How can I keep my laptop running with the lid closed?

The default configuration for most Windows laptops is to go into standby when the lid is closed. We'll look at how to change that.


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

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 Stand-by, or even Hibernation, when the laptop is closed.

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

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 that 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.


  1. Greg Bulmash

    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. Tony Martin

    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.

      • Mark Jacobs

        Heat can be a problem when running a laptop with the lid closed. I keep mine open when I use it with an external keyboard and monitor, otherwise it shuts down because of heat..

  3. Stygies

    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. John Chamberlain

    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. James

    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. marcus

    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. Hossein

    “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. Pfafftonian

    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. Pedro

    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. lnstinct

    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. epthorn

    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. troy

    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. Jennie

    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. Jonathan

    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. suvrajit saha

    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. Sidd

    Precise and on the mark. I want to try this with an external monitor. “cause I have room for just the monitor and the keybord.

  17. Joe Blake

    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!

  18. Mikey

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

  19. Anand

    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……?

  20. robert

    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.

  21. Shaun

    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.

  22. Steve

    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.

  23. Bob

    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?

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