Monitors, including desktop and laptop LCDs, consume a considerable amount of power. Yet most of us leave ours on and running all day (if not all night).
Sure, you can configure Windows to turn off the display after a period of inactivity, but that's less than ideal: Either the delay is too short, meaning the monitor turns off when you don't want it to, or it's too long to do any good, efficiency-wise.
What I want is a way to quickly turn off the monitor when I get up from my desk and then turn it on again when I return.
Yeah, I know, it's called the Power button. But that doesn't help laptop users. And some monitors take awhile to restart after being powered off.
A British company called VeryPC just unveiled a utility called PecoBOO that combines your Webcam with facial-recognition technology: Whenever you turn away from or leave the computer, the software turns off the display. It turns it back on when your face reappears.
That's kind of cool, but it seems like overkill to me. All I really need is a hotkey that'll turn my display off without actually cutting the power. After all, there are hotkeys for standby and hibernate modes; why not for just the monitor?
Thankfully, there's a pretty easy way to set that up. All you need is a tiny, free command-line utility called NirCmd, and the simple instructions provided by the How-To Geek.
In a nutshell, you'll extract NirCmd to a folder on your hard drive (I used C:\Nircmd for simplicity's sake), create a shortcut to it, assign a hotkey of your choice to that shortcut, and then, if you want, pick a nice-looking icon to go with it.
Works like a charm. Now, whenever I press Ctrl-Shift-M, my monitor goes dark. A tap of any other key wakes it up again. The only challenge I face is remembering to do this every time I get up from my chair--but I trained myself to use other hotkeys, so this should be a breeze.
Think of the energy we could save if everybody used this tip!