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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.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Computer User 38 hours 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 5 days ago

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

    • profile image

      Tom 10 days ago

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

    • profile image

      Kayla 3 weeks ago

      This article was very helpful and simple!

      The steps were very easy to follow and understand

    • profile image

      Tom 5 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Dee 5 weeks ago

      Perfect! Thank you.

    • profile image

      Lisa 7 weeks 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 2 months ago

      Thank you sooo much I was going crazy! lol

    • profile image

      Ryk Mchoraji 2 months ago

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Rob 2 months ago

      Thanks you very much! You certainly made it easy!

    • profile image

      Mehboob Alam 2 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 4 months ago

      Thank You!

    • profile image

      Vinay 4 months ago

      Very nice information. Thanks

    • profile image

      Ruslan 5 months ago

      Thank you very much!

    • profile image

      Mark46 5 months ago

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

    • Canuck57 profile image

      Canuck57 6 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 6 months ago

      This is was very helpful.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      aditya pallewar 7 months ago

      thank you for your help

    • profile image

      Frenchy55 7 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Mandy 7 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 7 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 7 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 9 months ago

      thankyou for help

    • profile image

      philip 9 months ago

      Thank you very much :)

    • profile image

      Chay 9 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 10 months ago

      Thanks!!!

    • profile image

      Hassaan 11 months ago

      Thanks man! This helped a lot!

    • profile image

      MDK 12 months ago

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

    • profile image

      malthoff 13 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 13 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 15 months 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 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      LLB 2 years ago

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

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 2 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 2 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 3 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 image
      Author

      TurtleDog 3 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 3 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 3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      John Schneider 3 years ago

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

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 3 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 image
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 years ago

      Thank you so muchy Altrego8

    • profile image

      Altrego8 4 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 4 years ago

      Thanks. Helped a bunch

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 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 4 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 years ago

      Glad to hear this functions on windows 8 for you!

    • profile image

      iammobilechris 4 years ago

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

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      shaz 4 years ago

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

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 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 4 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 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 4 years ago

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

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 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 4 years ago

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

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Wochnick 4 years ago

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

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      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 image
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 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 5 years ago

      does the screen remain on when closed after doing all this

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Lalbabu 5 years ago

      Thanks TurtleDog! it helps me a lot..

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Janet 5 years ago

      Thank you! Just the information I needed.

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 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 5 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      bootlegstan 5 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 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? 5 years ago

      You took a photo of your monitor...?

      You do know of the printscreen function right?

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Ayeni 5 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 years ago

      Thanks Andy!

    • profile image

      Andy 5 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 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 image
      Author

      TurtleDog 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 years ago

      It was very helpful for Windows 7.

      Many thanks,

      Tamil.

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      You are very welcome! Thanks

    • profile image

      B.O.B 6 years ago

      Thanks , really helped me out.

    • TurtleDog profile image
      Author

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      hillob 6 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      min 6 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
      Author

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      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
      Author

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      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!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 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!

      Prasetio:)