The Quickest Ways to Turn Your Screen Off in Windows

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How many times a day does your computer display emit its glow into an empty room for endless minutes, until the power management Sleep Mode vs. Hibernate Mode: Which Power-Saving Mode Should You Use? Sleep Mode vs. Hibernate Mode: Which Power-Saving Mode Should You Use? What exactly does Sleep mode do? How is it different from Hibernate mode, which is an extra option on Windows computers? Which should you choose, and are there downsides to using them? Read More kicks in and turns the screen off?

Computer monitors consume energy. And you can help save energy by simply turning the display off whenever you don’t need it. Unfortunately, Windows does not offer a convenient shortcut Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More for this task. We’ll show you how to change that and turn off your PC or laptop screen whenever you want.

Windows 10 Power Management Settings

Windows 10 offers multiple power management settings. Let’s see how you can use these to control your screen on and off time.

How to Make the Screen Turn Off Automatically

Head to Start > Settings > System > Power & sleep and customize the times under Screen. On battery power, we recommend to let your screen turn off after 5 minutes or less. When plugged in, you can let it stay on for a little longer, but 10 or 15 minutes should be your max.

quick ways turn screen off in windows

Note that this setting won’t impact games or video-based media since those should keep your display always on. This means you can continue to watch a movie or a show without the screen turning off on you, even when the screen off times are set to merely minutes.

How to Turn the Screen Off Using the Power Button

Now, letting Windows turn your screen off automatically when it’s been inactive for a few minutes is great. But you can save even more battery power if you turn your screen off manually. While your PC monitor has an off switch your laptop might not have a button to turn off its screen or backlight. So if you’re using a laptop, we’ll show you how to repurpose the power button to turn off the display.

From the Power & sleep settings window described above, scroll down to Related settings and click Additional power settings. This will open the old Windows Control Panel Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified If you want to be the master of your Windows experience, the Control Panel is where it's at. We untangle the complexity of this power tool. Read More .

Alternatively, press Windows key + Q, search for Control Panel, open the respective result, and manually navigate to Power Options (Windows 10 won’t find Control Panel options Why Microsoft Is Killing the Windows Control Panel Why Microsoft Is Killing the Windows Control Panel The Control Panel is being decommissioned. In Windows 10, the Settings app has adopted most of its features in a more stylish and mobile-friendly interface. Is that really necessary? Read More ). In the right-hand pane, click Choose what the power buttons do.

quick ways turn screen off in windows

In the next window, under When I press the power button, you can make it tun off the display while on battery or plugged in. Click Save changes to lock in your preferences.

quick ways turn screen off in windows

Now all you have to do to turn off your laptop’s screen is to press the power button. Not that you can still shut down your computer forcefully (in case it’s locked up) by holding the power button for a few seconds.

The Best Tools to Turn Off Your Screen in Windows

Maybe you don’t want to manually turn off your PC monitor. Or maybe you don’t want to change your power button’s default settings. Well, just use a third party Windows tool to turn off your display. Below are the three best ones.

Turn Off Monitor

Turn Off Monitor is a small executable utility that just does one job: turning your display off. You don’t have to install it. Just download the file, unpack the ZIP archive How to Extract Files From ZIP, RAR, 7z and Other Common Archives How to Extract Files From ZIP, RAR, 7z and Other Common Archives Were you ever faced with a .rar file and wondered how to open it? Fortunately, managing ZIP files and other compressed archives is simple with the right tools. Here is what you need to know. Read More , store the utility on your desktop, and double-click whenever needed. You can assign a keyboard shortcut to run the utility, which I’ll explain below.

To bypass the security warning, you can remove the checkmark next to Always ask before opening this file.

quick ways turn screen off in windows

Note that in Windows 10, when you used this utility and are ready to resume work, the screen will wake to the lock screen. If you’d rather not type in your login credentials every time you turn off the screen, you could disable the lock screen Your Windows 10 Lock Screen Could Be Better If You Customized It Your Windows 10 Lock Screen Could Be Better If You Customized It Your Windows 10 lock screen isn't as useful as it could be. The Creators Update introduced new features you should try. Or maybe you just want to bypass the lock screen. Read More . However, that means anyone will be able to access your desktop while you’re not around.

The download for Turn Off Monitor is provided by Softpedia, one of the safer sites for free software downloads The Safest Free Software Download Sites for Windows The Safest Free Software Download Sites for Windows Many software download sites are loaded with malware. We compiled websites you can trust when you need a free software download. Read More . A similar tool that works exactly like Turn Off Monitor is Display Power Off (via Sourceforge).

Turn Off Screen

Someone at Microsoft must have noticed how nice it is to have a shortcut to turn off the screen because they wrote a script for it. Fortunately, they also made that script available through TechNet, from where you can download the batch script file How to Create a Batch (BAT) File in Five Simple Steps How to Create a Batch (BAT) File in Five Simple Steps This article covers how to create a batch file using five simple steps for the Windows operating system. Read More for free.

Save the BAT file to your desktop and double-click to run it. You can even change the icon and assign a shortcut, which you can find instructions to below.


NirCmd is a command-line utility, which can complete a range of tasks, including 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 10, unpack the ZIP archive, right-click nircmd.exe, and select Run as administrator. Next, click the Copy To Windows Directory button.

copy file to windows directory

Confirm with Yes in the following window. Once the operation is completed, click OK in the previous window.

install command line utility

Now that you installed NirCmd, 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 key + R to open the Run utility, then type cmd and click OK.

In the command line, type the following command:

nircmd.exe cmdshortcutkey "c:\temp" "Turn Monitor Off" monitor off

Hit Enter to run the command.

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, but you can choose a different name.

How to Assign a Hotkey to Run Any Tool

This works for any executable, including the tools above. 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.

create hotkey

Finally, test your shortcut key and enjoy!

Your Monitor Under Control

We showed you how to control your computer display, from customizing power settings to using third-party utilities to turn the screen off.

Wondering what else you can customize in Windows 10 and how to increase battery life How to Optimize Windows 10 for Battery Life How to Optimize Windows 10 for Battery Life Battery life is a pretty important factor for mobile devices. While Windows 10 does offer new features to manage power settings, the defaults are not necessarily contributing to optimal battery life. Time to change that. Read More ? We’ve got you covered!

Can you recommend any other tools for this task? Please share! What other PC features would you like to control? Leave a comment and we’ll try to follow up with ideas. And if you thought this article was useful, we’d appreciate a share.

Explore more about: Computer Maintenance, Computer Monitor, Energy Conservation, Green Technology.

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  1. Scott
    May 19, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    By far and wide, here is the easiest command to do this:
    powershell (Add-Type '[DllImport(\"user32.dll\")]^public static extern int SendMessage(int hWnd, int hMsg, int wParam, int lParam);' -Name a -Pas)::SendMessage(-1,0x0112,0xF170,2)

    Put it in a batch file and create a shortcut and tie it to a keystroke.

    Stolen from:

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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<<

  5. 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.

    • Andrew
      January 20, 2019 at 2:04 pm

      Sounds good in theory but that only works if you actually have a 2nd screen attached.

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

  8. 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?

  9. 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.