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How to pause Elden Ring without mods

An exploit has emerged that allows you to hit an unofficial pause button

Can you pause Elden Ring? Until recently, we believed the answer to this question to be a resounding "no" — Elden Ring makes a point of not letting you pause, even in single player. Naturally, on PC the modding community quickly stepped in, but now it turns out that there is a cheeky exploit that allows you to effectively pause the game in its vanilla state.

On this page, we'll go over the five-step process you need to follow to force Elden Ring to pause. Yes, five steps is a lot, but fortunately they can be performed quite quickly, and in an emergency (parcels arriving, children crying, etc.) it could be the difference between life and death for your poor old Tarnished while you go and take care of real life for a few minutes.

How to pause in Elden Ring

In order to trick Elden Ring into pausing, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Press Esc. (on keyboard) or the Start button (on controller) to bring up the game menu overview.
  2. Step 1 of the Elden Ring pause exploit: opening the main in-game menu.
  3. Select and enter any sub-menu.
  4. Step 2 of the Elden Ring pause exploit: opening up a sub-menu.
  5. Attempt to back out of the sub-menu to bring up a list of options.
  6. Select "Help".
  7. Step 3 of the Elden Ring pause exploit: attempting to back out of the sub-menu.
  8. Select "Menu Explanation" from help list.
  9. Step 4 of the Elden Ring pause exploit: menu options list.

At this point, an in-game pop-up will appear on your screen, and until you close it Elden Ring is effectively paused.

Step 5 of the Elden Ring pause exploit: help pop-up.

You can tell if you look very closely that all movement in-game (right down to your character's clothing blowing in the breeze) has ceased. Once this has happened, as far as we've been able to establish, you're safe to walk away and take care of whatever needs taking care of out in the real world.

We can't guarantee the longevity of this solution, since if it's truly an unintentional exploit then FromSoft might opt to patch it out; however, it was working when we checked it this morning. And frankly the fact that it exists in the first place suggests that maybe the game needs to pause when you do this for some reason. (Or maybe the devs figured that if you're confused enough to be looking up tips on what the menus mean, you deserve a bit of a break.) So maybe it'll stay — we simply don't know at this stage.

Now that your game's paused, why not take a look at a few of our other Elden Ring guides while you're here? We've got recommendations for the best character builds, a list of boss locations, and a walkthrough of the key story beats for the weary Tarnished in search of answers.

About the Author

Rebecca Jones avatar

Rebecca Jones

Guides Writer

Rebecca can usually be found working through her latest fiction-induced anguish by recreating all those lovely doomed characters in The Sims. More recently she discovered a fondness for Genshin Impact, which she pitches to bewildered friends as "Pokémon but with hot people instead of made-up animals". She also loves horror games and will play them at any opportunity, despite the fact that they make her so panicked she once threw her controller in a self-defence reflex. (The controller survived; Rebecca's dignity did not.)

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