How to Run Your Laptop With the Lid Closed

Once you close the lid of your laptop, your laptop is forced into sleep mode: it stops all activities and lowers the battery power usage of your device. And while this is an excellent feature if you want to take a break and pause your activities without worrying about draining your battery to zero, it can cause issues in other situations.

The issue arises when you’ve closed your laptop lid while connected to an external monitor. If your laptop goes into sleep mode, your external monitor won’t reflect any visual elements that allow you to continue your work. So, the question of how to run your laptop with the lid closed arises – and this article aims to enable you to use your computer with your external monitor while you have the lid closed.

You can follow these steps if you have a Windows laptop or a Macbook or are connecting your computer to HDMI cables or a docking station.

The Benefits of Using An External Monitor

Using an external monitor is becoming increasingly popular nowadays as specific industries are moving towards remote work. It grants you more screen real estate to see more of your work without straining your eyes and offering a better ergonomic vantage point to sit better without injuring your back or neck.

And if you’re in a mainly focused and busy industry, owning a second monitor may also increase your productivity and allow you to multitask, like working on your next big project in one of your routine run-of-the-mill meetings. The best part about an external monitor is that you have a wide range of monitors depending on your budget, including a touchscreen laptop monitor or tablet.

If you have the budget and think you’ll benefit from using an external monitor, then it’s highly recommended you do so. But keep in mind that you’ll be faced with the same issue of having your laptop go to sleep when you close the lid; here’s how you can fix that:

How to Keep your Monitor On when your Laptop is Closed for Windows 11

With the introduction of Windows 11, there are numerous ways to ensure your monitor stays running when your laptop lid is closed. Below are the five most reliable settings you can easily change to achieve this in a matter of minutes. Best of all, you don’t need to be an expert laptop technician with performance testing tools to perform these steps – they’re easy to follow and show results. It’s as easy as removing stickers from your laptop.

Power Line Option

Often the easiest and quickest way to stop your laptop from automatically going to sleep mode when you close the lid is by changing the power options of your computer. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click Control Panel
  2. Select Hardware & Sound, and then open Windows Power Options.
  3. On the left panel of your screen, choose the option that says “Choosing what closing the lid does.”
  4. From there, in the drop-down menu for closing the lid, select the “Do Nothing” option.
  5. Save your changes.

Now test it out! If you close the lid of your laptop, you should immediately notice that your external monitor doesn’t go to the black screen it otherwise would have. This simple and easy solution should work for all laptops that run on the Windows 11 operation system. If it doesn’t work for you, then consider using one of the other methods outlined here.

Command Line

The Command Prompt is your direct access to the programs and code of your operating system. By accessing the command prompt, it’s easy to change the preferences of your laptop so it doesn’t go into sleep mode when you use an external monitor. Want to know how? Follow these steps:

  1. Start by ensuring your laptop is plugged into its power source, and there’s no chance of it entering low-power mode.
  2. Launch your Command prompt by entering “CMD” into your search bar and enter the following prompt into the command window: “powercfg /setacvalueindex scheme_current sub_buttons lidaction 0.”
  3. This will give you a list of integers to choose from, which you’ll select zero for. Zero opts for your laptop not to do anything once you’ve closed the computer lid.

Once again, you can test if this has worked by restarting your computer, closing the lid of your laptop and seeing if the external display that you’re using is still running. At any point in time, you can change the settings in your Command Prompt back to what it was before.

  • Changing the integer to 1 will make your laptop go to sleep when you close the lid.
  • 2 changes it to Hibernate instead, which is distinctly different from sleep.
  • Finally, you can change it to 3, which will cause your laptop to Shut Down – which we don’t recommend.

Power Shell

Powershell is another way to interact with your Windows operating system and choose system preferences that will allow you to continue with the external monitor connected to your laptop without worrying about your laptop screen lid.

  1. Open Windows Powershell as an administrator.
  2. Once Windows Powershell is open, enter the following command code to see the current power settings of your laptop: “powerconfig -list”
  3. Then, once you’ve found the GUID of your power plan, you can modify it by running the following command plan: “powercfg -setdcvalueindex <GUID> SUB_BUTTONS LIDACTION <value>.” You’ll want to replace the “<GUID>” with the GUID of your specific power plan and “<value>” with the value you wish your lid settings to adhere to. The situation is similar to when you used your command prompt method – 0 is Nothing, 1 is Sleep, 2 is Hibernate, and 3 is Shut Down.
  4. Finally, once you’ve modified that command, enter the following code to activate it: “powercfg -set active <GUID>.” Again, “<GUID>” is the specific power plan of your laptop.

Group Policy Editor

While using the Group Policy Editor is less intuitive compared to the other power options and other open system preferences, it is the go-to for power users and for stopping the laptop’s lid for multiple connected laptops from going into sleep mode. Here’s how you can configure various settings for Group Policy Editor:

  1. Open your Group Policy Editor. You can run it by typing gpedit.msc.
  2. You’ll need to navigate the Group Policy Editor by moving from your Computer Configuration to Administrative Templates, then Systems, Power Management, and Button Settings.
  3. In the right pane (right, not left pane) and then click on the “Lid Switch Action” policy.
  4. Once you’ve selected the “Enable” option, you can choose the option that you want your laptop closed lid to follow.
  5. Finally, click apply and then save changes. Remember that you’ll need to restart your computer for the effects to occur.

How to Close Laptop and Use Monitor on Mac

Let’s switch the focus from Windows laptops to Macbooks instead. Here’s how you can change the settings on your Macbook to stop your Mac from shutting off when it closes:

  1. On the top left corner of your Mac, select the Apple Icon.
  2. Then head over to the System Preferences of your Mac and choose the Battery Icon.
  3. Select a Power Adapter Tab that sits on the rear side of the screen. Shift the slider to “Never.”
  4. An option in these settings reads, “Prevent your Macbook from automatically sleeping when the display is off.” Check this box.
  5. At this point, if you close your Mac’s primary display and use the external monitors that are connected to the Mac. It’s as easy as that!

Using your Macbook for gaming is a better experience if you have a bigger screen, so acquiring a second display is essential if you plan to optimize your device for gaming.

How to Close Laptop and Use monitor using HDMI cable

If you don’t want to mess with your settings, you can always connect your gaming laptop to an external monitor using an HDMI cable and then use your external monitor on Windows instead. Here are the preliminary steps you should take before you set yourself up:

  1. Before you open your device’s settings and system preferences, you’ll need to connect your two monitors using your HDMI.
  2. From there, click Start Menu and then Control Panel on your laptop.
  3. From there, select Hardware & Sound settings.
  4. Choose Power Options, or you can alternatively right-click on the battery icon in your taskbar.
  5. Then, and you may be familiar with this stop, click the “Choose what happens to the lid when it closes” and choose Do Nothing.
  6. Finally, save your changes, and you should be set!

Frequently Asked Questions

That’s all you need to know about using your external monitor without worrying about your laptop shutting down. That being said, if you still have some unanswered questions about your laptop sleeping automatically, feel free to peruse the frequently asked questions from all over the web.

Alternatively, if your laptop works well with its external monitor, check out our other articles, including the best ways to use a tablet for business or how to speed up your slow tablet.

How do I connect my laptop to a monitor?

There are three significant ways to connect your laptop to your monitor:

  • An HDMI Cable
  • USB-C Cable
  • Display Port

Should I leave the laptop plugged into the docking station?

You can leave your laptop connected to your docking station – especially if you have a modern laptop. While many older laptops have their battery recharge and discharge cycle disturbed by constantly being connected to their docking station, modern laptops don’t suffer from this same issue.

So feel free to leave your laptop connected to your docking station.

How can I close my laptop and keep my monitor on?

For most laptops, you can find an option under the Power and Sleep settings that also cover the laptop lid settings. At the bottom of these settings, there should be a setting that says, “What happens when laptop lid closes” or a similar line of text. Choose the “Do Nothing” option and save changes.


Changing your settings to close the lid of your laptop while still using an external monitor is a neat trick that will enable you to improve your productivity and increase your screen real estate without worrying about keeping your desk space cluttered. Once you change over to keeping your laptop lid closed, you’ll never return to how it was before.

If you enjoyed reading our articles, then read about the best way to manually charge your laptop battery or fix your GPU fan not spinning.