How to Create a Shortcut to Turn Off Your Monitor in Windows

For most of you, creating a shortcut to turn off your monitor is counter-productive because the monitor sits right in front of you. But if you have a mega 30-inch monitor that sits a safe distance from you, it might be rather annoying to have to actually walk up to the monitor and turn it off yourself. Your alternative is to set an automatic timer in Windows to put the monitor to sleep, but that’s not a very cozy solution either. With a little bit of engineering, you can create a shortcut on your desktop that will turn off your monitor with a double click and no more!

To continue this tutorial, you have to be familiar with creating shortcuts on your computer. There’s really nothing to it, usually, but if you’re not familiar with such a thing or don’t feel confident in accomplishing such a task, it’s wise to let someone else do this for you.

How Does It Work?

Although many programs can turn the monitor off by interacting with the hardware, Microsoft made it rather difficult to do all this from the command line. To counteract this issue, you’ll need to download and install an application called “NirCmd”, which simply acts as a shell on top of the current command line that Microsoft provides in Windows 7. The shortcut we talk about here will send a command to the executable, opening it with instructions to turn the monitor off one second after you double-click the shortcut. I’ll tell you what to write, so you don’t have to figure out the commands by yourself.

The true power of Windows has yet to be harnessed, and nobody can stop you from doing it! Let’s walk you through the process, shall we?

First Things First

NirCmd isn’t a normal application. You’d best just make shortcuts that call the application and tell it what to do, since it’s not exactly a run-of-the-mill executable. Don’t worry about malware. I download and install every application I talk about here. You can rest assured that it’s not a shady piece of software. Download the application here. You’ll get a ZIP file. Open it and open “nircmd.exe” inside it. You’ll get this window:


Click “Copy to Windows Directory”. Confirm everything that comes up and just close the ZIP file. We’re done here! Now, onto the good stuff.

The Shortcut

Go to your desktop. Here’s where you’ll make the shortcut. You can move it anywhere you want after you’re done. If you don’t know how to make one, right-click an empty space on your desktop, hover your mouse over “New”, and click “Shortcut.” You’ll get this window:


On the textbox, type this:

Change the “1000” to “0” if you would like to eliminate the one-second delay. That was added just for elegance. Click “Next” and name your shortcut whatever you want. Click “Finish” when you’re done. Now, double-click the shortcut you just made. I assure you that your monitor will turn off if you did everything correctly.

Want a New Icon?

Surely, the default EXE icon isn’t as elegant as a custom icon. So, right-click the shortcut, click “Properties” and click the “Change icon” button near the bottom of the “Properties” window. Knock yourself out!

If you have any further questions, leave them below in the comments section. We’re here to help!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.


  1. I tried this but when I clicked on it,  a window came up that said Application not found.    What am I doing wrong?   Is this just for Windows 7?  I have Vista.  Thanks

    1. This should work in practically every version of Windows. Did you try downloading and installing NirCmd to your Windows directory? If you didn’t, please let me know and we’ll work together to solve your problem.

  2. Interesting and handy.  I’ll have to give it a try.

    One question – does it just send the monitor to sleep or actually turn it off?

    1. Display adapters don’t turn off the monitor. You can only do that by pushing the switch. So yes, the operating system just puts the monitor to sleep, which is practically the same thing.

    1. Glad to hear! Wait for the next article coming out later today! It teaches you more fun things to do with NirCmd that could save you time and make your computer a more convenient tool!

  3. i tried to copy the file to windows directory but it says that it failed to copy…!!! help pls…!!

    1. Did you try through the button in the application? You probably don’t have the permissions in your computer. Try copying it to the root folder of your hard drive. Replace any commands with “C:nircmd.exe” instead of the conventional “%windir%nircmd.exe”

  4. worked as blast :P :D , i have searching for it ,,, else … first it said failed to copy … the next i have run as administrator lol any way thanks

    1. Hmm. That’s weird. I guess it’s because of your UAC settings. Could you try and turn UAC off and see if it works like that? This would be interesting. Normally, this stuff shouldn’t require administrative privileges.

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