Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows 8

Sends or waits for a signal on a system. Waitfor is used to synchronize computers across a network.

For examples of how to use this command, see Examples.


waitfor [/s <Computer> [/u [<Domain>\]<User> [/p [<Password>]]]] /si <SignalName>
waitfor [/t <Timeout>] <SignalName>




/s <Computer>

Specifies the name or IP address of a remote computer (do not use backslashes). The default is the local computer. This parameter applies to all files and folders specified in the command.

/u [<Domain>\]<User>

Runs the script using the credentials of the specified user account. By default, waitfor uses the current user's credentials.

/p [<Password>]

Specifies the password of the user account that is specified in the /u parameter.


Sends the specified signal across the network.

/t <Timeout>

Specifies the number of seconds to wait for a signal. By default, waitfor waits indefinitely.


Specifies the signal that waitfor waits for or sends. SignalName is not case-sensitive.


Displays help at the command prompt.


  • Signal names cannot exceed 225 characters. Valid characters include a-z, A-Z, 0-9, and the ASCII extended character set (128-255).

  • If you do not use /s, the signal is broadcast to all the systems in a domain. If you use /s, the signal is sent only to the specified system.

  • You can run multiple instances of waitfor on a single computer, but each instance of waitfor must wait for a different signal. Only one instance of waitfor can wait for a given signal on a given computer.

  • You can activate a signal manually by using the /si command-line option.

  • Waitfor runs only on Windows XP and servers running a Windows Server 2003 operating system, but it can send signals to any computer running a Windows operating system.

  • Computers can only receive signals if they are in the same domain as the computer sending the signal.

  • You can use waitfor when you test software builds. For example, the compiling computer can send a signal to several computers running waitfor after the compile has completed successfully. On receipt of the signal, the batch file that includes waitfor can instruct the computers to immediately start installing software or running tests on the compiled build.


To wait until the "espresso\build007" signal is received, type:

waitfor espresso\build007

By default, waitfor waits indefinitely for a signal.

To wait 10 seconds for the "espresso\compile007" signal to be received before timing out, type:

waitfor /t 10 espresso\build007

To manually activate the "espresso\build007" signal, type:

waitfor /si espresso\build007

Additional references

Command-Line Syntax Key