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.
- MonitorOff.exe hosted here for posterity incase the original disappears
- MonitorOff.exe from yak, the original author
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
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:
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).
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