How to use laptop with external monitor and lid closed on Windows 11

Windows 11 prevent sleep when lid closed
Windows 11 prevent sleep when lid closed (Image credit: Future)

On Windows 11, if you have a laptop, you can connect an external display to work with a larger canvas as if you were working on a desktop computer. 

The only caveat is that if you want to use the device exclusively with the external monitor or place the laptop on a holder, the device will turn off as soon as you close the lid. However, Windows 11 includes a setting that allows you to change the close lid action to prevent the laptop from turning off.

This guide will walk you through the steps to use a laptop with an external monitor with the lid closed on Windows 11.

How to change closing lid action to use external display on Windows 11

To prevent the laptop from turning off when closing the lid and using an external monitor on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click on Power Options.

Open Power Options

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the "Choose what closing the lid does" option from the left pane.

Choose what closing the lid does

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Under the "Power button and lid settings" section, use the "When I close the lid" feature and select the Do nothing option for the "Plugged in" setting.

Do nothing when I close the lid option

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Select the Do nothing option for the "On Battery" setting. 
  • Quick note: If you use this device on the go, it's best to keep the lid setting the same unless you will be OK using the "Power" menu from the Start menu to sleep the device. 
  1. Click the Save changes button.

Once you complete the steps, when you close the lid, the laptop will remain operational from the second display.

How to change primary display setting on Windows 11

To configure the laptop to use an external display as the primary monitor, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Display page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Use the drop-down menu and select the "Show only on 2" option.

(Image credit: Future)

After you complete the steps, the laptop will turn off the display and only use the external monitor.

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.