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How to Keep a Windows Laptop Awake With the Lid Closed

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Wondering how to keep your laptop on when it’s closed? Here’s how to close your laptop and still use a connected monitor.

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While your Windows laptop obviously works great while on the go, you can make it into a proper workstation at home too. By connecting an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, a laptop can function as a desktop. But there’s one problem with this: how do you keep the laptop awake when it’s closed?

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 leave your laptop open to keep your computer awake.

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

How to Keep the Screen on When Your Laptop Lid Is Closed

Windows provides a simple toggle to let you keep your laptop screen on, even 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, to open this menu on Windows 10, you can head to Settings > System > Power & sleep and select Additional power settings from the right menu. Drag the Settings window to make it wider if you don’t see this link.
  2. On the left of the resulting Power Options Control Panel entry, select Choose what closing the lid does.
  3. You’ll see options for the power and sleep buttons. 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 same setting for On battery. However, this can cause some issues, as we’ll explain below.
  4. Click Save Changes and you’re good to go.

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

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 (or try shortcuts for sleeping and shutdown) once you’ve made this change. Another option is using the physical power button on your computer to turn it off; you can change the behavior for this on the same page mentioned above.

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 put 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 turned on.

In addition to wasting battery power, this will generate a lot of heat and can destroy your laptop over time. Thus, you should consider only changing the lid setting for when your laptop is Plugged in, and always plugging in your laptop when you use it at your desk.

That way, you won’t forget and put a running laptop in an enclosed space without thinking. This is a good combination of convenience and safety.

Easily Keep Your Laptop Awake When It’s Closed

As we’ve seen, it’s easy to change how your laptop behaves when the screen is closed. Keeping it awake, even with the lid shut, allows you to take advantage of your computer’s power even if you aren’t using its built-in display.

If you often use your laptop in this fashion, we recommend getting a laptop dock for more functionality.


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