[HOW-TO] How to actually PAUSE the sim!

(Guide updated 15 September 2020 with permission of OP)

You have perhaps heard that MSFS has an active pause feature but what about the traditional FSX style regular pause?

There are three kinds of pauses:

  1. Active pause (default key: PAUSE): this freezes the plane but everything else goes on… which may end in disaster quickly: only use this when in level flight and to make a small adjustment to something (which may be hard to do while flying). It is not advised for taking screenshots or using the drone cam as background processes continue to function that can cause problems when active pause is cancelled (e.g. autopilot behaving strangely or aircraft suddenly seems to stall)

  2. Simulator App Pause (default key: Esc): this brings you to the options menu… not really what I call a pause and totally useless for taking screenshots and such.

  3. The more traditional FSX style pause (default keys… NONE!!! :dizzy_face: ): yes, there is a pause option that mostly pauses the entire sim as you’d expect… but it has no key assignments by default and you even need two keys for it…! (Turn on/turn off) Amazing, odd, strange, whatever, but luckily it’s there and here is how you enable it:

Setting Pause on/off
- Go to Options>Controls screen and select the keyboard. Make sure to set the filter to ALL!!!
- Search for SET PAUSE OFF and SET PAUSE ON. I assigned P to PAUSE ON and control-P to PAUSE OFF (yes, you need two keys) but you can assign anything you want, of course. There is as yet to toggle key for this option.

With THIS pause option you can take screenshots, use the drone cam, go out for dinner, watch a movie, whatever, without having to fear for what happens when you unpause. Why this option isn’t the default one is beyond me but well…

None of the above pauses stop time, i.e. ‘real world time’/flight sim time. E.g… time for the purpose of your flight log continues to move forward and is not paused. So what may have been a 20 minute flight could be recorded in the pilot log book as a 50 minute flight, if the sim was ‘paused’ for 30 minutes during the flight.

Note: There are two work-arounds if you wish to freeze time as well as other aspects of the sim:

a) Use the Pause Simulation option in the Dev drop-down menu. It freezes time, including in the sim.
(Thanks to @AZRedneck33 in this post)

b) From @JALxml in this post:“Hit the Esc key and IMMEDIATELY save the game. When you reload the game, you will be back at the exact GPS position, plane attitude and speed as when you invoked Active Pause by hitting Esc, with a few seconds lost before you save the flight parameters.” Note this isn’t really a pause as it is more of a save flight/ load flight scenario. It also brings with it some other issues that forum users have reported, such as weather editability on the reloaded flight.


Great info, thanks.

I’m curious why the pause requires a key for on and another for off when every other game in history has one key used as a toggle. Another halfwitted design decision.


Thanks for taking the time to share this. I agree with you, it is odd that they have made the default pause ‘active’ pause; and that you need two different key to PAUSE ON and PAUSE OFF. I think a control called “TOGGLE PAUSE” would have been a far more elegant (and simpler) solution.


That is exactly what happend to me, I ended up closing the game

Thank a lot for this tip !


Thanks for the information.

Requested many many times throughout the Alpha and Beta! Can keep hoping but great post @JvanE100 alerting to the problem. Thanks.


The pause in the sim is actually a “live pause” which pauses you but not the life around you. A new feature in the sim. Just don’t pause at 35000 feet if there is a plane behind you on the same flight path :wink: