, where my right Shift key is also labelled Pause and functions as a Break key when pressed with Fn held. Yes, that's convoluted.
    – Bob
    Jun 4, 2012 at 0:42
  • Yup; most of the keys are usually there and just require some weird two- (or more) key chord. Most of the time when they want to cut costs, they instead just cut the extra (usually the right) modifier (Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Win) keys.
    – Synetech
    Jun 4, 2012 at 0:48

Check that F Lock isn't/is turned on. My break key doesn't work unless F Lock is turned off.

(P.S. I hope the person who invented F Lock got their just desserts)

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