Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How Can I Keep My Laptop Running with the Lid Closed?

When I close the lid of my Toshiba notebook, the internet stops, meaning that if I want to download stuff, the lid always has to be open, which is really annoying. Any way to change this without connecting another monitor and mouse?

It’s probably not the internet that’s stopping; it’s the entire computer.

The default configuration for most laptops these days is to go into Standby, or even Hibernation, when the laptop is closed.

Fortunately, it’s just a setting you can control in Windows.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Windows includes a fairly robust, if somewhat confusing, array of power management options. And like many options, they’re in Control Panel.

Fire up Control Panel and double click on Power Options. You should see something along these lines:
Control Panel - Power Options
Click on the Advanced tab for this:
Control Panel - Power Options - Advanced Tab
Note the items in the Power Buttons section, in particular the one labeled “When I close the lid of my portable computer:”. This has two or three options: Stand by (the default), Hibernate (if you have hibernation enabled) and Do nothing.

I’m guessing it’s Do nothing you really want. It also happens to be what I use most of the time – particularly when I’m mobile, I’d like to be able to close my laptop for carrying without having it shut down on me.

Click on the list drop-down arrow at the far right of Stand by:
Control Panel - Power Options - Advanced Tab - Selecting Do nothing
Click on Do nothing, and then click on either OK or Apply.

You should now be able to close your laptop and have it keep downloading without interruption.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

49 comments on “How Can I Keep My Laptop Running with the Lid Closed?”

    • I would like to know how to do the same with Linux, for the same reason; the only online notes I’ve seen are for Ubuntu, rather specific; all other options involve command line instruction, which I find surprising. I would have thought there’d be an easy way to accomplish this in GUI in a Gnome environment, but perhaps not.

  1. And I’ll answer my own question, though this is only for people who are using it as a desktop replacement and hooking it up to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

    Closing it puts it into sleep mode, but if you’re running on AC power with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, just click the mouse to wake it up.

  2. It could run down your battery if it keeps running while closed or if you put it in a case it could overheat and fry the laptop.

  3. I think it’s weird that they’ve never bothered to put in an option to simply power down the monitor without powering down the actual laptop when you close the lid.
    Clearly many people don’t want the computer to completely power down or stand by when they shut the lid, but there is no point in having the monitor still on drawing power when the lids closed…

    Just a thought.

  4. If the questioner’s Toshiba laptop is anything like mine (Satellite Pro L10)it may not work as described. Whatever settings I try, closing the lid puts it into hibernation. Worse, if I hibernate it and then close the lid, it toggles it back to life again (which might be a solution, of course)!

  5. Thank you so much for that,
    i have been searching for ages as my downloads for my products are cutting short.
    Well Thank you again.

    Plus with windows vista:-

    you could go on your power icon in your bottom right side of you screen.
    right click on the poer icon and go to power options. Then go to what if my laptop closes its lid(This should be on the top left side of your screen) then click on do nothing on all drop down menus.

    And there you have it.
    Or you could use the start bar power searcher and add in “power options” then use that.

    Thank you again James Davies,
    Linea-Soft “copyrighted 2007 – 2008”

  6. hi. i am able to make my laptop ‘Do Nothing’. but when i peek inbetween to take a look the screen is still on. is it possible if i want the laptop to continue to ‘Do Nothing’, but have a blank screen to save power. there is no ‘Blank Screen’ option in my window.

  7. “How can I keep my laptop standby with the lid closed?”. Please note that in the “advanced” option of “power properties” there is just one offer: “do nothing”! If so, can’t I keep it standby?

  8. I have a slightly different problem from what was originally described. When I open Power Options to the Advanced tab, my only choice under “When I close the lid of my portable computer” is “Do nothing”. So I can’t go to Standby or Hibernate when I close the lid. There is no “Hibernate” tab in my Power Options dialog box. Ideas??

    Not all laptops have the ability. It requires support from the BIOS and the power management drivers in Windows. You might check with your computer’s manufacturer to see if you have the latest of both.

    – Leo
  9. Hey Leo, I always set the lid close action to “do nothing” on my Thinkpad T43, but whenever I reboot, the behavior goes back to default “standby”… any suggestions?

  10. Thank you so much for posting your answer it was so annoying when i keep trying to download my stuff then the internet d/c’s so THANK YOU!

    *I can now download my stuff without the internet dissconnecting.*

  11. Unfortunately this is not always correct. I am very familiar with my laptop power settings but am having the exact problem mentioned- the computer does NOT hibernate or shut down, in fact sometimes I am listening to a previously downloaded podcast. The internet- whether wireless or via LAN etc- shuts down when the lid is closed. Anyone know what is causing the problem?

  12. I recently replaced my hard drive, on my old one i could close the lid and keep the internet and everything going and when i opened the lid my user account would be locked and needed a password, Now i cant figure out how i had that possible any ideas?

  13. I’ve got the same problem with my laptop going into standby mode when the lid is closed. My settings are set to “do nothing” when the lid is closed yet it still goes into standby mode when I close the lid. Any ideas? I’m using Windows Vista with the Windows XP downgrade on a Dell Vostro 1310.

  14. Thanks, this worked. Exactly what I was looking more. Amazing they place the lip options inside the power recovery, kinda strange. I would think this option would be found in display settings. Thanks again.

  15. when i close the lid of my portable computer there is only one option in the drop down menu. this option is”Do nothing”. how can i over come this problem.

  16. I found your suggestions very useful. I have today plugged in a monitor to my laptop, and shutting the lid made it hibernate; I set it to”Do nothing” and now it keeps right on going!

  17. You have to look carefully, but on my Lenovo laptop “Do nothing” really means “Turn off display”, which is what I really wanted anyway.

  18. Thanks for the article! can u plz tell me which is safe option to select in power button- a) do nothing. b) standby or c) hibernate……?

  19. Would like to knw wen computer is on and i just shut dwn internet connetion and just close top lid wit out turnin off computer HOW LONG IS IT SAFE TO JUST KEEP Lid CLOSED

    There’s no general answer to this question. The thing I would worry about is heat – and some computers rely on the lid being open for air flow, others do not. It also depends on what the laptop is doing – working hard will generate more heat.

  20. Great information! I tried to do this, but I’m not able to change that setting. Any thoughts on why I’m not allowed to change this setting?

    It might be hardware related, and I was hoping you could shed some light on that possibility.

  21. For me, it IS the internet. I’ve changed all the power settings and my wireless internet drops everytime I close the lid. When I am not online I use my laptop like a desktop. Would love a solution.

  22. The options for what to do when closing the lid are not present in Windows ME under Power Options and Advanced. I have a dedicated task for an old laptop but don’t want it open while running. Can I activate it somehow?

  23. hello! i have somehow the same problem… almost. i have a second monitor as an extension to the right. So far, i could drag a movie in the second monitor, close the lid (which the laptop screen is my primary as i want it to be) and the second monitor could still be an extension. Suddenly, that changed, now whenever i close the lid my second monitor becomes primary (which is annoying). when i open the lid, it goes back to being an extension to the right but the identification numbers are upside down, meaning that the laptop screen became primary again but No. 2 and the second monitor became extension (as it was) but No. 1. I can’t find what’s wrong with that. The only thing i can think of is that i tried to force a game to open in fullscreen to the second monitor while having plugged ps3 controller (with MotionInJoy) and i got a BSOD. I think that after that it happened. I didn’t take seriously the BSOD because i had it a couple of times with another game and with no second monitor. I uninstalled the game. I re-installed it today and to my surprise i saw that when i launched it, it started in fullscreen mode in my second monitor. somehow is like it remembered it even though i completely uninstalled it. i tried forcing it the same way to play im the laptop screen but nothing came from that. When i say force i mean that i changed it to windowed mode, dragged it to the other monitor, and then changed it back to fullscreen mode. When i first installed the game it worked (and probably messed my monitors), now that i tried to do the same but backwards hoping it will undo whatever happened, it just crashed. tried to open it again but it started in the second monitor as before. Sorry for the long post! Any ideas? I searched all over but nothing seems to help or being at least relevant to my case. Thank you in advance and sorry for the long post again!

  24. i have the same problem as shauns last post. weather or not i am in my administrative account or not my computer refuses me access to change my power and lid settings. the options are there but not clickable icons and a small message stating access is denied WTF??

  25. Hii Sir ,My laptop was been shows brownesh so give me a solution to re bring to its orginal state and I have an another problem that as a laptop my mobile was working as like my laptop so, kindly solve my problem
    Thanking you

  26. Here is a challenge – similar but different: Laptop is a Lenovo model X250 with i5-5300 processor @2.3 GHz , standard specs … which in turn is using the SVGA port for a monitor with special advanced settings output (had to unload (remove and delete files) of the lenovo display driver to then install the latest intel display driver to be able to access the advanced customized output settings for a special monitor running at 800 x 480 with some porch settings also. Everything is working ok, using extended monitors setup. However, when the lid is closed, the output for the SVGA port is turned off. Re-open the lid and while it does turn back on with correct output as before, a running video on the special monitor then becomes full screen on the laptop display and not on the special monitor. Is there a way to disable the lid function within windows (windows 7 Enterprise SP1) to prevent the port from shutting down with the lid action?

  27. I have followed the instructions. I have windows 10 on my Lenovo S210 touch. But inspite of choosing the option “Don’t do anything”, when the lid is closed the laptop sleeps. Anything I am doing wrong?

    • Unfortunately, things like sleep and what a computer does when the lid is closed sometimes don’t work as they are supposed to. Different computer manufacturers do it differently and some just don’t get it right.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.