A program to put monitors into power saving mode
January 10, 2010 5:25 PM   Subscribe

Anyone know of a program or utility that'll put monitors, but not the computer, into power saving mode?

I've looked around and found a couple that looked promising but they each have deficiencies. Wizmo works & is free but after using it the monitors won't wake up with mouse-only movement, despite multiple configuration attempts.

Another one named Monoff works & is free but displays the creator's name and website every time it's activated, and there's no paid version without the ad.

Anyone use or know of a better alternative? Free would be best but I'll pay for something that works well. This will be used on Vista 64-bit.
posted by aerotive to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
Is there a reason you aren't using the OS's builtin power save? There should be options that control only the monitor.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:28 PM on January 10, 2010

Hmm. This is an interesting question.

It's a very low-level thing you're hoping to do – I mean, I'm sure you know how to do this manually (by manipulating the Power Management settings) but you're thinking of scripting this process, no? And given that it's in Vista 64, I'm guessing it's not for a network. So... you're hoping for a utility to script when the Power Management settings trip the power-save mode on the monitor?

Or is it that you already tried the Power Management settings, and they didn't work? If we can actually get the Power Management settings to work properly, that might be a more direct way to solve the problem.

What exactly were you hoping to do? Did you just want to save the electricity by not having your monitor on all the time?
posted by koeselitz at 5:41 PM on January 10, 2010

Response by poster: Yes there are times when I want to put the monitors into power save immediately rather than wait for the OS's settings to kick in.
posted by aerotive at 5:42 PM on January 10, 2010

Response by poster: That first reply was to cat pie hurts...

To koeslitz partially it's energy savings, but mostly that the monitors generate enough light to be distracting even when in other rooms, so I tend to want them off immediately.
posted by aerotive at 5:55 PM on January 10, 2010

"Monitors" - okay, so apparently you have a number of them.

Hmm. I'm being stupid - 'power-saving mode' just means you want the monitors to completely switch off, and stay off until there's keyboard or mouse activity - right? If so, this is your fix. Even if not, it should generally fit your desire:

It's called NirCmd, and it's just a tiny command-line utility that appears to have a ridiculous number of great commands for controlling little settings on your machine - opening drive doors, moving windows around, changing system volume, creating shortcuts, saving screenshots, etc. For example, to do what you wanted to do, all I did was download that .zip file, unpack it in C:\Users\koeselitz\NimCmd\, and then pressed win-R to run the following command:

C:\Users\koeselitz\NimCmd\NimCmd.exe monitor off

- and presto-blammo, the monitor goes off; move the mouse, and the monitor comes on.

If you want to make that very easy for yourself (and save all that typing every time) just right-click on the desktop, select New -> Shortcut, type that command above into the "file you want to open" line, and click Okay. Now, every time you double-click that shortcut, the command will run, and the monitor will switch off until you move the mouse.
posted by koeselitz at 6:17 PM on January 10, 2010

or use the keyboard
posted by koeselitz at 6:19 PM on January 10, 2010

Ah, crap, hold on -
posted by koeselitz at 6:21 PM on January 10, 2010

Why not just turn the monitor off?
posted by gjc at 6:22 PM on January 10, 2010

Oops. Didn't realize you wanted a manual solution. I googled for Vista hot corners and found lots of bits of freeware to do hot corner powersave.

gjc - powering up and down a bank of monitors is going to be a huge PITA after awhile.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2010

Best answer: Sorry, I keep forgetting - I have a 64-bit dual-core processor, but my machine's running Vista 32.

That program, NirCmd, doesn't say it won't work on Vista 64 - it only says that it will work "on all 32-bit Windows operating systems." That means you may as well try it on your machine; the worst that'll happen is an error message. Hopefully it will work. If not, we'll have to find another solution, as NirSoft doesn't appear to have a separate 64-bit version of NirCmd.

You try it and see if it works; in the meantime, I'll see if I can find something else.
posted by koeselitz at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2010

Eh, this is a waste of time. I'm just going to write this out in AutoHotkey - shouldn't take long.
posted by koeselitz at 6:32 PM on January 10, 2010

Response by poster: To gjc's question:

First, there are four monitors so I want something to save a bit of time instead of manually turning them on & off all the time. Second, they're expensive semi-pro/pro-level gear, and I've read that putting them into power-saving mode rather than all-off is somewhat less stressful on the electronics. I want them to have as long a useful life as is possible.

To koezlitz:

That utility sounds quite similar to the Wizmo app that I linked above; I'll give it a go and see if after using it the monitors wake up properly. And yes that definition of power saving mode is correct.
posted by aerotive at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2010

This doesn't answer your question, but if anybody clicks here looking for a Mac OS X solution, check out Sleep Display, in widget and application form. One trick ponies that do what they say on the tin.
posted by bigtex at 6:41 PM on January 10, 2010


If that doesn't work, I've got a solution that will. I just wrote a tiny (200kb) .exe that does exactly what you want, and it's 100% 64-bit compatible, as far as I know. Drop me a memail or email with your email address, and I can send it to you, since it's so small.

Also, anybody who's into AutoHotkey (a great little scripting language for Windows that's handy for this stuff) can just use this line of code to do what's needed:

SendMessage, 0x112, 0xF170, 2,, Program Manager

All I did was save that line of code into an autohotkey script with ExitApp at the end & compile it.
posted by koeselitz at 6:48 PM on January 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could just set the OS timeout to 1 minute.
posted by gjc at 5:58 AM on January 11, 2010

Response by poster: Nircmd works beautifully--does exactly what I want, and everything wakes up without issue.

posted by aerotive at 2:01 PM on January 11, 2010

xset dpms force off
posted by vsync at 10:40 PM on January 11, 2010

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