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This question already has an answer here:

Is there a simple setting to allow a MacBook to continue running with the lid shut? All signs that I found pointed to no supposedly due to concerns about overheating, but when docked, a MBP is able to be used if the monitor and keyboard are plugged in.

My use case would be running a terminal command that takes awhile, leaving my desk, locking my account, and closing the lid to keep nosy people out.

marked as duplicate by Ruskes, bmike Jan 3 '15 at 1:02

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After looking a little further, I found what I was looking for on this page: How can I prevent my Macbook Pro 2011 from going to sleep when I close the lid?

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No. I have run mine with external display, for presentation purposes, but you need something like this.

Why not just lock the display.

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