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Now that monitors are all fancy and digital, display manufacturers lost sight of the utility of the brightness knob. Of course I can go fiddle with the now-cumbersome digital brightness settings buried somewhere in the menus of each monitor, after I curse at my monitor because I hit the auto calibrate button by accident. Then onto the right-hand-side monitor. You get the idea.

Anyhow, is there any equivalent on a desktop PC to the proprietary key combinations laptop manufacturers use to quickly and easily adjust display brightness?

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I found this closely related question and answer, though it doesn't work for me (I'm running Windows 7 64-bit)

I think I just found the answer to my own question. Better solutions are welcome of course.

With the application Display Tuner I can set the brightness, contrast, color levels and speaker volume for my external monitor. Not the video card, my actual monitor. It allows me to set hotkeys for separate profiles, lives in the tray (notification area) and is free for non-commercial use. The main draw is that it only supports monitors that can be controlled through DDC.

Display Tuner screenshot

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