Turning screen off with "Access IBM" button

My trusty old T43 has a blue "Access IBM" button just above the F-key row that has sat unused ever since I first reinstalled windows. The other day while browsing the thinkpads.com forums I found an interesting use for this button: turning the screen off.

As time passes, I get more and more conscientious about taking care of my laptop. It recently occurred to me that I needlessly leave the screen on for hours on end, shortening the life of the CCFL backlight. My warranty ran out last year and I'm not planning on buying a new laptop in the near future, so I'm keen on taking good care of it. I could configure the different power plans to turn the display off after X minutes of being idle but the Lenovo Power Manager utility crashes each time I open it, and there is no update for that yet.

Plus, pressing the Access IBM button (which I never use anyway) and having the screen turn off, fading into black, is more fun.

On to the instructions; first we need an executable that turns the screen off and then we need to edit the registry so it is executed when the Access IBM button is pressed.

Executable

Registry edit

To make the Access IBM button do anything when pressed there needs to be a key in the registry for it. Create the following registry key if it doesn't exist
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\TPHOTKEY\8001
Inside this key create a new string value named "File". Double click on it and insert the path to the executable in the data field. In my case it was:
C:\\Scripts\\MonitorOff.exe
All done. Pressing the button now turns off the display (the laptop screen and any other display attached) and the ThinkLight. Moving the mouse or pressing a key on the keyboard turns the monitor(s) back on (not the ThinkLight).

Links

Solution: Using ThinkVantage button to turn off monitor - Thread at thinkpads.com forums with original instructions. Credit to yak, the author of MonitorOff.exe

ThinkPad Button - Information about the different Thinkpad buttons in existence at ThinkWiki

About johnny

Computers have interested me since I can remember and conveniently I studied computer science. I also enjoy performing in a local amateur theatre group and cycling. This is where I post solutions to problems I've had in the office or any other project, hopefully clearly enough to refer back to in the future.
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