HomeWinBuzzer TipsHow to Change Screen Timeout in Windows 11 and Windows 10

How to Change Screen Timeout in Windows 11 and Windows 10

We show you how to make your screen stay on longer in Windows 11 and Windows 10 using Settings, the Control Panel, and the powercfg command.


Adjusting the screen timeout on Windows 11 and Windows 10 can be crucial for managing your device’s power usage and ensuring your screen’s longevity. Whether you’re looking to conserve battery life on a laptop or prevent unnecessary wear on your desktop’s display, understanding how to modify screen timeout settings can enhance your computing experience.

Why Change Screen Timeout?
The default screen timeout settings in Windows might not suit everyone’s needs. For instance, if you frequently step away from your computer, you might prefer a longer timeout to avoid constantly waking your device. Conversely, if you’re looking to save power, reducing the screen timeout can help conserve energy, especially when running on battery.

We’re going to show you how to stop your screen from timing out before you’re ready below. We’ll even show you three ways of doing it – the settings app, Control Panel, and Command Prompt.

⚠️ Please note: The process described below is the same in Windows 11 as it is in Windows 10. However, bear in mind that we’ll be using screenshots from Windows 11, so your UI may look a little different. We’ll point out any changes you need to be aware of as they come up.

How to Change Screen Timeout in Windows 11 / 10 via Settings

You can adjust your screen timeout settings in a variety of scenarios with ease through the use of the Settings app. It only takes a few seconds in total.

  1. Open Settings
    Press the Start button and select “Settings“. For Windows 11, you can also click the Settings cog above the power button.

    Windows 11 - Open Settings

  2. Navigate to Power Settings
    Select “System” from the Settings menu, then click on “Power & battery“. Windows 10 users should look for “Power & battery” directly in the System settings.

    Windows 11 - Settings - System - Open Power & Battery

  3. Adjust Screen Timeout
    Expand the “Screen and sleep” options to set your desired screen timeout settings for both battery and plugged-in modes. Choose “Never” to prevent the screen from turning off automatically.

    Windows 11 - Settings - System - Power & Battery - Screen and Sleep - Select Time

How to Change Screen Timeout in Windows 11 / 10 via Control Panel Power Options

You can stop your screen from timing out in Control Panel, too. This has the exact same effect and even the same options but may provide a more familiar interface for those used to the legacy UI.

  1. Access Control Panel
    Press the Start button, type “Control Panel“, and open the top result.
    Windows 11 - Open Control Panel

  2. Open Power Options
    In the Control Panel, type “Power Options” in the search bar and select it from the main window.

    Windows 11 - Control Panel - Open Power Options

  3. Choose When to Turn Off Display
    Click on “Choose when to turn off the display” in the sidebar.
    Windows 11 - Control Panel - Power Options - Choose When Turn Off

  4. Save Your Changes
    Set your preferred screen timeout settings and click “Save changes” to apply. Remember, you can keep your screen from timing out entirely by changing one or both of them to “Never“. 

    Windows 11 - Control Panel - Power Options - Choose When Turn Off - Select Time

How to Change Screen Timeout in Windows 11 / 10 via Advanced Power Plan Settings

Alternatively, you can stop your screen from turning off when you don’t want it to by changing your power plan settings. These can also be accessed via the Control Panel.

  1. Open Control Panel
    Press the Start/Search button, type “Control Panel“, and select the top result.
    Windows 11 - Open Control Panel

  2. Select Power Options
    Search for “Power Options” within the Control Panel and open it.
    Windows 11 - Control Panel - Open Power Options

  3. Change Plan Settings
    Click “Change plan settings” next to your current power plan.
    Windows 11 - Control Panel - Power Options - Change Plan Settings

  4. Open Advanced Settings
    Select “Change advanced power settings” to access detailed options.
    Windows 11 - Control Panel - Power Options - Change Plan Settings - Change Advanced Power Settings

  5. Set Display Timeout
    Expand “Display” and “Turn off display after” headings, adjust the values as desired, and click “OK“. You can stop your screen from turning off entirely by typing “0” as the number.

    Windows 11 - Control Panel - Power Options - Change Plan Settings - Change Advanced Power Settings - Display - Turn Off After - Select Time

How to Change Screen Timeout in Windows 11 / 10  via Command Prompt

If you prefer to use the command line or are using a GUI-less install like Windows Server, you can adjust your display timeout settings with Command Prompt. The power settings commands are even quite easy to remember:

  1. Open Windows Terminal
    Right-click the Start button and select “Windows Terminal“. Windows 10 users can open Command Prompt directly.

    Windows 11 - Open Windows Terminal

  2. Select Command Prompt
    In Windows Terminal, press the down arrow next to the new tab icon and choose “Command Prompt“.
    Windows 11 - Windows Terminal - Select Cmd Prompt

  3. Run the Powercfg Commands

    You can type the following to change your screen timeout on battery, replacing the x with the number of minutes:

    powercfg -change -monitor-timeout-dc x

    Or use this command to stop the screen from turning off when plugged in:

    powercfg - change -monitor-timeout-ac x

    You can use 0 as the number for either to ensure the screen never turns off automatically.

    Windows 11 - Windows Terminal - Cmd Prompt - Enter the Cmds

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Windows Screen Timeout Settings

Why does my computer screen turn off after a few minutes?

The screen turning off is a feature designed to conserve energy and extend the lifespan of your display. It’s controlled by the power and sleep settings in Windows, which default to turning the screen off after a period of inactivity. To adjust or disable this feature, navigate to Settings > System > Power & battery > Screen and sleep. Here, you can modify the timeout duration for both battery and AC power modes, allowing you to keep the screen on for longer or prevent it from turning off automatically.

How do I prevent my computer from shutting down or going to sleep automatically?

Automatic shutdowns or sleep transitions can be prevented by adjusting your computer’s power settings. Access the Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options, then click Change plan settings next to your selected power plan. Here, you can set the sleep and shutdown options to Never to prevent the computer from automatically entering these states. Additionally, review the advanced power settings to ensure no specific rules might override your preferences.

Why does my computer fan run continuously in Windows 10?

A continuously running fan often indicates that your computer is working hard to dissipate heat, which could be due to high processor usage, inadequate ventilation, or a buildup of dust inside the case. Use Windows Task Manager to check for processes with high CPU usage and close unnecessary applications. Ensure that the computer’s air vents are unblocked and clean the internal fans with compressed air. If overheating persists, consider applying new thermal paste to the CPU or upgrading the cooling system.

How do I manage or limit screen time for myself or others on Windows 11/10?

Managing or limiting screen time on Windows 11/10 can be achieved through built-in family safety features for managing child accounts or by using third-party applications for personal discipline. For family accounts, go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other users and set up child accounts with screen time limits. For personal use, applications like Freedom or RescueTime can help track and manage your digital habits, offering features to block distracting websites and set screen time limits to encourage more productive use of your time.

What should I do if I can’t change my screen timeout settings?

If you’re unable to change screen timeout settings, it might be due to administrative restrictions, group policies, or conflicts with third-party software. First, ensure you’re logged in with an administrative account. If the problem persists, use the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) to review policies under User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Power Management. Also, consider if any installed corporate management tools or energy-saving programs could be imposing restrictions and adjust their settings accordingly.

Is there a way to make screen timeout adjustments via command line?

The Command Prompt allows you to make fine-grained adjustments to screen timeout settings using the powercfg command. For example, to set a 15-minute screen timeout on battery, execute powercfg -change -monitor-timeout-dc 15. To apply the same setting for when the device is plugged in, use powercfg -change -monitor-timeout-ac 15. This method is ideal for scripting, automation, or quickly applying settings without navigating through multiple menus.

How can I stop my laptop from overheating and subsequently shutting down?

Overheating can lead to performance throttling or automatic shutdowns to prevent hardware damage. To mitigate overheating, ensure proper ventilation by keeping the laptop on a hard, flat surface and regularly cleaning the air vents with compressed air. Avoid running high-intensity applications for prolonged periods, and consider using a cooling pad to help dissipate heat. If the problem persists, inspect the thermal paste on the CPU and GPU for degradation and reapply if necessary.

Why won’t my Windows 11 computer stay in sleep mode?

If your Windows 11 computer is waking from sleep mode unexpectedly, it might be due to scheduled tasks, peripheral devices, or network activity. To diagnose and fix, review the Power Options in the Control Panel for wake timers and disable them if active. Check the Device Manager for hardware like keyboards and mice, and in their properties under the Power Management tab, ensure “Allow this device to wake the computer” is unchecked. Lastly, adjust the network adapter settings to prevent the network from waking the PC.

How do I extend the screen timeout beyond the maximum limit provided in settings?

Extending the screen timeout beyond the system-provided maximum can be achieved through registry edits or command-line interventions. However, these methods should be approached with caution as they can affect system stability. Before proceeding, consider why a longer timeout is necessary and explore alternative solutions like setting the display to never turn off when plugged in, which can be done through the Power Options in the Control Panel.

Can excessive screen timeout settings lead to screen burn-in issues?

While modern displays are less prone to permanent burn-in, prolonged display of static images can lead to temporary image retention. To avoid this, use dynamic or changing backgrounds, enable screen savers, and utilize the built-in screen timeout settings to turn the display off when not in use. If you notice image retention, turning off the screen for a period or displaying varied content can help reverse the effects.

Is it possible to adjust screen brightness based on the time of day to reduce eye strain?

Windows incorporates features like Night Light to automatically adjust screen brightness and color temperature according to the time of day. This can help reduce eye strain, especially in low-light conditions. To enable and configure Night Light, go to Settings > System > Display > Night light settings, where you can schedule it and adjust the warmth of the screen color to reduce blue light exposure.

How do I ensure my screen timeout settings are consistent across different power plans?

To maintain consistency across power plans, you need to manually adjust the screen timeout settings for each plan. Navigate to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options, select each plan, and customize the screen timeout settings under Change plan settings. This ensures your preferences are applied regardless of the active power plan.

What’s the quickest way to toggle screen timeout settings without diving into system settings?

For rapid adjustments, creating desktop shortcuts to toggle power plans or specific settings can be efficient. Right-click on the desktop, select New > Shortcut, and use commands like powercfg /setactive [PlanGUID] to switch power plans quickly. Alternatively, third-party utilities may offer widgets or system tray icons for fast access to power settings.

Can changes to screen timeout settings impact my device’s battery life significantly?

Yes, screen timeout settings can significantly affect battery life. Shorter screen timeouts conserve energy by reducing the time the screen stays on when not actively used, while longer timeouts or disabling the timeout feature can lead to faster battery depletion. Balancing convenience with energy conservation through appropriate screen timeout settings is key to optimizing battery life.

How can I troubleshoot issues with screen timeout settings not being applied correctly?

If screen timeout settings aren’t taking effect, check for conflicts with third-party software, especially those with power management features. Ensure your graphics drivers and BIOS are up to date, as outdated drivers can sometimes cause issues with power settings. If problems persist, creating a new power plan might resolve any corrupted settings in the existing plan, restoring the ability to adjust and apply screen timeout preferences effectively.

Related: How to Check Battery Health with the Powercfg Battery Report

Battery life has become an important factor for users who want their laptops to be more portable than ever. Getting the most your battery is important, so you may need to check your battery life in Windows. In our other guide, we show you how to check battery life in Windows using the Powercfg battery report.
Windows 10: How to Check Battery Health with the Powercfg Battery Report

Related: How to Check for Laptop Battery Life Issues with the Powercfg Energy Report

Powercfg can do much more than just adjust your power settings. In our existing tutorial, we show you how to use it to create a report detailing your laptop’s battery health.


Last Updated on April 22, 2024 12:27 pm CEST by Markus Kasanmascheff

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.
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