This is probably one of the simplest apps I’ve written about. BlackTop accomplishes a basic but useful task: a quick press of the Ctrl+Alt+B keyboard shortcut will immediately send your monitor into a power saving mode, which is almost the equivalent to turning it off. As you can see in the screenshot above there really isn’t much of an interface, but it does have a System Tray icon so that you can quit the utility at any time.
There are a couple of things I’d like to be able to do with this app though. For starters it would be nice to be able to customize the keyboard shortcut. Even more useful, however, might be the ability to run custom commands when the keyboard shortcut is issued in addition to just turning off the monitor. For example, it would be nice if I could lock my machine and turn off the monitor with one keyboard shortcut. Also being able to run some custom scripts would be useful so that I could, for example, have my instant messenger application close upon activation. Though I’d probably want to have the instant messenger program open up again automatically when I return so a section for scripts to run upon return would be awesome, too. Hopefully the developer will consider taking the app even further with some of these features.
Given how little this app actually does I’m sure you’d want to make sure it’s not a memory hog, and I can confirm that it’s not. It uses just 3MB while it is running in the background waiting for you to issue the magic keyboard shortcut.
BlackTop Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)