What Can You Do When Nearby Electronic Devices Turn Off a Laptop’s Display?


When we are working on our laptops, we tend to keep other devices like our mobile phones nearby for easy access and use, but what do you do when devices in close proximity start causing the laptop’s display to turn off? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answer to a frustrated reader’s question.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader waivek wants to know how to stop nearby electronic devices from turning off his laptop’s display:

About six months ago, the display on my Toshiba laptop started turning off whenever I placed my mobile phone or sound bar next to it. If I move them away, the display turns back on. How can I fix this so that I can keep other devices next to my laptop?

How do you stop nearby electronic devices from turning off a laptop’s display?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Rahul2001 has the answer for us:

Most laptops have something known as a Reed Switch. This is an electronic component that switches the display on or off. Your display lid has a magnet, and whenever the lid comes down, the switch detects it and switches the display off to save power. It looks like this switch is detecting the magnets in your mobile phone and sound bar speaker.

Since this issue has just started recently, it probably means that your switch has gone bad or become displaced. This can happen over time, especially if you dropped your laptop or knocked it against something. Here is what you can do:

Method 1 (Easy)

This way your laptop display will not switch off if you put the lid down, but other magnets will not turn it off either.

  • Click the Start (Windows) Button
  • Type Power Options and press enter
  • In the left hand pane, click Choose what closing the lid does
  • Under When I close the lid, select Do nothing (you can do this for battery or plugged-in modes, or both)
  • Click Save Changes

Method 2 (Difficult and Potentially Expensive)

This way your laptop display will still switch off if you put the lid down.

  • Open your laptop up or take it to a repair shop. Have them take out the reed switch or replace it with a less sensitive one
  • If your laptop has multiple switches, you can take the one nearest the space bar out

Method 3 (For Hardcore DIY Enthusiasts and PC Building Geeks)

Do this if the issue persists even after replacing the switch. This way your laptop display will still switch off if you put the lid down, but your mobile phone will not trigger it.

  • Open your laptop up
  • Use wires to extend the connections and place the reed switch elsewhere
  • Open the lid up and place the magnet correspondingly

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Image Credit: Johan Larsson (Flickr)

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