How to Run Laptop Computer While Closed With External Monitor Screen


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.

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Comments 66 comments

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Good information, my friend. I always learn about something new every time I visit your hub. Good work and I love to follow your tips. Happy New Year. Take care!


TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 5 years ago Author

Thanks Prasetio30! I really appreciate your kind words. I really like this feature. Great for closing the computer temporarily to protect it (without shutting it off) and for external monitor use.

Thanks again!

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 5 years ago Author

Thanks Prasetio30! I really appreciate your kind words. I really like this feature. Great for closing the computer temporarily to protect it (without shutting it off) and for external monitor use.

Thanks again!

min 5 years ago

Thanks man,

It helps me a lot. Do Windows XP has similar option? I do not have XP computer yet to test but may need to work on that too.

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 5 years ago Author

Thank you Min! I am not sure if it works the same for Microsoft Windows XP either. Like you, I do not have an XP operating system to try it out on.

Sorry I can't be of more help on this one. Thanks for stopping by!

hillob 5 years ago

I want to use a laptop in place of a PC using my existing 22" monitor, keyboard and mouse because of space constraints. I was told today at PC world that there was no way to stop a laptop turning off or going into standby when the lid is closed!!

Thrilled to see it is possible so thanks for this post. I presume this will apply to any laptop using windows 7 - I am just worried that there might be brands who use their own power supply software and block windows as happens on my old Toshiba sattelite - any comment? Thanks.

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 5 years ago Author

Thanks for stopping by Hillob! I'd have to think that it would work for any laptop or notebook running on MS Windows 7. I can't say for sure though especially since I wasn't aware of the Toshiba issues. Just wondering out-loud if, on the Toshiba or systems with similar challenges if you can disable the power supply software and use MS as default. Total speculation on my part though as I've never attempted this. I currently run

mine off the HP Pavilion.

Thanks again for the very informative question

B.O.B 5 years ago

Thanks , really helped me out.

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 5 years ago Author

You are very welcome! Thanks

Tamilvelan.G 4 years ago

It was very helpful for Windows 7.

Many thanks,


marian 4 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.

Steve 4 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.

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

@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.

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

@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

Andy 4 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 image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

Thanks Andy!

Ayeni 4 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 image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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

Really? 4 years ago

You took a photo of your monitor...?

You do know of the printscreen function right?

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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

bootlegstan 4 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 image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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

Marcos 4 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 image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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

Janet 4 years ago

Thank you! Just the information I needed.

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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

Lalbabu 4 years ago

Thanks TurtleDog! it helps me a lot..

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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

jordan 4 years ago

does the screen remain on when closed after doing all this

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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.

JakeB 4 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 image

TurtleDog 4 years ago Author

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!

Wochnick 3 years ago

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

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

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

Darren 3 years ago

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

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

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

lori 3 years ago

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

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

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!

skully1666 3 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 image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

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!

shaz 3 years ago

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

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

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

iammobilechris 3 years ago

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

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

Glad to hear this functions on windows 8 for you!

Candie 3 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 image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

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.

Junkyard 3 years ago

Thanks. Helped a bunch

Altrego8 3 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.

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 3 years ago Author

Thank you so muchy Altrego8

mayank147 profile image

mayank147 3 years ago from Gwalior

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

toptengamer profile image

toptengamer 3 years ago from The Game

Easy enough to do. Thanks for the quick tip.

Tolovaj profile image

Tolovaj 2 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!

John Schneider 2 years ago

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

Tish 2 years ago

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

tampapalmsgirl 2 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?

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 2 years ago Author

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

Irais 2 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.

Jaci 2 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?

Travis 23 months 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

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 23 months ago Author

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!

LLB 18 months ago

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

Juan 18 months ago

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

Aryeh Taub profile image

Aryeh Taub 3 months ago


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?

Ram 7 weeks 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!

malthoff 4 weeks 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.

MDK 2 weeks ago

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

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