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turn off computer screenHow 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.

turn off computer screen

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.

Convenient Solutions

turn off screenSleeper 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.

turn off screen

Also confirm with > Yes in the following window. Once the operation is completed, click > OK in the previous window.

turn off screen

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.

shut off computer screen

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.

turn off computer screen

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:

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?

Image credits: SCOTTCHAN, Monkey Business Images

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  1. Michael Scott
    August 21, 2017 at 12:09 am


    Have you tried Function/F1?
    Do it.

    • Tina Sieber
      August 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      Sounds like a keyboard shortcut specific to your device.

      For me, Fn+F1 does nothing from the desktop, but it opens this page on Google Chrome because F1 is synonymous with "help". My Yoga Pro 2 offers a shortcut key for turning the screen off; it's shared with the F9 key.

  2. Real
    November 17, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I'm searching a way to turn off monitor, but to wake-up NOT BY MOUSE, BUT ONLY WITH KEYBOARD SHORTCUT (because it can happen that my cat moves a bit the mouse during the night when my monitor is off and make it exit sleep mode, it's very problematic), I tried all of these and none have this. Any Idea?

    • Tina Sieber
      November 17, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Don't tell my boss I gave you this link, but I believe that's exactly what you're looking for: How to Stop Your Mouse from Waking Up Your Windows PC

      • Real
        November 17, 2016 at 3:53 pm

        Thank you Tina, but unfortunaly this doesn't work. I have the option and I unchecked it, like told, but it has no effect at all. At first I thought it was because the turning off functions of the Tools on this article are different, so I tried with the Windows 10 standard idle modes (automatic monitor turn off after 1mn, and screen saver classic mode), and moving the mouse still wakes up my PC, that seems crazy. I suspect a new Windows 10 malfunction... (my system is Windows 10 with last updates).

  3. m12421k
    February 24, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    hi easier way
    you can go to the power options then at the left pane select "choose what the power button do"
    then change it to "turn of the display" for the power button(in both battery and plugged)
    >>in windows 10<<

  4. Noah
    December 22, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Windows + P should give you the option for Projector only, which causes the Laptop display to lose the signal and then go to sleep thus saving power. You would leave the Laptop lid open just enough to access the power button.

    I use this trick to make use of old Laptops for the elderly who generally prefer a big monitor and real keyboard.

  5. Hamza Khezami
    November 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I used to simply turn the screen off when i was leaving for a brief time, but now since my screen button is broken, the problem is solved, thanks

    • Tina
      November 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      Glad you find it useful, Hamza!

  6. Bniedem
    November 9, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Can't understand why people still use MS when they can switch to Linux.

    • Tina
      November 9, 2011 at 8:01 am

      Care to make your comment relevant to this article and share how this task is solved in Linux?

  7. Sonny
    November 9, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Get a mac. Much more user friendly than Windows...

    • Tina
      November 9, 2011 at 8:01 am

      How is your comment relevant to this article? How do you turn off the screen on a Mac? What is more user friendly about this procedure?

  8. A While Ago...
    November 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    It's much more simple to have a software that uses the webcam to "check" if someone is looking at the screen. There are several utilities that do that trick.

    • Tina
      November 9, 2011 at 8:00 am
    • Aibek
      November 21, 2011 at 9:11 am

      While this method defiinitely has some coolness factor I dont think it's very effective. Even with  proper webcam I doubt that software will recognize the look and turn the monitor off instantly. Best thing in my opinions is to create a convenient keyboard shortcut for a turn-off monitor action using one of the recommended tools.