59

I want to be able to 'put the display to sleep' on one of my two monitors when it isn't needed, so it doesn't distract me or use unnecessary power.

Ideally, the display would be asleep, but the OS would remain in dual-monitor mode, so I could still have a variety of windows open in the sleeping monitor's display space, which would mean I wouldn't have to keep switching between single- and dual-monitor modes.

That said, I'd also consider a solution that made it easy to toggle between single- and dual-monitor modes without navigating several system menus.

9
  • 2
    When you say 'not manually' you mean 'without physically powering off the monitor'?
    – Shinrai
    Apr 8 '11 at 21:48
  • So you want it to do it automatically? Like actually shut the monitor off or just stop displaying to it so it goes to sleep? Also there needs to be some kind of condition for this to happen it won't just magically turn off when you think your ready for one to shut down. Could you please provide some more details? Apr 8 '11 at 21:49
  • 1
    Using Nircmd (nirsoft.net/utils/nircmd.html) you can turn off a monitor via command line (but I do not tested with a desktop, only with a laptop). But I don't know how to change monitors with a command line or to choose only one to turn off. I also think if you only switch from 2-monitors to 1-monitor (like hitting fn+f4 from a laptop) the screen with no signal will enter in a standby mode after some time ("almost" turned off).
    – kokbira
    Apr 8 '11 at 23:37
  • Wizmo (grc.com/wizmo/wizmo.htm) also has a way to turn off all monitors...
    – kokbira
    Apr 8 '11 at 23:42
  • 2
    :( 2017 - none of the 8 answers here is answering the question -> make one of the monitors sleep but keeping it connected for OS.
    – icl7126
    Feb 9 '17 at 15:27

13 Answers 13

50

Press Windows + P - you will be prompted to choose your display mode from single, extend, etc and so can be used to disable your secondary monitor.

I see you wanted to keep your open windows; this still keeps them open, but it does bring them all to one display if you enable single monitor mode. However at least this approach will let you shut down the second glowing distraction when it is not in use.

5
  • I recently switched jobs and no longer have two monitors, so I can't test this. If someone else confirms that this works, I'll choose it as the answer, since it requires no additional software.
    – Stew
    Oct 14 '11 at 15:50
  • Pressing windows+p on my Lenovo does nothing. In the case of this laptop FN-f7 does that. Not sure the windows+p is standard. Nov 14 '11 at 15:27
  • 2
    i can confirm that this indeed works as said in the answer here. win + p and then you can choose between computer only, duplicate, extend and projector only modes.
    – b0x0rz
    Dec 24 '11 at 9:04
  • 7
    Why is this answer accepted? It does not answer the question (switch off monitor, but keep windows on their positions). P.S. I think it depends on the used monitor. My Asus PB328Q can be switched off through the menu buttons and windows still show them as active monitors.
    – mgutt
    Dec 6 '16 at 23:00
  • It not only works, it works via LogMeIn remote! Awesome.
    – Stephen R
    Jul 21 '17 at 14:24
8

This post is a bit old but I ran into a similar issue. I can turn on my PC/media player/lights remotely but my 27" computer display throws a distracting glow across the room. In order to maximize my laziness I created a simple Java app to blacken the display (which I can launch remotely using other tools).

Below is the java code that I have tested on Windows 7. It takes a single argument 0 to max display-1. For example: java -jar Dimmer.jar 1 will blacken my second monitor, no arguments will assume display 0

import java.awt.BorderLayout;
import java.awt.Color;
import java.awt.GraphicsDevice;
import java.awt.GraphicsEnvironment;
import java.awt.Rectangle;
import java.awt.event.ActionEvent;
import java.awt.event.ActionListener;

import javax.swing.BorderFactory;
import javax.swing.JButton;
import javax.swing.JWindow;
import javax.swing.UIManager;

public class Dimmer extends JWindow
{
   private static final long serialVersionUID = 3493635987367217622L;

   private final int _screen;

   public Dimmer ()
   {
      this(0);
   }

   public Dimmer (int screen)
   {
      super();
      _screen = screen;

      {
         final JButton button = new JButton("click to exit");
         button.setForeground(Color.gray);
         button.setOpaque(false);
         button.setContentAreaFilled(false);
         button.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEmptyBorder());
         button.addActionListener(new ActionListener()
         {
            @Override
            public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent arg0)
            {
               System.exit(0);
            }
         });
         add(button, BorderLayout.CENTER);
      }
      setAlwaysOnTop(true);
   }

   public void begin()
   {
      GraphicsDevice gda[] = GraphicsEnvironment.getLocalGraphicsEnvironment().getScreenDevices();
      GraphicsDevice gd = gda[_screen];
      getContentPane().setBackground(Color.black);

      for (GraphicsDevice gdTmp : gda)
      {
         System.out.print( (gd == gdTmp) ? "->" : "  ");
         System.out.println( 
                "Screen(" + gdTmp.getDefaultConfiguration().getDevice().getIDstring() +")"
                +" "+ gdTmp.getDefaultConfiguration().getBounds() );
      }

      Rectangle bounds = gd.getDefaultConfiguration().getBounds();
      setLocation(bounds.getLocation());
      setSize(bounds.getSize());

      validate();
      setVisible(true);
   }

   /**
    * @param args
    * @throws Exception 
    */
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception
   {
      UIManager.setLookAndFeel(UIManager.getSystemLookAndFeelClassName());
      Dimmer dimmer = new Dimmer(args.length == 1 ? Integer.valueOf(args[0]) : 0);
      dimmer.begin();
   }

}
4
  • 7
    but it does not put it to sleep!
    – HackToHell
    Jan 12 '13 at 11:05
  • "Sleep" is in quotes, it's not the windows sleep mode. This little app fulfills the goal "do not distract" so it's a valid answer. And it does not rearrange your open windows, as the most popular answer does ;)
    – denispyr
    Aug 13 '14 at 14:38
  • supaflav would you mind sharing the jar file? I have no clue what to do with the raw code :)
    – Zalmy
    Jan 13 '15 at 17:00
  • 3
    @Zalmy: Install JDK, make sure the path variable is set. Save the above to a textfile called Dimmer.java, in your command prompt execute javac Dimmer.java, jar -cf Dimmer.jar Dimmer.class Dimmer$1.class, and use it with java -cp Dimmer.jar Dimmer
    – Patrick
    Jan 18 '16 at 15:14
7

Another option is the Nirsoft Multi Monitor tool: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/multi_monitor_tool.html

You could create two batch files - one to disable display X, the other to enable. For example:

MultiMonitorTool.exe /disable 5

and

MultiMonitorTool.exe /enable 5

To find the display numbers open up MultiMonitorTool.exe, right click on the display, and visit properties.

1
  • A drawback to this solution (like the windows-p option) is that all windows get dumped back on the main display. However, there is also a /switchoffon command that will actually power cycle the display, which leaves everything intact, albeit with a slight warmup for the monitor to come back on later. (I've tried the fullscreen black overlay program route too, but that still consumes full power and can look bad on a screen with lots of edge-bleed.) Dec 5 '19 at 15:19
2

I was looking to do the same exact thing. I have a 42" HDTV as my primary monitor and just set up my 24" Samsung as my secondary monitor off to my left side but when I watch a movie or play a game it can be distracting to have it sitting there glowing.

Just found the solution, Ultramon. You can get it here http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/

There are other software apps that work similarly but I haven't tried those. With Ultramon the solution is simple, you can rightclick on the Ultramon icon in your taskbar to see a predefined list of actions. One of those actions is "Disable Secondary". You can either just select it from there or map a key combo to it (which is what I did) and now you have the ability to just turn off your secondary monitor with a click, or combo key press. This effectively allows you to switch from dual display mode to single and back again immediately. My second monitor just blacks out into power saving mode when I use my key combo and restores when I activate dual display with the same key combo when I am ready to use it again.

Works perfectly.

3
  • 1
    UltraMon rocks. :) Jul 16 '11 at 15:30
  • 10
    This does exactly what Win-P does. Perhaps Win-P is more intuitive and faster than right-clicking Ultramon and selecting "Disable Secondary". It doesn't do what the original asker asked for, which is to just turn off one monitor but not disable it and not move windows around (while keeping the other one turned on). I'm also looking for the same thing and I'm disappointed Ultramon is not the answer. My search continues.
    – ADTC
    Aug 1 '12 at 3:34
  • 2
    $40 is steep for something that can be done natively with a Windows shortcut.
    – laurent
    Mar 23 '16 at 16:37
1

If you just want to blank your primary display, without disabling or "sleeping" it you can use this VB6 program that simply loads a black background HTML file in full screen without any boarders:

http://jpelectron.com/download/viewit-rev3.zip

Copy all the files to: C:\Program Files (x86)\viewIT\ then run viewit.exe

There is also the option to make the entire screen white (like a "flashlight" app)

I created this because I needed a way to blank my tablet's screen (primary display) while I had a YouTube or other video playing full-screen elsewhere (secondary display)

If you don't like that this loads on the primary display only, I would suggest you open fillblack.htm in a browser, put that browser on the display you want, then press F11 to enable full-screen/kiosk mode - this also accomplishes it.

1

I was looking for the same solution. I ended up doing this:

  1. Open your favourite Internet Browser in the monitor that you want to shut down.
  2. Enter http://www.e-try.com/black.htm (just a black website).
  3. Open it in Full Screen Mode (F11 in Google Chrome).

Problem solved :)

0

Its easy with DisplayFusion. You can set profiles for one monitor and another for several monitors, and also setup combo keys to activate them with or without prompt confirm dialog. Win + P works well too.

2
  • What's DisplayFusion? Is it hardware or software, and where do I get it?
    – user201262
    Nov 15 '13 at 16:27
  • @Moses it's probably this. (link to software)
    – Noctis
    Nov 17 '15 at 2:27
0

This will be the 100% matching solution. I'm using 3 screens ( in the order 1,2,3 - left to right). I can place 4 icons(for different profiles) on my main screen using this app. By clicking each, followings will happen. 1. only monitors #2, #3 will keep on 2. only monitors #1, #2 will keep on 3. only monitor #2 will keep on 4. all monitors will keep on

The tool is ultramon just download, install and experience it.

0

Windows-P proved to be a bit wonky, at least for my use case.

On a Windows 10 machine, open Settings > Display. Under the Multiple Displays section, there's a dropdown with the following options:

  1. Duplicate these displays
  2. Extend these displays
  3. Show only on 1
  4. Show only on 2

I'm trying to get a pretty complicated setup working with ShareMouse. Choosing 'Show only 1/2' resulted in ShareMouse only seeing screen 1 or screen 2 on that machine - which is what I'm looking for, and which did not happen with Windows-P.

-1

I've mucked with this for years and simplest answer for me was to use a dark background and use WINDOWS KEY + M this just minimizes all but the active window. Most of the other options turn of the window and when you want the monitor again, you have to move all the windows back.

-1

Other option: Set your wallpaper to black, hide your desktop icons, and auto-hide the taskbar. Unused monitors will look closed and won't be a distraction =]

-3

Download a copy of nircmd to your C drive and then create this batch file:

C:\nircmd.exe cmdwait 1000 monitor off

It will sleep your monitors but not lock Windows.

1
  • 1
    Cool, but this will sleep all displays, not the particular one. Feb 12 '17 at 14:14
-3

Download "Multiscreen Blank" gives you an option to blank 1 or 2 or all screens in the right click menu in windows :)

1
  • Please read How do I recommend software? for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software.   You should provide at least a link and some additional information about the software.
    – Scott
    Jan 17 at 3:38

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