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The lowest setting in a Windows power plan under "Turn off the display" is "one minute". How do I set it for 30 seconds, 15 seconds, et cetera?

I found that the shortest idle duration time you can set in Task Scheduler is also one minute.

The power savings could be tremendous. :)

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All power-related timeout options are stored in the registry as minutes, so no, there is no way to set it to a time period less than 1. (0 disables the timeout).

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As mentioned, there's no way to set the timeout to less than one minute. You can hotkey this with Monitor Off Utility though.

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You could create a script that calls the user32.dll so that it turns the monitor off using autoit tools (or something else) and manually creates a timer for x number of seconds.

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Download and install Autohotkey from here:
Download a small utility called nircmd from here: Write this script:

Settimer, Idle, 100

if A_TimeIdlePhysical > <enter your screensaver trigger time in miliseconds> 
Run <path to nircmd>\nircmd.exe cmdwait 1000 monitor off

That should serve your purpose.
Don't forget to remove the < and > while inputting time and path to nircmd.

Another alternative:
Download a small utility called MonitorES from here:
I will turn off display and pause the music when you lock the PC.
The only problem is that you will need to lock your PC manually.

If you are a coder, you can develop your own utility to achieve this task.
Refer these links:

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Group Policy allows values in seconds. In Local Group Policy Editor check under:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Power Management > Video and Display Settings

Not sure what version of Windows you're asking about but I'm referencing Windows 7 Pro – Windows XP might also have similar Group Policy settings available

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