Configure Your Monitor to Save Power - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Your computer monitor is most likely energy efficient. That means it has a low-power mode designed to save energy. This mode is activated by a loss of signal from the PC’s display adapter. You can confirm the mode in one of two ways:

First, the screen goes blank and a message appears. The message indicates that the signal from the computer is no longer available. The text varies from “Missing signal” to “No input” to any of a variety of terse and confusing messages. (In fact, the message may also appear when you simply disconnect the monitor from the display adapter.)

Second, the monitor’s power-on lamp changes from green to amber in color.

The monitor is only a dumb partner in the power-saving scheme. The true mastermind is the operating system, which directs the display adapter to stop sending the monitor a video signal. You can configure your computer to save monitor power based on a period of inactivity. To set the period of inactivity — the sleep timeouts for the monitor — follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

    • In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, choose Hardware and Sound and then choose the link Change When the Computer Sleeps, found beneath the Power Options heading.

    • In Windows XP, open the Power Options icon and in the Power Options dialog box, ensure that the Power Schemes tab is selected.

  2. Use the Menu button to set the timeout value for the monitor.

    The option is titled either Turn Off the Display or Turn Off Monitor.

  3. Click Save Changes or the OK button.

    Optionally, close any other windows left hanging open.

If you’re using a screen saver, it also sports a timeout value. When the monitor’s sleep timeout is less than the screen saver timeout, you never see the screen saver in action. Therefore, you should set the monitor’s sleep timeout to a value that is several minutes (or hours) greater than the screen saver’s timeout.

  • If the monitor’s power lamp is green and the screen is still blank, you might simply be looking at a blank screen saver image.

  • The monitor also goes into power-saving mode when the computer is turned off, though for true power savings, just turn off the monitor as well as the computer.