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Create a Shortcut or Hotkey to Turn Off the Monitor

Have you ever wanted to hit a shortcut key to turn off the monitor? Sure, you can use the Win+L combination to lock the screen, but that leaves your monitor on… and those of us with multiple monitors find it a pain to hunt down the power buttons all the time.

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First we’ll show you how to simply power off the monitor, and then how to both lock and power it off.

Create a Shortcut to Turn Off the Monitor

To create this shortcut, we’ll first need to grab a tiny multi-purpose utility called NirCmd from the great folks over at NirSoft. This Swiss-army knife tool can do an amazing array of tasks, including powering off the monitor. All we really need to do is create a shortcut to it.

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose New \ Shortcut:

image

Then you’ll want to browse to the location where you saved the nircmd.exe file, and add the following arguments:

“C:\path\to\nircmd.exe” cmdwait 1000 monitor off

Make sure the path has quotes around it, and then you add the extra arguments, which will wait 1 second before powering off the monitor (otherwise Windows might misinterpret your last keystroke and wake back up).

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Next you can go into the shortcut properties and assign a shortcut key, and then click Change Icon to pick a better one than the default.

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In Vista, at least, there’s a great icon for turning off the monitor… pick the somewhat ugly one from the list below:

image

And when the icon actually shows up, it’s nice and shiny. Of course you are free to pick your own icon instead.

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Lock the Workstation Too

For extra credit, you can create a shortcut that both locks the workstation as well as turns the monitor off. Unfortunately the Nircmd way involves more steps than necessary in Vista (in my testing, at least), so I’ve created a tiny executable called LockAndPowerDown.exe that will do both in one step.

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To install it, simply download and extract the executable, and create a shortcut to it just as you did in the step above. To find the same icon, click on Change Icon, and then paste in “C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll” into the browse box.

image 

The application is written in AutoHotkey and the source code is included in the download file. Enjoy!

Download LockAndPowerDown from howtogeek.com

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/7/09

Comments (92)

  1. Jami

    This works for XP as well and through my KVM switch.

  2. bg1256

    Strange, my monitor has a power button that does the same thing…

  3. The Geek

    @bg1256

    Yes, but when you have 3 monitors, it’s more of a pain… and what about people with laptop screens? Constantly closing the lid wears out the hinges.

  4. Auldthief

    Hi! Great tip! I also tried wizmo along with nircmd but I still cant find an option to turn off only ONE of my two monitors. (Dual monitor setup in vista, CRT monitor and TV).When I use these options, My TV also blanks out (because video signal to ALL monitors is cut out, i guess) I only want to turn off/on my CRT, not my TV. Any ideas how to do that?

  5. Richard Thomas

    Hello, you can also lock your workstation by creating a shortcut to “rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation”.

    See http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/security/learnmore/tips/schnoll1.mspx.

  6. hamzahsa

    what does “add arguments” mean?

  7. Dinesh

    will it work with laptop screen too?

  8. Moon

    Wizmo, dudes. Old school. Does a million other things too.

  9. gic

    do you mind share your autohockey script (not just .exe) too?
    i’d love to learn how it’s done.
    thanks!

  10. Max

    Is there a way to customize your green “H” Icon?

  11. B3

    windows key+ L = locks up

  12. Kealper

    Thanks, this is a quick fix for my laptop, its an old laptop, but reliable none the less and its switch to let the computer know that the screen has been closed broke a while back, so my screen was just constantly on and eating battery power…and windows will only turn off the screen if im not doing something so this is great!

  13. Elizabeth Nguyen

    Hi,

    I am currently using Window vista. Since I install new virus software “McFee”, I have problem with my computer “freeze my internet” unless I have to shutdown my computer and log in again. Anyone, pleas help!!

    Elizabeth

  14. leo

    Thank you very much.
    I use ahk quite a lot in my daily life, and turning off 3 monitors has become somewhat tiresome. This little trick is very useful indeed.

  15. Russ

    Press the “Sleep” button… works for me turns of monitor and drives. Does take a few more seconds to come back to life.

  16. stEvil

    Thank you, this works very well and will help me save battery life while in class. Thanks again.

  17. Chris

    I’m going to find LockAndPowerDown very helpful on my office computer. Since I don’t use Autohotkey, the exe file is much appreciated. Thank you!

  18. Cris

    why does it keep failing to copy to the windows directory

    help please

  19. Mel Matthews

    The on/off button on my monitor is broken, so this utility is great!

  20. Ed

    Unable to change shortcut key setting from None. Running Windows Vista Home Premium. Any idea on how to correct this anomoly?

  21. billt1961

    Will this work w/ Vista 64bit?

  22. Jonathen

    My monitor power button Is broken, if I turn if off via this method, can I turn it back on?

  23. some unknowm pirate

    argh, im running Windows vista 64bit! :( damn…

  24. John Temperley

    LockAndPowerDown is exactly what I was looking for – very many thanks!

  25. Nik

    I am too lazy to use three key combi (Ctrl + Alt + ) for my hotkey instead of one.Besides I use a AgataSoft Hotkey Manager which does not have support for arguments.So, I created a .bat batch file and copied the Target part of the above mentioned shortcut and voila, my laptop screen turns off at F7

  26. Fluxetreflux

    Thank you.

    I just try the LockAndPowerDown.exe on my dualmonitor and Seven RTM.

    It works very well…

    Great tip

  27. lucas

    thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!
    do u know much it drives me nuts when i hop into bed and go to sleep and wake up with the screen on but dont wanna shut down the computer :D

  28. Jirka

    Great!
    So far, I used utility nircmd from http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/nircmd.html
    nircmd.exe monitor off
    nircmd.exe lockws or %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation
    bur for some reason unknown, a few weeks ago nircmd changed its behaviour and the “monitor off” let the nircmd “hanging” and I had to kill the process, or I have one hanging nircmd process for every use of it, and locking does not happen at all of course.
    Wizmo does not terminate itself before it switch the monitor up, which makes unable to sleep the computer
    automatically (using %windir%\System32\rundll32 powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState
    or nircmd.exe standby for instance).
    Two other “monitor off” application I found on the Net
    ( http://www.koding.co.uk/index.php?page=monoff, http://www.jimbug.org/downloads/download.htm )
    makes trouble when the computer go sleep while the monitor is off – after wake the computer up, monitor stay black.
    LockAndPowerDown.exe makes no trouble in all combination with sleep/wake up the computer attempts I have tested and it makes exactly what I need. Some blocking of mouse would be great, but it would demand do not terminate the program immediately when the monitor is off, which would necessary interfere with attempts to sleep the computer automatically I am affraid, which I use very often.

  29. Trevor

    Thanks a lot, this is exactly what I was looking for. I like to watch stuff in bed, as it helps me fall asleep, and getting up to turn off the monitor ruins that. Wireless keyboard ftw!

  30. Gary

    Oh my gosh! THIS IS A MUST for those who have laptops!! Thank god I found this when my laptop is still new… otherwise the hinges would be worn VERY easily over time…

  31. Curtis Chambers

    Anyway to do a hotkey to turn on and off, but only for the second monitor, not the primary?

  32. Suzanne

    I’m blind and wouldn’t mind using my laptop with the screen turned off almost all the time. I’ve tried the nircmd monitor off command. However, as soon as a key is pressed, the screen is back on. Is there a way to keep the screen turned off until you ask it to come on?

  33. dan

    i have to say THANK YOUU!!!. i have a laptop and i love downlowding huge files. they take about 3 hours on avrage and i dislike having my laptop amd monter on un atteneded for that long. now i can turn off the screen and it keeps my comp 25% coller then before.

  34. Roy

    Hi,
    Thanx for that.
    I have a problem though, I have plugged my Compaq Presario R3000 to my LCD TV via VGA cable, works geat, the only problem is that it my monitor stays on all the time as well as my LCD TV.
    Your trick turned both my Laptop Screen and TV Sceen Off, BUT I would like to turn my Laptop Screen Off only, NOY both!

    How would I do that?

    I tried FN+F4 which should work I think on this laptop but it doesn’t.

    I am using Windows 7 :)
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

  35. Wasa

    thanks for the utility
    Have a question tough. After this small program locks my pc the backlight comes on. Can you gret rid of tha backlight as well?

  36. Charlie

    if anybody could help i would really apreaciate i am pretty stuck and know little of computers i have a laptop with win xp and i want to turn of the monitor just as it says here i download the nircmd program and save it in my desktop just to start of i try to open the nircmd file and it just asks me if i want to copy to my windows directory so i put the whole copy thing so now i dont know what to do when it refers in the article on adding the “C:\path\to\nircmd.exe” cmdwait 1000 monitor off functino to the nircmd.exe how am i supposed to do that?

    thanks a lot charlie :)

  37. Adam

    Doesn’t work on 7

  38. bob

    works on win 7 – you don’t need quotes for the shortcut though

    Also thank you vm ^_^ i have a laptop that this is very handy for

  39. ron

    Hey Charlie you have to save the nircmd file to a location on your hard drive first (do not try to open it). Then you can create a new shortcut (for this nircmd application) on your desktop and just then add the path to where you saved the nircmd in the first place (say, “C:\nircmd.exe” cmdwait 1000 monitor off), see instructions above.
    contact me at roagot[at]gmail.com

  40. Gary

    Win 7, no quotes, works perfectly. Thank you so much.

  41. Shyam

    works like a charm especially on my dell studio 1555 which has a weak hinge

  42. German

    Thank you! Works like a charm on Windows 7 Ultimate

  43. bananaman

    how do u turn it back on

  44. emarell

    Ooops – apologies. With that small utility, you must hit Enter (not any old key) to make its window go away.

    If Enter is used instead of a mouse movement to reactivate the blackened screen – Enter is your hotkey, then – the reactivation is clean, one-step. Good!

  45. Dangerosu

    Yeah… it doesn’t work for me…
    I have a peculiar situation.
    I have a crappy samsung syncmaster monitor with the touchpad interface instead of buttons, and, of course, the touchpad is defective (don’t buy Samsung monitors !) and it only works 10% of the time, meaning i can’t turn off my monitor at will. I want to turn it off when i am watching a movie on my TV. Now, the nircmd shortcut works great, the only problem is that the movie player instantly pops the monitor back on when it plays. The nircmd function DOESN’T turn off the monitor, it only puts it in sleep mode. I need a more permanent solution that will keep my monitor off during video playback. No, i can’t buy a new monitor with a WORKING power button right now cuz i’m broke.
    Any practical solutions to this dilemma? I would appreciate it.

    I’m running on XP SP 2 and a samsung syncmaster 2043 nw.
    DC

  46. Kipmix

    I have tried to assign a shortcut for the downloadable and it doesn’t work…win7 64 bit….any help?

  47. ksana

    i’ve exactly the same problem as Suzanne

    any way to keep the screen turned off til we ask it to come on?

    tried kid-key-lock just now, but it cant lock my optical mouse
    so, slight shake of my table, the monitor will on again….

    Thanks!

  48. Dale

    I have Win7 premium, and the hotkey is unreliable, it worked at first, but after running media player it no longers works. I have the shortcut in the Start Menu directory, as that has been reported on the MS site as the only place to maintain the hotkey after a reboot, but even then it does not work on Win7 Premium on a continual basis.

  49. kache

    Thank you.

  50. d0za

    I came here to find this tip for music listening. Theres nothing more distracting that looking at a screen when you are trying to understand and appreciate a stereo mix.

    This shortcut allows me to instantly black my monitors, and like mentioned before, it IS A DAMN PAIN to do this by hand everytime you want to experience a black screen.

    Thanks guys.

  51. dewwex

    Works grand. i using xp. only i have one little problem. i like to turn off monitor using nircmd as outlined above, while playing music via youtube (i hate the glare off monitors, when relaxing). But i have my speakers and optical mouse on my computer desk, and i find when i playing music, the monitor comes back on straight away. i presuming that its caused by vibration, due to sound waves from the speakers, effecting my optical mouse. Maybe i wrong?

    Does someone know how one would fix this issue? i’d even settle for disabling the mouse’s ability to bring monitor out of shut down (ie i would have to use say a keyboard key). But don’t know how to do this either? thanks

  52. dewwex

    ……….. with further experiments, i have been able to rule my presumption that it may be ‘sound waves from the speakers’ causing vibration thro mouse;that is bringing monitor out of sleep when playing music. i disconnected the mouse (usb), but problem persists.

  53. Charles Y Farley

    Ignore the catty comments and try this nice utility. It allows me to power-down (old IBM mainframe term) my Toshiba Satellite laptop monitor while Netflix playback is in session, which normally prevents screen darkening.

    Works on Win7x64, too.

    Thanks again.

    P.S.: “My monitor has a power button.” — Yes, I’m sure it does. There is NO power button on a laptop display. Wash your mouth out with soap for being snide.

  54. Thomas

    Thanks a lot for the help mate. I really appreciate the info. And it worked nicely.

  55. karthi

    works on windows 7 32 bit really cool .simple and superb,thanks for the support…!!

  56. Theo

    Ok i am using two screens and actually its an imac with windows xp and a regular tv. Is there anyway you can make the shortcut turining off only one screen? For example i want to watch a movie on the tv and turn of the mac screen but mac doesnt have a switch.

  57. Chris

    I got the shortcut created and it works when I double click it but when I tried to set up Ctrl F12 as the hotkey it does not work when I hit Ctrl and F12 together. Any help?
    Thanks
    Chris

  58. Chris

    if anyone was having trouble making the shortcut work in windows 7 I was able to get it working by placing it in the start menu it seems that is the only way to set up hotkeys

  59. Jon

    Hi,
    I have tried couple ways with this, but still doesnt work… hope someone can help me a bit. I am running window 7 64 bits Home Premium
    Tried NIRCMD with cmdwait 1000 monitor off
    Tried NIRCMD with monitor off

    Tried LockAndPowerDown

    My monitor would shut off at first, and after less than 5 seconds, it would turn on again without anything touched. Any help? thanks!

  60. Jagpreet

    Great article on a really small and awesome utility!
    this is going to be precious in saving my lappy’s battery :)
    and thanks for giving the shortcuts in a zip at the end..u saved a lazy guy from lots of efforts :)

  61. jgilbert

    @Jon

    I also had the same problem with the monitors automatically turning back on within 5-6 seconds afterwards. I fixed this problem by modifying the code to: cmdwait 5000 monitor off
    This allows 5 seconds before it turns the monitor/s off. I have a wireless mouse that would continue to send signals to the pc up to at least 4 seconds after it detects last movement. So setting the command to 5000 or even 6000 should fix it for you. Hope this helps anyone else having problems.

  62. Samuel

    Nice utility but don’t work on windows 7 64 bit. Monitor automatically turns back. I tried the jgilbert tip but it didn’t help.

  63. FeStealth

    The problem I’m having is that the monitor shuts off for a couple of minutes and then suddenly the monitor goes back on.

  64. Senior Carder

    For Computer to shut town…Press Windows + U+U

  65. semfa

    Thanks, it’s a great tool!
    I also noticed that for me, in vista, to make monitor off + lock ws a simple bat with:

    @echo off
    %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe %windir%\system32\user32.dll,LockWorkStation
    “C:\Program Files\Program_usr\nircmd\nircmd.exe” cmdwait 1000 monitor off

    seams to work.

  66. Peppino

    The power button on my monitor is broken, so this utility really helps, thanks!

    For Windows 64-bit users who have the problem of the monitor automatically turning back on, use the 64-bit version of NirCmd and the monitor will stay off until you move the mouse or press a key on the keyboard.

  67. Jeff

    I searched out this tip, because I’m often times running on battery power, and need to update some notes, then cut off the screen to save energy, then type more notes a few minutes later, then cut off the screen again.. and so on.

    This is 100x lot easier (and less distracting) than shutting the lid every time.

    Thanks.

  68. D

    Thanks a bunch. I need it because I am using windows 7 on an iMac through bootcamp and the so the monitor does not have its own power button.

  69. dewwex

    i still have same problem as FeStealth who posted on 24th Feb 2011. I using xp. and when i playing music either through say youtube or media player monitor will turn back on after 2 minutes or so. Does anyone know what the issue could be, and how to fix?

    Thanks

  70. Kzd_17

    I likes this
    Turn off the the monitor by the the power button would switch off the monitor but ur video card still keeps running and uses power, smtimes a lot of it. This is good to keep ur video cards life longer (may be a bit)

  71. Alex

    Wonderful! I have an all-in-one computer without a monitor off switch, and I’ve been having to turn my computer off for a long time and only inconveniencing myself in most of those situations.

  72. ender

    i want to kiss you :) thank you very very much… wonderfulll

  73. eddi hughes

    The link to download LockAndPowerDown.zip is broken… Please fix.

  74. me

    Thanks for sharing this. I am using it to shut down and wake up a remote lcd tv used as a PowerPoint display monitor which is connected to a windows7 pc.

  75. Dibbler , Guk

    Here’s a good one.. Spent some time tweaking it though.. chp.exe makes sure you don’t see anything .

    1 line:

    C:\Users\zebulon\Documents\Tools\chp.exe C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c start /low /min C:\Users\zebulon\Documents\Tools\psexec.exe \\192.168.1.209 -c -f -i C:\Users\zebulon\Documents\Tools\nircmd.exe monitor off

    I use this to turn off my screens on multiple computers in my lan using a logitech G type keyboard. It’s very handy together with multiplicity.

    Now give me all your stuff.

  76. Dibbler , Guk

    EDIT:
    You can find CHP here (create hidden process)
    http://www.commandline.co.uk/chp/

    psexec here :
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897553

    Also it would be intuitive to use nircmdc but don’t , it pops up an ugly black dos box on the target computer which nircmd doesn’t. CHP prevents it from popping up on the source.

    since multiplicity doesn’t recognize the device that the logitech G keyboards use for extra keys as being a keyboard .. it doesn’t get “moved” along with keyboard and mouse when moving across computers.. in this case it makes for a handy feature.

    I’m sure this command line can be handy in other circumstances as well..

    Also , I just pasted my shortcut , you’ll have to adapt it to work from the maps you have your programs stored.. unless your name is zebulon and have it stored in a map called tools .. <.<

    _

  77. Dibbler , Guk

    EDIT2:

    To make sure the computer you are running remote commands on responds quickly , add this o the firewall rules on the destination computers : (use common sense for tabs not shown)
    pic:
    http://users.skynet.be/bk318745/targetcomp.png

    Ah yes .. You will need drives mapped from the target computers on the computer are running the command from. Or you will need to be logged into them . Or you will need to specify a username and password for psexec …

    ……………..xec.exe \\192.168.1.216 -u USERNAME -P PASSWORD-c -f -i C:\Us……………..

    I think I have it all covered now .. Sorry for turning this into a multi part :) It’s been ages since I set this up , and the bumps I encountered are knocking on the back of my mind , so I added them .

  78. Niyon S V

    Thank you very much for this post and for this wonderful software.

    I’m using windows 7. Each time i turn off the monitor by double clicking the icon, a new nircmd.exe process is opened in the process tab of Task Manager.

    Does it happens for everyone?

    plz reply.

  79. Dibbler , Guk

    @ Niyon S V

    For me it starts and closes.
    Try it from a command prompt and see if the program exits when done. If not it should give an error.

  80. Kate

    working great, except turns off my HDMI connection.

    My use is this: Start up a podcast and use the HDMI connect to listen through my receiver, thus get to use my good speakers. When I use this tool to turn off the monitor (it’s too bright and distracting) it unfortunately turns off the HDMI connection and the sounds comes through my awful laptop speakers.

    Does anyone know a command to keep the HDMI connection and not have that be “turned off” along with the monitor off command? Thanks in advance — kate

  81. Dhruv

    Wow! It really works. I am using Windows 7, I can’t seem to get it to work in Power Options (Control Panel). Thanks a lot.

  82. Jeff

    Hi,

    Finally find this.
    I bought an all-in-one PC and struggling to find how to turn off the monitor.

    a qurestion, such all-in-one PC does not have monitor power switch, how do I turn it on later??

    Thanks.
    Jeff

  83. James

    This is awesome, whenever i hit the power button on my notebook it would turn off the screen but i couldnt keep listening to my music, thanks

  84. John

    Hi!

    My problem is that, it is just a monitor turn off button, but it doesn’t really turn off the monitor, cos if i mouve the mouse or press a button, monitor will turn on. I want it to turn on just when i press the F6 (it’s the shortkey, to this turn off button) again. How can is solve this problem?

    Thank in advance!

    Johnny

  85. hello

    can somebody send me the file LockAndPowerDown.exe…??
    or kindly please fix the link above because it’s not working….
    Thanks…

  86. Gary

    Kate,

    I am having the same issue you spoke about on May 29th. I have my TV connected to my computer through an HDMI cable and would like to be able to listen to music through my TV without having the monitor image showing on my TV set. I haven’t tried this yet, but I was thinking that what might work is to use this utility to go to screensaver instead of turning the monitor (and HDMI connection) off and then setting screensaver to a blank screen. Just a thought but it might be worth trying.

  87. Pallomat

    The link for the LockAnd PowerDown.exe isnt working anymore (i know its not the newest thread)
    could anyone be so kind to renew the link?

  88. Charlie

    NirCmd also doubles as a handy extinguisher in Porn Emergencies:
    nircmd.exe killprocess iexplore.exe

    (when your porn site generates a hundred popup ads and new windows every time you close one)

  89. Hafiz Waleed Hussain

    AOA
    The permanent solution is that if you on auto-hide-taskbar, please off and than use, the off screen problem is solve.

  90. Jake

    In Windows 7 you can press the Windows key and P to get options that allow you to disable/reenable monitors. Simpler approach.

  91. sashiel

    thanks, just what I needed

  92. Zodoz

    @Jake – thanks man, works like a charm!

    The nicmd thing is kind of cool too, but it turned both TV and monitor off, and OP never responds so I guess this is dead.

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