How many times a day does your computer interface emit its glow into an empty room for endless minutes, until the power management kicks in and turns the screen off? Computer monitors consume a significant amount of energy and it could be reduced dramatically by simply turning the screen off whenever it’s not needed. Unfortunately, Windows does not offer a convenient shortcut for this task.
Less Than Optimal Manual & Automatic Solutions
There are of course various solutions to this problem. You could for example turn off your monitor manually. The downside is that the average screen won’t wake up in response to moving the mouse, you will have to turn it on manually.
Have you ever tried to turn off a laptop screen? Most laptops don’t offer this feature anymore or it is well hidden. While you could optimize your power management settings to only turn off the screen when you close the lid, that again requires a lot of manual intervention.
Another alternative would be to work with the Windows power management. However, an energy efficient setting that turns your screen off quickly can turn out to be quite annoying, for example when you are trying to read an article. The best and most flexible solution is to take it into your own hands, but in a smart way.
Sleeper is an executable utility, which allows you to turn your screen off. It does not require an installation and will not occupy any memory. You can assign a hotkey to activate it, as described below. Otherwise, simply double-click the icon and your monitor will turn off.
NirCmd is a small command-line utility, which can complete a range of tasks, which includes turning your monitor off. You can run NirCmd without installation. However, if you want to use it regularly, it’s more convenient to install it and thus not having to type the full path every time you want to run a command.
To install NirCmd in Windows 7, right-click nircmd.exe and select > Run as administrator. In Windows XP make sure you are logged in as Administrator. Next, click the > Copy To Windows Directory button.
Also confirm with > Yes in the following window. Once the operation is completed, click > OK in the previous window.
Now that NirCmd is installed, you can use it to turn off your monitor and complete other tasks. Admittedly, opening the command line and typing a command every time you want to turn off your screen is probably the most inconvenient solution of all. However, you only have to do it once in order to create a shortcut, which you can then assign a hotkey to.
Click > [Windows]+[R] to open the Run utility, then type > cmd and click > OK.
In the command line, type the following command and hit Enter:
nircmd.exe cmdshortcutkey "c:\temp" "Turn Monitor Off" monitor off
If you did not copy nircmd.exe to the Windows Directory, spell out the full path. Instead of ‘c:\temp‘ you can choose any other location for the shortcut file. ‘Turn Monitor Off‘ will be the name of the shortcut file, you can choose a different name.
Monitor Off is an all-in-one tool. It can turn off your monitor, you can create a hotkey to do so, and you can set several additional preferences, for example locking the workstation when the monitor is turned off, setting a shut off delay, or starting a screensaver. The drawback is that this utility must be installed and will run in your memory.
If you’re interested in learning more about this tool, read Saikat’s article MonitorOff – Software to Switch Off Your Monitor & Save Energy.
How To Assign a Hotkey To Run Any Tool
This works for any executable, including the tools above. Note that Monitor Off comes with its own hotkey setup.
First, right-click the .exe file and select > Create shortcut. Note that you have already created a shortcut for NirCmd, if you followed the steps above.
Next, right-click the shortcut file and select > Properties. Place the mouse in the > Shortcut key: field, which should say ‘None’, and click your keyboard shortcut, for example [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[J]. Click > OK to confirm.
Finally, test your shortcut key and enjoy!
More Energy Saving Tips
If you are as energy conscious as I am, you might want to skim through the following articles:
- Does Saving Energy With Your PC Really Help Your Wallet?
- 5 Ways To Reduce The Power Consumption Of Your Computer
- The Ultimate 5 Ways to Go Green on Your Computer
- 7 Websites With Energy Calculators That Can Help You Save Energy This Summer And Live A Greener Life
So do you diligently turn off your monitor to save energy every time you leave your desk? Why would you not do it if it’s so easy?