Is there a way to turn off the display (enter power saving mode) using a command?

For example, when the computer is inactive for a specific interval, the screen turns off to conserve energy. Is there a way to manually turn off the screen, yet keep the computer running normally?

This is a notebook, so there's no 'power-off' button on the monitor itself.


I think you are looking for

xset dpms force off

However, you need to make sure that your acpi is enabled. You can check this with

cat /proc/acpi/info

Another option could be

setterm -powersave powerdown
  • 2
    The first command didn't require sudo for me. – Isaiah Oct 14 '10 at 21:22
  • Me neither. ` ` ` ` – Nathan Osman Oct 14 '10 at 21:38
  • 5
    Sometimes the Enter keypress as you execute the command can be enough to immediately wake the computer back up again. I usually go with sleep 0.2s && xset dpms force off just to be safe. Also, this makes for a nice replacement for locking your screen: gnome-screensaver-command --lock && sleep 2s && xset dpms force off – ændrük Oct 14 '10 at 22:01
  • ok.. took the sudo advisory out :D – txwikinger Oct 14 '10 at 23:27
  • I just did the same thing in kubuntu using info from this answer: xdg-screensaver activate && sleep 2s && xset dpms force off – Joe Feb 18 '13 at 7:26

I'm running Ubuntu Server without X on a 2007 MacBook Pro. The display is sleeping by itself but won't reactivate when a key is pressed on the keyboard. At this point my fix is to use vbetool. Install using apt-get:

sudo apt-get install vbetool

Then use to turn display on via SSH from a different machine:

sudo vbetool dpms on

Or off:

sudo vbetool dpms off
  • 2
    vbetool is what I search for exactly! It turn the monitor off completely via BIOS VESA drivers/tools. Just like turning off by using hard key of the monitor! – efkan Jan 20 '17 at 12:07

I have made a unity launcher to turn off the LCD

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends gnome-panel

gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new

It will open a small windows. Enter the following:

Name: turnofflcd

Command: gnome-screensaver-command --lock && sleep 2s && xset dpms force off

You can also choose an icon by clicking the icon on the left .

For more on making launcher see http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-to-create-desktop-launchers-in-ubuntu-11-10oneiric.html.

(sleep 10; xset dpms force suspend) & xdg-screensaver lock

This starts the screen saver in locked mode and then puts your display in standby. Ubuntu Mate 15.10


xset dpms force off worked only for 5 seconds.

I searched the internet and found the following script, and after a small change it worked perfectly.

import time
import subprocess
from Xlib import X
from Xlib.display import Display
display = Display(':0')
root = display.screen().root
       X.ButtonPressMask | X.ButtonReleaseMask | X.PointerMotionMask,
       X.GrabModeAsync, X.GrabModeAsync, 0, 0, X.CurrentTime)
       X.GrabModeAsync, X.GrabModeAsync, X.CurrentTime)
subprocess.call('xset dpms force off'.split())
#p = subprocess.Popen('gnome-screensaver-command -a'.split())
p = subprocess.Popen('xset dpms force off'.split())
while True:
   print display.next_event()
  • In the above script the following lines are supposed to be comments only. They need to be deleted OR commented with a #. original p = subprocess.Popen('gnome-screensaver-command -a'.split()) changed – Mario Sep 13 '17 at 23:23
  • Lines 27,28,29 and 30. Sorry, not used to the formatting in the comment section. Usually I do not post. But this time I thought this might help. – Mario Sep 13 '17 at 23:34

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