How To Close Laptop And Use External Monitor For Display On Windows 10/11

While it is not always necessary to run laptop with lid closed and connect it to an external monitor screen, in most of the cases, the laptop is connected to the external monitor when closing the lid.

Laptop Lid Closed Connection

While it is not always necessary to run laptop with lid closed and connect it to an external monitor screen, in most cases, the laptop is connected to the external monitor when closing the lid. In this article, we will discuss two things:

  1. How to connect the laptop to an external monitor along with audio output
  2. How to close laptop and use external monitor

When we connect to an external display, we normally use the external display as an extension to the laptop LCD. If it is not required and we only use an external display, it would be better to close the laptop lid to save power and extend the laptop battery.

Also check how to fix battery draining fast when the laptop lid is closed.

How to close laptop lid and use monitor without going to sleep or hibernate

After connecting your Windows laptop with the monitor, you would want to close the lid of your laptop but not let it shutdown as it will stop displaying everything on the monitor and furthermore it also helps you to save some battery on your laptop.

There are multiple ways to configure laptop lid settings. We will discuss three ways here. Please note that all the methods discussed below can be used for Windows 11 and Windows 10 and even Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

How to close your laptop lid and use a monitor (Power Options)

You can configure the laptop lid close action settings in Power Options. Here’s how to use a monitor with your laptop closed:

  1. Open Control Panel, go to Hardware and Sound and select Power Options.
    How To Close Laptop And Use External Monitor For Display On Windows 10/11 1
  2. From the left hand menu, select “Choose what closing the lid does”. Power options for lid closing open.
  3. In the drop down options of “when I close the lid” select “Do nothing”.
    How To Close Laptop And Use External Monitor For Display On Windows 10/11 2
  4. Click Save changes button.

Now you can close the lid and still the display on the external display won’t be disturbed and the system keeps on running. This is the easiest way to run a laptop with lid closed.

Once this setting is configured, your monitor will not shut off when you close the laptop lid. The laptop will not go to sleep when you close its lid.

Step by step instructions to close laptop and work on monitor

How to close your laptop lid and use a monitor (Command Line)

You can also set the lid close action to “do nothing” using Command Prompt. Here’s the command to set lid close action for using an external monitor:

Open cmd and run the following command if your laptop is plugged into the power socket.

powercfg /setacvalueindex scheme_current sub_buttons lidaction 0

Run the following command if your laptop is not charging (running on battery)

powercfg /setdcvalueindex scheme_current sub_buttons lidaction 0

You may change the integer value at the end of the command to the following for the associated action:

  • 0 – Do nothing
  • 1 – Sleep
  • 2 – Hibernate
  • 3 – Shut down

Configure lid close action settings using a script

You can also use a pre-configured script to change the actions for closing your laptop’s lid instantaneously. The script was created and then shared on Microsoft Technet Gallery for the public to use.

This is especially useful for the people who frequently like to change between their settings, such as sometimes putting their computer to sleep by closing their lids and sometimes letting it run.

  1. Download the script and place the file in a location you can easily access using Command Prompt.
  2. Open Command Prompt as an Administrator and change the directory to where the script is placed.
  3. Now enter either of the commands to change the action to close the lid:
    1. To configure the action to “do nothing” upon closing the lid, enter:
      lid on
      lid on
    2. To configure the action to “Sleep” upon closing the lid, enter:
      lid off
      lid off

Here are a few more settings related to laptop lid closing action:

  1. Connect the laptop to an external monitor
  2. Change display settings to enable 2nd display
  3. Adjust audio settings according to the second screen monitor

Connect laptop to monitor as external display

To connect your laptop with the screen you need to have a cable that connects the laptop with the external monitor, this cable is called an HDMI cable. While you can also use other means to connect to an external display like VGA, DisplayPort and DVI port, HDMI is the most used digital port of all.

HDMI external port - Male
HDMI External Port – Male

Both the monitor and the laptop need HDMI connector port. Just insert one side in your laptop and the other into the monitor and everything on your laptop is now displayed on the monitor as well.

HDMI port - Female
HDMI port – Female

Change Display Settings to enable second display

To make changes to the display, press Windows Key + P that will open the Project menu. You will see four options:

  1. PC Screen only
  2. Duplicate
  3. Extend
  4. Second screen only

All options are pretty self-explanatory. To connect to an external display and turn off the laptop display, you will select the fourth option “Second screen only”.

Laptop screen is always the primary screen by default. It will be disabled when the second screen only option is selected.

Project to additional screen in Windows 10
Project an additional screen in Windows 10

Adjust the audio output settings for external monitor

The advantage of using HDMI is that you can also stream audio through the monitor device. For example, if you are connecting an LED TV, it will have the capability of streaming audio in addition to video from the laptop. Just follow the steps below to enable audio through HDMI device.

  1. Right-click the speaker icon on the task bar
  2. Select playback devices and a small window will appear with sound options
  3. Select  Digital Audio HDMI
  4. Right click and click on set default.

Now you will get the sound from the monitor if it has a speaker or an audio/video peripheral.

Volume Mixer
Volume Mixer

You can also extend and use the second laptop screen as a monitor in Windows 10.

For me this option is very useful as I keep my laptop running all the time. I have selected to do nothing when I close the lid while the laptop is connected to the power source. This helps me save power as well as use external monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse.

One thing to note here is that if you restart your Windows computer, it will detect and activate the primary screen which is the laptop screen. The secondary screen will automatically get activated and the laptop screen will be turned off on the logon screen. So if you have a broken laptop screen, it will be difficult to start the computer as the laptop will always detect its own LCD as the primary display and will try to activate it until the system is fully booted.

What do you do when you want to run the laptop with lid closed?

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31 Comments

  1. Charlie Arehart says:

    Thanks for the post and for continuing to answer questions from folks a couple years on. I have a challenge that is the reverse of what this discusses, and I’ve not been able to find an answer. So I wonder if you or anyone else here may have one.

    i am finding that if I have my laptop connected to an external monitor (set as “extended”), when I close the lid on the laptop, what was on the laptop screen switches to the external monitor. I do NOT want it to do that–so it’s the opposite of what you are proposing. (I want to be able to close the laptop to work on another–which is NOT connected to the external display. Let’s say one is for work and one for personal use.)

    FWIW, I DO have have the “close lid” setting set to “do nothing” when “plugged in” (and yes, the laptop is plugged in). That is indeed what I want, regarding POWER. But there is nothing about how closing the lid controls the display. This is on Windows 10 21H1. Thanks in advance for any thoughts on solving this, from anyone.

  2. Hardik Arora says:

    So when I keep both my monitor and laptop open the windows taskbar and the tab bar (don’t know what it is technically called) on chrome are zoomed in. However, the moment I close the lid of my laptop and start working just on the monitor, the display refreshes and everything seems zoomed out. How do I fix this?

  3. Martin gavelin says:

    i dont see no comments about waking up, with lid closed.
    as i see it, having the laptop stuffed away under the worktable, external keys, monitor and sound, is awesome. but what if i want to turn the computer off. and be able to start it up again – lets say, going away for a few weeks, coming back.
    depending up setup, opening the laptop up to restart, can be a hassle, getting it out from under the table, with all cables fixed neatly underneath…

    im trying the “usb wake up ” in bios settings, but my keyboard and mouse is wireless, (and i dont fully understand the settings, i guess)
    i need that first initial usb- wake up.

    any tips n trix for this?

    1. You can try using Autostart on power on in the BIOS settings. If you want to go out, just plug the power cable out of socket. When you return, plug it in and the system should start automatically. This setting is not available in all systems.

  4. Interestingly, the one thing that is not all that straight forward but still works is when you do Windows P and select “second screen only” that option actually means…”all monitors other then the laptop monitor” I have multiple monitors connected and (thankfully) when i select “second screen only” it turns off monitor 1 but keeps on all the other monitors.

    but the instructions here are exactly correct.

  5. I disconnected the lid of the laptop and connected VGA to a monitor, now laptop doesn’t power on.

    1. How did you disconnect the laptop lid? The LED screen will always be the primary display when booting the laptop.

  6. my laptop keeps shut down after 9 minutes when connected to external monitor. I have set power settings to “NEVER” go to sleep and lid closing is set to “Do Nothing” but it keeps shutting down my laptop

    1. Please check your system event viewer logs and make sure it is not related to any hardware issues.

  7. Prabhu Kumar Chittoori says:

    I have changed power options but monitor still goes to sleep when I close laptop lid. I am using VGA connection

  8. Emilia Venturi says:

    Thank you soo much for these tips! I needed a bigger screen since my employer provided me with a small laptop to work from home. I really needed a bigger screen your tips really helped! Now I’m able to use the big monitor. So much better for my eyes.

  9. Thanks for the tips. this is very helpful.
    I am using HDMI to connect, but I don’t see the HDMI option under “sound” window.
    I also have power setting on “Do nothing when lid close”, but I found my laptop seems can’t remember this setting. It will shut off the screen randomly when I close the lid.

    1 last question, Can you help to show us how to do copy and paste after connected to extended monitor? I am not able to paste the full area i have selected in Excel after using the extended monitor, only see portion of the screen I have capture.

  10. This is exactly what I was looking for! It’s important to note that you need to select “Do Nothing” for the “On battery” section too. My screens were shutting down when I closed the lid which brought me here. Your instructions couldn’t be any simpler!

    Thanks!

  11. after using this however, I am unable to switch back to duplicating or extending displays on both my laptop screen and monitor. any idea why?

  12. Thanks for this page – my laptop at work wasn’t speaking to my monitors (randomly happened one day, no idea why), and after following your instructions, everything is copasthetic!

    Cheers!

  13. Ananymous says:

    I was doing this for a while, but now my computer is overheating and shutting down. I think on my laptop i may need to keep it open to help it breath, so I’ve been trying that and it seems to be working. Do you think that’s it?

  14. computer shuts off about 5 mins later after closing lid

    1. If you still have this issue you may want to look at your power and sleep settings. If not I have no clue.

    2. Are you leaving the computer idle for 5 minutes? And is it fully shutting down at around 5 minutes, or is it crashing? Amanda is right just have a look at your power and sleep settings for now, but if it’s anything but the computer going to sleep/hibernation after being idle, then I have no clue either.

  15. Betsy Kimball says:

    I have two external monitors and when I close the lid, one of the external monitors also shuts off. Suggestions to keep using both external monitors?

  16. Hi Liz
    I want to use external monitor to do gaming while close my laptop lid. Is it ok or it will harm my laptop

  17. Thank you so much. Easy to follow instructions!

  18. i’ve done all the steps above and when i close my lid nothing happens and my external monitor turns off same with my laptop

    1. Patrick Clarke says:

      I have the same issue. I’ve changed the settings as detailed above and my monitor still turns off when closing the lid of the laptop. I have changed the settings to ‘Do Nothing’ when closing the lid with and without plugged into power. Any ideas?

      1. Control Panel\System and Security\Power Options\Edit Plan Settings/Change advanced power settings
        From here expand on “Display …Turn off display after” and select NEVER on battery and plugged in

        Hope this helps
        Liz

        1. Thank you this worked, but for me it was the “Power buttons and lid” option which had it set to sleep if I closed the lid.

  19. This was amazingly easy and super duper HELPFUL! Thank you so much.

    1. Which port are you using to connect to the external monitor? VGA port will not transmit audio while HDMI will..

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