A plugged in, partially closed PC laptop.
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Are you tired of your laptop automatically going to sleep when you shut its lid? Here’s how you can make your laptop do what you want it to do when you’re done with it.

By default, most laptops automatically go into sleep mode when you close the lid. This is usually great, as most of us shut our laptops, throw them into our bags, and then expect them to be running in an instant when we get them back out at the next stop. Sometimes, though, you might want to leave your laptop running while the lid is shut.

Warning: Do not put your laptop in its bag while it’s running! It will almost certainly overheat.

Windows 10: Choose Your Laptop’s Lid-Close Action

To change what your laptop does when you close it, you’ll need to visit the Power Options window in the classic Control Panel. You can access it in two different ways:

  • Head to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options.
  • Head to Settings > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings. The “Additional power settings” link appears below “Related settings” at the bottom of the pane. (You can press Windows+i to quickly open the Settings app.)

Opening additional power settings from Windows 10's Settings app

Click “Choose what closing the lid does” at the left side of the Power Options window.

Launching the "Choose what closing the lid does" settings from Power Options

Change the options to the right of “When I close the lid.” You can select “Do nothing,” “Sleep,” “Hibernate,” or “Shut down.” There are separate options for “On battery” and “Plugged in.”

In Sleep, the laptop will remain in a low-power state so it can quickly resume. In Hibernate, the laptop will save its state to disk. It won’t consume any power while hibernating, but turning it back on will take some extra time. (Note that hibernating itself takes some power—so, if you frequently close and reopen your laptop, setting it to hibernate each time might even use more power than setting it to sleep.)

For example, if you want your laptop to go to sleep when you close it on battery power, but to keep running when you close the lid while it’s plugged in, select “Do nothing” under “Plugged in” and “Sleep” under “On battery.”

Changing what Windows 10 does when you close your laptop's lid on battery and while plugged in.

RELATED: Should You Shut Down, Sleep, or Hibernate Your Laptop?

Click “Save changes” at the bottom of the window to save your changes when you’re done.

Saving laptop lid-closing options in Windows 10's Control Panel.

Even after you set your laptop to sleep when it’s closed, Windows will automatically hibernate the laptop after a period of time in Sleep mode. You can configure this from Windows 10’s advanced power settings.

RELATED: How to Make Windows Hibernate More Often (Instead of Sleep)

Windows 7: Make Your Laptop Work Like You Want

Thankfully, it’s easy to change the settings.  Simply click the battery icon in your system tray, and select More power options.

Alternately, you can open the Power Options window directly from your Start Menu search.

In the Power Options window that opens, click the Choose what closing the lid does link on the left sidebar.

Here you can choose what your power buttons do on your computer, as well as what happens when you shut the lid. You can select to Do nothing, Sleep, Hibernate, or Shut down. In general, Sleep is a good option, but if you want to leave your laptop running, select Do nothing.

Note that you can change the settings for both On battery and Plugged in, so your laptop will work differently when you’re using mobile versus when you’re plugged in at your desk. Since we usually would only want to leave our laptop running when it’s plugged in, we set ours to still go to sleep when it’s on battery power but to do nothing when you close the lid while it’s plugged in. Very handy.

Underneath you’ll notice a couple more settings, though they’re protected by default. Click Change settings that are currently unavailable to change them.

Now you can choose whether or not you want your computer to require the password when it wakes from sleep mode.

Once you’re done, click Save at the bottom to start using your new settings. If you want to switch back when you’re on the move again, just repeat the steps and set it as you like. Now you’re in full control of what happens when you close your laptop.


We’ve been frustrated countless times by shutting our laptop lids and forgetting that this automatically put them into sleep mode. Sleep mode works great in Windows 7, but sometimes you want your machine to keep running, so this is a great way to do that. Or, if you prefer to have your computer automatically shut down or hibernate when you close the lid, you can do that too. Since you can set the plugged in settings different from the on battery settings, you should be able to make your settings work for any scenario.

If you’d like more info about power management in Windows 7, check out some of our other articles:

Matthew Guay
Matthew Guay is a veteran app reviewer and technology tip writer. His work has appeared on Zapier's blog, AppStorm, Envato Tuts+, and his own blog, Techinch.
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Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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