Since the Productivity Center will be discontinued in Windows 7, I was looking for a different things I could launch using the ThinkVantage button. This should be something started pretty frequently. Since I like to leave my laptop working I often use the Fn+F3 shortcut to turn the monitor off (I have it set to do it immediately instead of showing the power schemes OSD). And because using a key combination will never be as easy as using one button, I decided to assign the same function to the big blue key.
So, the tool started by the ThinkVantage button is set in Windows registry:
This of course requires the Hotkey Features to be installed. However, the 8001 key won't exist if Productivity Center wasn't installed. In that case it has to be created manually. The key should contain one string value named "File", which is set to the path of the program to start when ThinkVantage is pressed.
To make it do the same thing as Fn+F3, the File has to be set to:
This exe is installed with the Power Manager so it has to be installed for this to work. Note also that I was testing this on Windows 7 so the V in the filename probably stands for Vista, on XP it may simply be PwmOSD.exe, I'm not sure.
There is one problem with this solution. If the Fn+F3 is set in Power Manager to pop up the power schemes list, the ThinkVantage will do the same. And since I could now easily turn the screen off using the ThinkVantage button, I wanted the Fn+F3 to pop up the schemes list.
To solve this, I started looking for a small tool that would just shut the monitor down. Such a tool could then easily be assigned to the ThinkVantage button. I found one called MonOff
This worked but I wasn't 100% satisfied as this is a command line tool (for unknown reason as it doesn't have any arguments nor does it print anything to the console) which means it opens a black command line window each time it is started.
Because turning the screen off in C/C++ is dead easy
, I rolled my own:MonitorOff.exe
This does the same but without opening any windows. Simply save it anywhere and put the path to it into the File value of the 8001 registry key.
Now lets see what Lenovo comes up with for this key in Windows 7... until then at least I'm going to prolong my screen's life using it