Altering sleep timeout for the display on a Windows 10 system

After a specified period of time Windows 10 will put the monitor to sleep, so the display will go black and you will need to re-enter your userid and password to get access to the system again. This behavior can be changed either via a graphical user interface (GUI) or by using the command line utility powercfg.

GUI Method

To change this behavior via the GUI method, take the following steps:

  1. Right-click somewhere on the desktop and select Display Settings
  2. Click on Power & Sleep.

    Power and sleep

  3. For the Screen setting, change the value for "When plugged in, turn off after" to whatever value you prefer.

    Power and sleep choices

    You can set the value to "Never", if you never wish to have the monitor turned off.

Command Line Method

You can also change the value from a command line interface (CLI), i.e., a command prompt, using the powercfg command. E.g., if I wanted to change the setting so the screen never gets turned off by Windows, I could use the command below:

 C:\>powercfg -change -monitor-timeout-ac 0


Setting monitor-timeout-ac to 0 sets the value to "Never". The value is in minutes, so if I wanted to change the setting to 1 hour, I could use powercfg -change -monitor-timeout-ac 60. A five hour timeout period can be set by using a value of 300. You can even use a value that is not one of those listed via the GUI method described above. E.g., the time options shown through the GUI for the number of hours to which I can set the value are shown below:

Monitor sleep hours options

The options for hours go from one hour to five hours in one hour increments with the next option being "Never". Yet I can set the timeout period to six hours from the command line interface.

C:\>powercfg -change -monitor-timeout-ac 360


If I then check the setting using the GUI method, I will see the period before the monitor goes to sleep is 6 hours.

Monitor sleep set to 6 hours

Note: if you are changing the monitor sleep period from a command prompt using the powercfg utility, you will need to close the Power & sleep window, if it is open, and reopen it to see the change you've made from the command line.


  1. Monitor goes sleep all the time
    Posted: March 1, 2012
    Microsoft Developer Network


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