Windows

How to Keep a Windows Laptop Awake With the Lid Closed

Ben Stegner Updated 29-01-2020

While your laptop obviously works great on-the-go, you can use it at home too. By connecting an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, a laptop can function like a desktop. But there’s one problem with this: how do you keep the laptop on when it’s closed?

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By default, Windows puts your laptop to sleep when you close the lid. This means that even if you don’t want to use your laptop screen as a secondary monitor, you still have to keep it open to keep your computer awake.

Or do you? Thankfully, you can keep your monitor on when the laptop is closed. Here’s how.

How to Keep the Display On When Your Laptop Is Closed

Windows provides a simple toggle to let you keep your laptop screen on when it’s closed. Find it through the following steps:

  1. In the System Tray (at the bottom-right corner of the screen), find the Battery icon. You may have to click the small arrow to show all icons. Right-click Battery and choose Power Options.
    1. Alternatively, on Windows 10, you can head to Settings > System > Power & sleep and select Additional power settings from the right menu.
  2. On the left of the resulting Power Options menu, select Choose what closing the lid does.
  3. You’ll see options for the power and sleep buttons How to Use Your Windows 10 Power Button You can shut down Windows using the physical button on your computer or the commands on the Start Menu. We explain what these options do and how to tweak them. Read More . Under When I close the lid, change the dropdown box for Plugged in to Do nothing.
    1. If you like, you can also change the setting for On battery. However, this can cause issues, as we’ll explain in a moment.
  4. Click Save Changes and you’re good to go.

Windows Laptop Lid Settings
Image credit: Ben Richards/SuperUser

Now when you close your laptop screen, it will continue to run as normal. This means that you can control it with external devices while the laptop itself is neatly tucked away.

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However, remember that when you want to put your laptop to sleep or shut it down, you’ll need to use the commands on the Start Menu once you’ve made this change. You can also use the physical power button on your computer to turn it off.

Beware of Heat When Closing a Laptop Without Sleeping

That’s all you have to do in order to close your laptop without it sleeping. However, changing this option has a consequence that you should know about.

The default shortcut for closing the lid to put your PC to sleep is convenient when you throw your laptop in a bag. But if you forget about that after changing this option, you could accidentally put your laptop in an enclosed space while it’s still on.

In addition to wasting battery power, this will generate a lot of heat and can destroy your laptop over time How to Destroy Your Laptop: 5 Mistakes to Avoid Destruction Wondering how to destroy a laptop? These common mistakes will damage your computer over time, so you must beware of them. Read More . Thus, you should consider only changing the lid setting for Plugged in and always plugging in your laptop when you use it at your desk. This is a good combination of convenience and safety.

Related topics: Laptop, Multiple Monitors, Windows Tips.

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  1. Charles
    December 14, 2019 at 1:02 am

    This was very helpful. Thank you very much !

  2. new Windows ten user
    November 4, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Super helpful.............thanks

  3. Richard
    March 16, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    My computer is correctly set to do nothing when I closed the lid, and this has worked fine for months now. As of today, it no longer works. I have tried changing it to Sleep, and then saved changes, and then I changed it back to Do Nothing and saved changes, and it still sleeps when I close the lid. Is this because of a new Windows update? I am needing to fiddle around with computer settings when I would rather be doing other things, and I shouldn't have to be doing this.

    • Ernest
      September 18, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      I think I figured it out! if you are using the balanced power plan, you have to change the plan settings. So from the control panel --> Choose or customize a power plan --> change plan settings --> change advanced power settings (opens window)--> power buttons and lid --> lid close action --> plugged in * change to do nothing.

  4. Pete
    January 22, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    This option seems to be no longer effective when using gotomypc on winodws 10 as of fall 2018 - a video image is broadcast, but no response from the host pc when connecting via gotomypc...

  5. D
    September 3, 2018 at 1:10 am

    When I close the lid on my laptop the screen shuts off. I used Windows 10 settings to keep it on (choose "Do Nothing") but the screen shuts off anyway whenever I close the lid. Does anyone know how to fix this?

    • Kristen
      January 30, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      This happens to me everyday and I have to go into the power settings every morning and save it in order to close my lid. Its very annoying!!

  6. D
    September 3, 2018 at 1:09 am

    I tried using this Windows 10 feature - I changed the setting to "Do Nothing" when I close the lid for Battery & Plugged In, and when I close the lid the screen turns off anyway. Why is that and how do I get it to work as I intend?

  7. Oscar
    April 7, 2018 at 12:46 am

    I just updated my laptop "https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4089848/windows-10-update-kb4089848"

    and when the lid is closed the interneet goes very slow, its impossible to navigate