How to Run Laptop Computer While Closed With External Monitor Screen

Updated on April 29, 2016

Introduction

OK... you've got yourself a cool laptop PC computer to use while on the road. When you are home though, you have a much bigger and better computer monitor screen. You also have a wireless keyboard and mouse. When you are at home you want to continue using your laptop software and memory but you also want to set your laptop aside and not use the laptop screen.

The article will show you how to keep running your laptop while the lid is closed. You will still use all the great resources of the laptop but you'll have it shut and set to the side while your external monitor, keyboard and mouse do all the work.

This article is best suited for Windows 7 users but other versions might be close as well. One terriffic commenter below said that this also works on Windows Vista as well.

I also apologize in advance for my lousy pics :-) Hopefully they help!

Step 1

The first step to running your laptop with the lid closed is to Click on the "Start" button. For those of you new to Windows 7 this is the circular microsoft button on the lower left side of your screen.

Step 2

Then go ahead and select "Control Panel" in the window that appears to the side.

Step 3

Go to the section titled "Hardware and Sound."  It is located about the middle left section of the control panel window. Click directly on the words "Hardware and Sound"

Step 4

In the "Hardware and Sound" window, look for the "Power Options" section. This is located about halfway down the window.

In the power options section, click on "Change What the Power Buttons Do"

Step 5

In the window that opens, look for the section titled "When I Close the Lid"

Next to this title you'll see two drop down boxes that by default will be set to "Sleep'.

Change the "On Battery" and / or "Plugged In" drop down boxes to "Do Nothing." Depending on which power source you want to use while using external monitor, keyboard and mouse.


Do Nothing on Battery
Do Nothing on Battery
Do Nothing on Plugged In
Do Nothing on Plugged In

Step 6

Then finish by clicking the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the window.

That should do it. Now when you close the lid your laptop won't do anything when you close it. It will continue to run.  Now you'll be able to use all the resources of the lap top (via your external keyboard, monitor and mouse) while it is shut.

Step 7

Another screen might appear asking you what power plan you want to use. I just close this screen by hitting the close 'x' block. I haven't messed with this and so far haven't found a need to.

ALSO... when you close your laptop lid, your external monitor might go black for a second. Don't panic, it will come back on. It only does this temporarily.


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That Should Keep The Lid Closed and Power On

Thanks so much for reading this post. This will really come in handy when you want to utilize all the benefits of desktop accessories such as comfortable external keyboards, regular mouse and large external monitor screens while saving space since you are using your laptop computers hard drive rather than some big old tower or other bulky desktop PC hardware.

Thanks again! Please be sure to check out some of my other posts.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        saiedov 

        10 days ago

        Thanks for your information; it is helpful

      • profile image

        Me 

        8 weeks ago

        You are awesome...thank you for sharing and making it so simple!!!

      • profile image

        bob 

        4 months ago

        good instructions

      • profile image

        Jolio 

        4 months ago

        That did the trick!

      • profile image

        mike 

        5 months ago

        hahaha and what to do when you have win10?

      • profile image

        Solano 

        5 months ago

        best help ever!

      • profile image

        Satish Mc 

        6 months ago

        Thanks a lot, This helped.

      • profile image

        Jessi 

        6 months ago

        Thanks this was very helpful!!!!

      • profile image

        dan 

        6 months ago

        thanks lifesaver

      • profile image

        Ern 

        7 months ago

        Finally!! I am crying now!

      • profile image

        Aida 

        7 months ago

        Thank you sooooo much for this!!!

      • profile image

        Me 

        7 months ago

        Great direction, got right to it and worked the first time. Thank you!

      • profile image

        Anonymous 

        7 months ago

        Thank you. This saved my afternoon of me crying on my pillow and crying myself to sleep.

      • profile image

        Manny 

        8 months ago

        Great! Thanks for the information.

      • profile image

        Computer User 

        9 months ago

        I did this. I have my computer on 24hrs a day as I listen to relaxing music to sleep. I believe the heat from the laptop damaged my laptop computer screen over time.

      • profile image

        ML 

        9 months ago

        Great article! My IT folks couldn't do it (well only one). Thanks

      • profile image

        Tom 

        9 months ago

        Works on Windows 10 as well as Windows 7, both of their Control Panels are similar to each other.

      • profile image

        Kayla 

        9 months ago

        This article was very helpful and simple!

        The steps were very easy to follow and understand

      • profile image

        Tom 

        10 months ago

        thanx for the help. needed the help for my big 27' monitor for when I use it for my laptop.

      • profile image

        Dee 

        10 months ago

        Perfect! Thank you.

      • profile image

        Lisa 

        10 months ago

        Everything works for me with the lid closed except my mouse. It is a wired mouse plugged into the docking station and it works fine when lid is open. Is there any way to fix this?

      • profile image

        Jess 

        11 months ago

        Thank you sooo much I was going crazy! lol

      • profile image

        Ryk Mchoraji 

        11 months ago

        Thanks

      • profile image

        Rob 

        11 months ago

        Thanks you very much! You certainly made it easy!

      • profile image

        Mehboob Alam 

        11 months ago

        Great Explanation I was searching last 2 years, this is nice way of explaining it.

        One Last Question, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 on both this method applicable ?

      • profile image

        Mike Corry 

        13 months ago

        Thank You!

      • profile image

        Vinay 

        13 months ago

        Very nice information. Thanks

      • profile image

        Ruslan 

        14 months ago

        Thank you very much!

      • profile image

        Mark46 

        14 months ago

        Can i do this with ordinary (not wireless) keyboard and mouse as well?

      • Canuck57 profile image

        Canuck57 

        15 months ago

        Good information, and it does work. My only problem is that since I purchased a new computer I now need to keep the lid open until after the computer has booted. If not it simply shuts off after it starts. With my old computer I could close the lid as soon as I turned the power on and everything was fine. However, once my new computer is booted up it will work properly with the lid closed.

      • profile image

        reg 

        15 months ago

        This is was very helpful.

        Thanks

      • profile image

        aditya pallewar 

        16 months ago

        thank you for your help

      • profile image

        Frenchy55 

        16 months ago

        You are great!. Thank you for the explanation!!!!

      • profile image

        Mandy 

        16 months ago

        I went searching for an article to setup my laptop as a desktop and this was the best article. Right to the point. Everyone keeps trying to get you to get a docking station but your article not only gives a fantastic lesson but saves some bucks. Thank you so much for the wonderful information.

      • profile image

        Antonio 

        16 months ago

        Nice, but I loose wifi connection when I close the lid. Even when set to "do nothing". I called HP support and they couldn't fix it.

      • profile image

        Erik B 

        16 months ago

        Thanks a lot. This was a really good tips. Easy and well explaibed - even though I'm running Win 10.

        /Erik

      • profile image

        vedansh kumar 

        18 months ago

        thankyou for help

      • profile image

        philip 

        18 months ago

        Thank you very much :)

      • profile image

        Chay 

        18 months ago

        This confirms what I had in mind! My monitor is a problen, but I have the TV now as my monitor, Thought I could use my laptop as my CPU, and buy an external keyboard. You answered the question on my head!

        Thank you so much.

      • profile image

        Rio 

        19 months ago

        Thanks!!!

      • profile image

        Hassaan 

        20 months ago

        Thanks man! This helped a lot!

      • profile image

        MDK 

        21 months ago

        Since the last windows update all that was posted does not work

      • profile image

        malthoff 

        22 months ago

        Thank you, knew it had to be something simple. Using this on a Window 8.1 machine. Nice to know MS at least left some consistencies in the OS.

      • profile image

        Ram 

        22 months ago

        Hi there,

        I am using windows 10. Though the options explained in the post are different on windows 10, I managed to find "when I close the lid option" and chose "do nothing" in the drop down.

        Now when close the lid of my laptop, I can still use it on an external screen. However, now the issue I am facing is that as soon as I close the lid of my laptop, the font size on the external screen - autocratically - becomes smaller, as if someone zoomed out the screen. Could you please help me with this?

        Thanks a ton!

      • Aryeh Taub profile image

        Aryeh Taub 

        2 years ago

        Hi!

        Thanks for the nice and detailed guide.

        After shutting the lid, the PC thinks the laptop monitor is still running, so sometimes windows open there, and the mouse is lost a bit.

        I'm using extended monitors function.

        How can I tweak the system so that when I close the lid, I switch to External Monitor output only?

      • profile image

        Juan 

        3 years ago

        How do you get sound out when it's in clamshell mode?

      • profile image

        LLB 

        3 years ago

        This work perfectly on my Windows 8 operating system. Thank you very much.

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        3 years ago

        Hi Sorry Travis and Jaci . Sounds like you've checked and tried everything so maybe this differes on your respective computers. Best of luck!

        Irais ... Thanks so much and glad this worked for you!

      • profile image

        Travis 

        3 years ago

        Hi yeah i tried all this but the do nothing part doesn't come up on my sony vaio have you any ideas please i outta ideas

      • profile image

        Jaci 

        3 years ago

        Mine still shuts the external monitor off. I've tried it like a million times. I have a keyboard, it isn't wireless but my mouse is. This is a huge problem, I don't have a whole lot of desk space and really need to be able to close my laptop. Any ideas? Maybe I have the monitor options set up wrong? I got it to just use the external monitor and double it up or make it use dual monitors. I don't understand why this wont work!? Any suggestions?

      • profile image

        Irais 

        4 years ago

        Thank you for your help, now I am happily using only my external monitor and able to close the lid of my lapton, thank you so much for your help.

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        4 years ago

        Hi Tami (Tampalmsgirl) .... I am not familiar with the product product so I can't answer but thanks so much for stopping by

      • profile image

        tampapalmsgirl 

        4 years ago

        I haven't purchased my laptop yet, but plan on purchasing a Toshiba Satellite 17.3" today. I am looking at setting up two external monitors as a desktop configuration. My question is this: I see that I can either purchase Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter to split the monitors OR the more expensive dock Targus USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station (ACP70USZ). I tried this at work with my aging HP laptop and whatever splitter someone pulled from a backroom, but the result was that I could not display as dual screens. The system only allowed me to Stretch the display across the three screens. My only other option was to leave the laptop open (which I hated) and use a single other external screen which is an awful solution since the screens are 'different' in terms of height and viewing angle.

        My question is, using your method and the Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter (the cheaper option) am I going to be able to close my laptop, use the dual monitors and a Wireless or USB keyboard running Windows 8?

        Also, second question-- is the video adapter going to impact the quality of the output on the monitors and if so, anything I should consider when buying a high end monitor?

      • profile image

        Tish 

        4 years ago

        Fantastic advice. So glad I could shut my laptop while working with an external monitor. Thanks!

      • profile image

        John Schneider 

        4 years ago

        Hey TurtleDog thanks for the help. Are you any relation to TurtleMan? lol

      • Tolovaj profile image

        Tolovaj 

        4 years ago

        Very good step by step tutorial. I love the portability of laptops but a big screen is still 'a must' in certain situations. Thanks for the useful info!

      • toptengamer profile image

        Brandon Hart 

        4 years ago from The Game

        Easy enough to do. Thanks for the quick tip.

      • mayank147 profile image

        Mayank Agrawal 

        4 years ago from Bangalore

        Very good article and gives step by step process with lots of step by step pictures hope we will read such a great hub:)

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Thank you so muchy Altrego8

      • profile image

        Altrego8 

        5 years ago

        This solved my problem with the laptop going to sleep if I closed it, and the display too. I followed the instructions and it helped a bunch.

      • profile image

        Junkyard 

        5 years ago

        Thanks. Helped a bunch

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Yes, it sounds like you might be using a computer that your employer issued you for work? You might not have the same rights as if you owned the computer. Contact your IT department.

        If you do own the computer, and just guessing here, but maybe you need to log in somehow with a password to have those rights to the drop down, settings controls? I remember years back I had a PC where I set up a log in. I was able to access most of the features if I by passed the log in but I seem to remember (and keep in mind I'm kinda reaching on this one) that certain functions weren't allowed unless I logged in.

        It definitely sounds like something (password, person) has authority over you, over your PC.

      • profile image

        Candie 

        5 years ago

        I followed your steps however it will not allow me to bring up the drop down menus. It says that I don't have access to these options. Do you have any tips on what I should do?

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Glad to hear this functions on windows 8 for you!

      • profile image

        iammobilechris 

        5 years ago

        I use this setup currently with my Windows 8 laptop with a external monitor in clamshell mode :)

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        You are very welcome shaz! Glad this helped you to connect to your external screen! Thanks

      • profile image

        shaz 

        5 years ago

        Thanks mate . Just cracked my laptop screen and need to connect ro external screen.. saved me.. thanks mate

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Hi Skully1666! Thank you for reading my post. It sounds like you did it right. The computer is supposed to powered up and not go black even when it is closed. This is because you've correctly put the settings to "Do Nothing" (ie don't sleep, don't shut down, etc with screen shut)

        Thanks again!

      • profile image

        skully1666 

        5 years ago

        helpful indeed! but quick question i followed you steps correctly but my did doesn't seem to do anything it stays on isint it suppose to go black or something

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Keep trying Lori! It works at least if you are a Windows 7 user (and likely Vista too as Darren mentions in his comment) Be sure you have both the "plugged in" and "battery" set to "Do Nothing" when changing the settings on "When I Close The Lid". That way no matter how you have your lap top powered, it will continue to run. Keep trying. Thanks!

      • profile image

        lori 

        5 years ago

        I tried doing it but when it closes it still turns off

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Darren! Thanks buddy for letting us know that this tip also works for Window Vista as well as Windows 7

      • profile image

        Darren 

        5 years ago

        Thanks for that great info, it works on windows vista if anyone wants to know...

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Glad this helped you to keep the PC running with everything shut Wochnick! Glad you stopped by

      • profile image

        Wochnick 

        5 years ago

        Thanks just got a new laptop at work... and the above insturctions worked perfect!!

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        5 years ago

        Good question JakeB. I'm not sure if you will need to do so or not. I doubt if you have already been using the 50 with the desktop. If you have an issue with the desktop not 'finding' the 50, it might help to check out the post I linked within my article above in the paragraph (just below step 6) titled "If you want to combine your Laptop Screen With Another Monitor"

        Thanks for checking out my post!

      • profile image

        JakeB 

        5 years ago

        Right on, wanted to find a way to rock my new gaming rig to my 50 without having to leave it open - Thanks!

        Side question: is there anything I need to do with regards to configuring the 50 inch before use with the laptop?

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        Hi Jordan! When you close your laptop lid while on "do nothing" it does in fact turn off. The external monitor will turn off as well but in about 5 seconds the external monitor will go back on but the laptop screen will remain in sleep (not on) mode. Great question.

      • profile image

        jordan 

        6 years ago

        does the screen remain on when closed after doing all this

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        You're welcome Lalbabu! Glad you got that computer to stay on while the lid is down.

      • profile image

        Lalbabu 

        6 years ago

        Thanks TurtleDog! it helps me a lot..

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        Thanks Janet! Glad this fix worked for you! Appreciate it.

      • profile image

        Janet 

        6 years ago

        Thank you! Just the information I needed.

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        Glad you stopped by and letting us know this helps you computer stay on with the top hatch shut :-) Thanks for reading!

      • profile image

        Marcos 

        6 years ago

        Thx TurtleDog great job.. now i know how to keep my laptop lid closed whenever i am using a wireless keyboard with big screen tv !!

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        Thanks Bottlegstan for stopping by! Appreciate it. Glad it will help

      • profile image

        bootlegstan 

        6 years ago

        Thanks a lot! My wife was given a new work laptop so I want to use her old one to surf the web on our tv. Now I can just slip it in among the components and let it run to use it whenever we need it!

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        I did! Thanks for visiting my post. I hope it helped to keep your PC up and running with the top down. Thanks again.

      • profile image

        Really? 

        6 years ago

        You took a photo of your monitor...?

        You do know of the printscreen function right?

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        Thank Ayeni! I really appreciate the friendly comment. Glad you are running aOK now with screen shut.

      • profile image

        Ayeni 

        6 years ago

        Thanks man.. Your info was really helpful.. I ve been battling with this stuff for about 2 month .but now it over thanks to you man .. Thumbs up !!!

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        Thanks Andy!

      • profile image

        Andy 

        6 years ago

        Thanks, that was really helpful.

        On my new Toshiba Satellite (running Windows 7) step 3 was different. No 'hardware and sound' but 'Power Options' took me to the same place.

        Thanks again.

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        @steve... thanks for the question. I'm not sure I fully understand what you are asking but maybe it would help to explain how I use my PC closed. I used it closed, but on, both with my network router and plugged in. I use an external keyboard and external monitor. I'm able to access my internet via clicking on explorer or Mozzilla on my external screen.

        I don't see why you couldn't use wireless internet but again, I might not be understanding the question. Thanks

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        @marian - Hi! I think there is a way to turn on your PC with the screen closd. It might involve a docking station though or simply using the 'sleep mode' on your PC. I linked an article on the right side my article above near the bottom of the post "Start Up PC laptops with lid shut" I hope it lends you some insight.

      • profile image

        Steve 

        6 years ago

        This is late but is there a way to continue using wireless internet like this? I have a HPG62 closed except to turn it on and access my wireless provider. I hope there is help. Thanks.

      • profile image

        marian 

        6 years ago

        great, but how do you power it back on with the lid closed, the lap top sitting under a monitor stand with the monitor on top.

      • profile image

        Tamilvelan.G 

        6 years ago

        It was very helpful for Windows 7.

        Many thanks,

        Tamil.

      • TurtleDog profile imageAUTHOR

        TurtleDog 

        6 years ago

        You are very welcome! Thanks

      • profile image

        B.O.B 

        6 years ago

        Thanks , really helped me out.

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