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The power button predates the computer by decades. So why does Windows force you through a maze of settings just to turn off a monitor with a timer? And for that matter, why does it insist on waiting an entire minute before the timer will activate? MonitorES (free) fixes this frustration, allowing users to shut off displays on-demand with a hotkey (Ctrl + F2), or automatically when they lock the computer. The former option is great for laptops, since there is no other way to turn off the LCD besides Windows's weak timed power saving settings. My favorite use is to turn off the distracting screen when my laptop is doing nothing but playing music.
MonitorES also includes handy options to pause music and set instant messenger statuses to "away" whenever the display is turned off. Lack of program support make this a secondary feature for now (it works only with Winamp, Windows Media Player, AIMP, and Google Talk for now), but more integration is promised in the next version.
MonitorES is particularly useful to those who lock their computers before meetings and lunch breaks at the office. You may have Windows set to turn off your display after some set amount of time, but it's even better to turn it off immediately. Monitors consume a significant amount of energy, so the conservation is not trivial. Save the environment, save your laptop battery, save some money--or if you already remember to turn your monitor off every time you leave your cubicle, at least save yourself a few button presses.
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