If you have a laptop or all-in-one computer, you might have times where you wish to leave the computer on but turn off the display. Although most computers with built-in monitors lack a monitor switch, you can still turn it off in a click. Here’s how.

This tip comes from user Sushovon Sinha, a member of the Microsoft Community since 2011, who proposed this genius solution in a discussion in the Windows forums.  Although other methods exist to turn off a monitor, this is one of the most elegant and straightforward, and requires no other apps to be installed.  Here we will step through making use of Sushovan’s method, and build upon it by creating easy to use shortcuts.

To turn off the monitor, we’ll use a batch file.  A batch file is a simple list of commands that your PC will perform.  In plain English, this batch file will perform the following steps:

  1. Set your monitor to turn off after 1 minute.
  2. Turn on the “blank screen” screen saver to immediately dim (but not turn off) the monitor.  After a minute, the 1st step will turn it off the rest of the way.
  3. When the screensaver stops (because you pressed a key or moved the mouse), the monitor power-off timer will be set back to the longer times (15 and 45 minutes for battery/ac power respectively).  I have also set this batch file to immediately lock the computer as well.

Here’s these same steps as PC commands. You can see that the timer for turning off the monitor when powered by AC and DC power (plugged in or battery) are separate.

Batch file for turning off monitor
A batch file contains one command per line (lines beginning with : are ignored).

You can download the ready-built batch file from my OneDrive, and double-click it to turn off your monitor.  Edit the file in Notepad to change the times used or remove the “lock workstation” line.

Optionally, you can store the script somewhere else, and make a shortcut to it that has a custom icon.  If you precede the shortcut target with cmd /c, you can also pin the shortcut to your taskbar or Start menu.

Create a shortcut to the batch file to assign keyboard shortcuts and set a custom icon. And add "cmd /c" before the shortcut allows you to later pin the shortcut to your Start menu or taskbar.
Create a shortcut to the batch file to assign keyboard shortcuts and set a custom icon. And add “cmd /c” before the shortcut allows you to later pin the shortcut to your Start menu or taskbar.

I dragged the shortcut to my taskbar for easy access. Since it is the first icon, I can immediately turn off my monitor by pressing Windows+1 on the keyboard too.

Drag the new monitor off shortcut to your taskbar for easy access with a click or keyboard.
Drag the new monitor off shortcut to your taskbar for easy access with a click or keyboard.

 

That’s it.  Whether you use the batch file as-is or create a custom shortcut using it, you now have an easy way to turn off a built-in display without using any third party software.