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I have a bunch of live tiles that are handy to glance at to tell me what meetings to go to - this is great, but when my phone is on my desk on charge, but it doesn't seem possible to set a different time out when on mains (or plugged into a PC) versus when it's running on battery?

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Yes, and you can do this in Settings > lock + wallpaper > Screen times out after. But not all phones supports this action. I know Nokia Lumia 800 have max time out limit of 5 minutes. Also remember this action is not specific when charging.

See how in this video.

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    This isn't what Rowland was asking.
    – Alec Mev
    Apr 26 '12 at 19:50
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    This only lets you set a single global setting, not have different settings for on power/on battery
    – Rowland Shaw
    Apr 26 '12 at 19:51

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