How to Close Your Laptop and Use an External Monitor on Windows 10

How to keep a monitor on when your Windows laptop is closed

What to Know

  • On Windows 10, right-click the Battery icon > Power Options > Choose what closing the lid does.
  • Select Do Nothing under Plugged in. Choosing Do nothing for On battery means the laptop will still run even if you disconnect it.
  • Mac users can access a closed-display mode that automatically kicks in when your laptop is plugged in and connected to a monitor.

This article explains how to keep your Windows 10 laptop on even when it's closed.

How to Keep Your Windows Laptop On When It's Closed

Windows puts your laptop into a power-saving mode when you close the lid, which usually means that your computer will power down when you close the lid, even when an external display is connected. To prevent this, you need to tell the computer not to go into low power mode.

  1. Right-click the Battery icon in the lower right-hand corner of your desktop.

    If you cannot locate the battery icon, click the arrow that points up (Show Hidden Icons) to reveal more icons. If it's not visible on the desktop, the battery icon will be there.

    Right click the battery icon in the system tray.
  2. Click Power Options.

    Click Power options in the system tray.
  3. Click Choose what closing the lid does.

    Click Choose what to do when lid is closed.
  4. There are two categories here: On Battery and Plugged in. Under each column, select the drop down box to choose what happens when you close the lid.

    Choose the drop down menu and select do nothing.
  5. Select Do Nothing for one or both columns, depending on your needs.

    Screenshot of selecting "Do nothing" so when you close the lid of your laptop, it doesn't go into sleep mode.

Going forward when you close the lid the computer will continue to run, and will not disconnect from your monitor.

Warnings About Keeping Your Laptop on When Closed

First and foremost, if you choose Do nothing under the On battery category, that is fraught with risk. When you close the lid and toss the computer in a bag, it will continue to run and it can get very hot. Increased heat can damage your computer. It's vital that when you are not using the computer, to press the power button and put the computer to sleep.

Also, depending on the monitor you're using, your laptop may be powering the monitor as well, which can drain your battery a lot more quickly. For this reason, you can choose different settings for when your laptop is on battery and when it's plugged in. Chances are if you're using an external monitor, you're probably near a power source, so it may be a good idea to only change the close lid behavior when your computer is plugged in.