I've seen this issue on previous versions of Ubuntu, but not on 12.04 and some of those are resolved bugs, so I'm asking again.

I've set up power management so that, when plugged in, my laptop does nothing when the lid is closed. I do this so that I can use as a desktop with my external monitor with the screen closed and the laptop scurried away from my desktop.

I tried turning off the laptop monitor to see if that made a difference, but it doesn't.

The problem is that closing the lid still shuts off my external monitor. What can I do to prevent this?


3 Answers 3


I scoured the 'net for solutions that respected the Ubuntu/GNOME settings but ultimately this was the only thing that worked for me:

sudo vim /etc/UPower/UPower.conf

# <snip> ...


# <snip> ...

On systemd operating systems you can issue the command sudo service upower restart to have the new config take effect. Otherwise, you need to reboot.

  • Ultimately this is the only thing that fixed the problem for me. Thanks.
    – UpAllNight
    Oct 11, 2014 at 17:44
  • 1
    Worked for me on 16.04 too. Thanks
    – radek
    Jun 13, 2017 at 18:50
  • 1
    Thank you. Instead of rebooting i issued the service upower restart command. Works like a charm on 16.04 LTS Aug 1, 2017 at 22:00
  • Using 16.04, you saved my marriage.
    – pablopixel
    Sep 22, 2017 at 18:43
  • @pabelopixel Hah, happy to have helped! :)
    – pztrick
    Sep 22, 2017 at 22:31

The only way I managed this: hit dash and search for displays.

Screenshot of "Displays" Window

2 things I noticed:

  • the 'off' does not get saved;
  • I still need to keep the screen physically up. Closing the lid kills the 2nd monitor too. If you do close the lid and put it back up both screens light up.

The problem is that closing the lid still shuts off my external monitor. What to do?

Found it: after the 2nd monitor turns off move the mouse or type something. The 2nd monitor will turn on.

  • The problem with this solution is that you have to do it every time you restart your computer.. There has to be a way to make a script or something that will do it automatically. Plus, I couldn't turn off my laptop monitor until i selected "Mirror displays" and then unchecked it again. Before doing that, the on/off button was disabled. Jan 1, 2013 at 21:47
  • Nope. It works for me even after a reboot @Knownasilya and I also have never had problems with the toggle being disabled.
    – Rinzwind
    Jan 1, 2013 at 21:56
  • 1
    Maybe it's because I'm using 12.10 with Gnome 3? Jan 1, 2013 at 23:35
  • +1 for the mouse trick. Superb. So simple , but never thought of it. Feb 13 at 22:50

Managed to do this by installing dconf tools and disabling org->gnome->desktop->screensaver: * idle-activation-enabled

I also had to set the 'Turn screen off when inactive for:' setting to 'Never' on the 'Brightness and Lock' section of the Ubuntu settings.

Lastly, I had to make sure that displays are not mirrored (Check box on 'Displays' settings dialog)

Now it finally works.

  • 2
    This answer doesn't really seem to correlate to the users problem.
    – Matt O.
    Sep 23, 2017 at 2:02

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