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Is there a way to close the MacBook lid and keep the web sharing running? I want to use the files on the MacBook, using other machines.

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When you close the lid, the Macbook enters in stop mode, which shuts down the network interfaces.
I think that you can keep it "awake" when closed if you attach an external monitor and a mouse.

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Nope. See my answer :) – Konzepz Dec 10 '09 at 17:11
@Konzepz: That requires a fairly new Mac and an Airport Extreme/Time Capsule. Glad it works for you, but I still think this answer is better as it will work for more users. – Kyle Cronin Dec 10 '09 at 17:42
Davide's answer is perfectly correct, and is probably easier. You don't even need a mouse, just the external display. – Lawrence Velázquez Dec 13 '09 at 7:49

Check the power saving settings and configure the machine not to sleep when closed.

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That doesn't affect the closed lid -- which makes any portable computer to sleep. – Konzepz Dec 10 '09 at 17:10
All Windows-based laptops can be made to continue to run even when the lid is closed. I'm pretty sure this is possible on OS X too. – Cecil Has a Name Dec 10 '09 at 17:37
It's not possible to configure a stock Mac to stop sleeping on lid close. However, there is software that will do that: – Kyle Cronin Dec 10 '09 at 17:43
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The Snow Leopard feature is called Wake on Demand.

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Break off the wire for the Reed Switch (Or whatever it's called in the new Macs) like I did when I was replacing my iBook hard-drive. Close the lid and walk away!

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I use my MacBook all day long with the lid closed and an external monitor, bluetooth mouse and keyboard and use web sharing, etc. Shut the lid and let it sleep, then plug in the keyboard (and/or monitor) and it wakes.

If you're not going to use an external monitor, I'd turn the display brightness all the way down, as the screen will be on when the lid is closed.

In my experience, uncheck "Wake with Bluetooth", as bluetooth can keep it from first going to sleep in order to wake it back up with the lid closed, and also keep it from sleeping when you do want it to sleep when not in use.

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