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This might be a weird request, but my googlefu has been weak. I want my Windows 7 desktop to dim after x minutes/seconds of being idle. I don't care if it's an actual SCR or an app that runs in the background or a hack that enables laptop settings.

I found one called AutoDimmer but on their site it says "XP/2000 ONLY", which I verified anyway... doesn't work.

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Just to clarify - the built in put-the-monitors-to-sleep isn't acceptable, you want it dim but lit? (The 'laptop settings' are specific to those LCD panels, you can't just dim a monitor LCD willy-nilly like that) –  Shinrai Oct 7 '11 at 16:10
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I came across a screensaver called Power Dimmer:

Power Dimmer is a Windows screen saver application that, once activated, will gradually dim your screen, fading it from full brightness to a final brightness level that you set. While the screen is dimmed, you can still see all of your windows, as well as any on-screen activity. Move the mouse or press a key and your screen will be restored to full brightness.

Although it says for Windows 200/XP only, I've just tried it out on my Windows 7 64bit desktop and it works fine for me.

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This is the exact one I tried, however upon trying it again I realize the default fade time is 180 seconds which is obviously 3 minutes... too long for me to notice in my impatient tests. Works great. Wish it faded back in, but that's obviously a limitation of the screensaver functionality. –  Scott Beeson Oct 7 '11 at 18:55
    
Yeah, I set mine to 5 seconds and 20% brightness –  Jerry Dodge Mar 31 at 7:48
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I do not believe this is something you can accomplish on a desktop computer. The monitor is a separate piece of hardware on a desktop, and not integrated like a laptop. If there was a way to do it, you will probably find it as a setting on your monitor and not via Windows.

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Laptop panels aren't any more integrated than desktop monitors -- they often use the same communication protocols and signaling systems (e.g. still using VGA/DVI/etc.), just with customized connectors for the tiny space. However, laptop panels are more likely to expose features via software (e.g. brightness/contrast) than desktop monitors, simply because there's less space for hardware buttons and features like auto-dimming are far more useful on portables. That doesn't mean that desktop panels can't support those features, they just often don't. –  afrazier Oct 7 '11 at 17:59
    
Apple's LCD monitors are prime examples of desktop monitors that have software controllable brightness built-in. –  afrazier Oct 7 '11 at 18:00
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