Windows

The Quickest Ways to Turn Your Screen Off in Windows

Tina Sieber Updated 18-03-2020

Do you know how long it takes until Windows automatically turns off your screen? Unfortunately, Windows 10 does not offer a convenient keyboard shortcut 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 to switch off the display. But we’ll show you the easiest ways to control your screen and turn it off when you want. Not only will this save you energy, but you’ll also prevent screen burn-in and long term damage.

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Note: If you’re using a Windows laptop, it may come with a hotkey that can turn your screen off. This varies depending on the laptop manufacturer and model. Check the top row of keys, typically F1-12 keys, for a screen off symbol and try it out. You might have to hold the Fn key (typically in the bottom left) to override the F key and activate the hotkey functionality (sometimes it’s the other way around). Please let us know in the comments if you found a hotkey. Thanks!

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 in Windows 10

To control how fast your displays turns off, head to Start > Settings > System > Power & sleep and customize the times under Screen. On battery power, we recommend letting 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.

Windows 10 power & sleep settings that control how quickly the screen turns off on battery power or when plugged in

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.

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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.

On the Power & sleep settings window described above, find Related settings and click Additional power settings. This will open the old Windows Control Panel 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. In the left-hand pane, click Choose what the power button does.

Control Panel windows to choose or customize a power plan

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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.

Control Panel window that lets you set the power button to turn off the display

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.

Do You Not See the “Turn Off the Display” Option?

You probably have a computer with Modern Standby. To find out, press CTRL+R, type cmd, and click OK to open the command prompt. Type powercfg -a into the prompt and hit Enter. If you see the option Standby (S0 Low Power Idle), you have a Modern Standby machine. You might also see that other standby options are not available.

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Windows 10 Command Prompt listing available Standby options

How to Add “Turn Off Display” on a Modern Standby Windows 10 PC

Turning off the display using the power button is such a convenient solution. Fortunately, there’s a way to add it back. But we’ll have to head into the registry to do this. Please follow these instructions carefully as you won’t want to break anything critical.

Press Windows+R to launch the Run menu, enter regedit, and click OK to open the Windows Registry Editor What Is the Windows Registry and How Do I Edit It? If you need to edit the Windows registry, making a few quick changes is easy. Let's learn how to work with the registry. Read More . Within the registry, head to the following location:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Power

Once there, find the entry CsEnabled, change its value from 1 to 0, and click OK to save your changes.

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Edit DWORD value of CsEnabled in Windows Registry

Now exit the registry editor, reboot Windows, and return to the system settings outlined above to find the “Turn off display option” back where it belongs.

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 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.

If you see a security warning, you can bypass it by removing the checkmark next to Always ask before opening this file.

Open File - Security Warning window

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 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 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 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

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.

NirCmd, copy file to windows directory

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

NirCmd, 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 a hotkey in Windows 10

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.

Ready to customize Windows 10 The 8 Best Tools to Tweak and Customize Windows 10 Want to give your PC a unique look? Learn how to customize Windows 10 with these powerful tweak tools that cover your every need. Read More a little more?

Related topics: Computer Maintenance, Computer Monitor, Energy Conservation, Green Technology, Windows Tips.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Derek Jass
    April 9, 2020 at 4:06 am

    I spent awhile trying to find an elegant way to sleep my monitor but I completely forgot about the power button on the front of it.

  2. Anna
    March 20, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    I've read my laptop's manual and I found out the combo for turning off the screen is FN + INSERT 😶

    • Tina Sieber
      March 23, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      This appears to be a brand- or even model-specific hotkey. It does nothing on my Lenovo Yoga C930. What's the name of your laptop manufacturer and model, Anna?

      I'll add a note, though, that checking for built-in hotkeys/keyboard shortcuts is another option, depending on the device.

  3. David Hartley
    March 19, 2020 at 2:53 am

    Good list. I always boot first into the bios and check settings, enable virtualization etc
    I also note the bios version and check the manufacturer site for bios updates.

  4. 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:
    https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Turn-off-screen-4d173e0a

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

    Seriously?

    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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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<<

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

  12. 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.