How to Run Your Laptop With the Lid Closed
It’s hard to imagine a world in which you can’t fold up your computer, stuff it in your backpack, and take it with you anywhere. But if you prefer the ergonomics of a desktop computer, the convenience of a laptop just isn’t the same.
You could use your laptop at a desk, but you’ll be hunched over looking at a display that’s too low, with a trackpad that just can’t match the comfort and precision of a mouse. If you want a more comfortable office setup, grab an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse—plus a USB hub if you need more ports—and recreate the desktop experience with your portable PC.
There’s one problem: by default, Windows puts your computer to sleep when you close the lid. This isn’t ideal if you want to fold up your laptop and hide it out of sight while “docked” on your workspace. (You could use your laptop as a second monitor, of course, but that takes up precious desk space you may not have.)
Choose What Closing the Lid Does
You can change this behavior in any version of Windows with a simple settings tweak inside the old pre-Windows 10 Control Panel. Open the Start menu and search for Control Panel. Navigate to Hardware and Sound > Power Options > Choose what closing the lid does. You can also type “Lid” into the Start menu to immediately find this menu.
The “When I close the lid” section presents a drop-down menu with four options—Sleep, Hibernate, Shut down, and Do Nothing—based on the laptop’s power state: on battery or plugged in.
For example, you could set it to Do Nothing when the laptop is plugged in, but select the Sleep option when the computer is on battery power. This allows the closed laptop to continue functioning while it is hooked up to a power source, so you can use it as a desktop alternative without having to deal with the device itself. It will also make sure you won’t accidentally shut the lid and toss the laptop in your backpack while it’s still running, which can generate a lot of dangerous heat.
But it’s up to you—you could always assign the power button to your computer’s Sleep function from this same menu, giving you a quick way to power down before stuffing it in your bag.
On a Mac, open System Preferences and click the Battery button. Choose the Power Adapter tab, and then pull the Turn display off after slider all the way to the right so it’s at Never. You should also turn on the option for Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off. Now you can close the laptop and still use it.