The Most Effective Ways To Reduce Laptop Overheating On Linux

Looking for ways to fix laptop overheating on Linux? Believe me, you are not the first to want to lower the temperature of a laptop running on Linux. In the summer season, the computer fan speed reaches insane speeds. If you’re using a laptop, the bottom of it gets incredibly hot. You may be wondering if it’s possible to prevent a laptop from overheating, and I’m going to tell you a couple of solutions to this hot problem. They may even be able to completely remove the annoying factor (which, frankly, is almost impossible).

Reducing the heat on laptops running Linux

We will look at a number of tools that you can use to control the CPU temperature, monitor applications and their influence on the temperature. We also use a number of control programs that you can install and forget about them, as well as consider the best practices for preventing heating. The tips listed here should apply to all Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Arch Linux, elementary OS, etc. They should also work on all laptops, such as HP, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, etc. I used them on an Acer laptop in conjunction with Ubuntu.

Tools you can install to prevent laptops from overheating on Linux


TLP — my favorite tool for power management in Linux. This is a control program that is pre-configured to prevent overheating and extend the life of the battery. It will start running in the background every time you start the system. I have always included TLP in the lists of programs that should be installed immediately after installing Ubuntu, for its usefulness and simplicity.

To install TLP on Ubuntu-based distributions, use the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw

If you are using a ThinkPad‘s, then you will need an extra step:

sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-dkms

Restart the system after installation. For installation instructions on other Linux distributions, see here.

The feeling of work should change in a couple of hours or even days. To delete the TLP, you can use the following commands:

sudo apt-get remove tlp sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:linrunner/tlp


Linux thermal Daemon (thermald), developed by the Open Source division of Intel, monitors and manages the CPU temperature, which leads to a decrease in the overall temperature of the device. Thermald is available on Ubuntu and can be installed with the following command:

sudo apt-get install thermald

It should also be available in the repositories of other distributions. As users say, TLP and Thermald do not conflict, that is, they can be installed and run in parallel. You can read about how to enable intel p_state here.

Laptop Mode Tools

Laptop Mode Tools — this is a power-saving tool for Linux that allows you to configure yourself in different ways in order to increase the battery life. You may ask why we are talking about battery life in the article about overheating? The fact is that when your laptop is running in energy-saving mode, it heats up less. Therefore, this tool not only extends the battery life, but also reduces the heat level. Laptop Mode Tools and TLP do not work well together, so you will have to remove TLP before installing Laptop Mode Tools .

To install Laptop Mode Tools on Ubuntu-based distributions, you can use the following PPA from WebUpd8:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/unstable sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install laptop-mode-tools

It also has a graphical interface that allows you to easily configure the tool. To run the GUI, use this command:

gksu lmt-config-gui


With CPUfreq, you can choose which mode the laptop will run in. There are 3 modes: preformance, on demand and power saver. The Power saver mode reduces the heating level. It is convenient to work with the tool, since it has a visual applet in Ubuntu. To install CPUfreq on Linux-based distributions, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq

Once the program is installed, simply select the Power Saver mode in the applet.

As far as I know, CPUfreq does not conflict with TLP. Also, it should not conflict with Thermald and Laptop Mode Tools (that is, they can be put together, but without TLP).

Which of these tools is better to use?? The answer depends on the user. I usually put TLP with CPUfreq. You can try everything in turn and so understand what is more suitable. The easiest way to track changes in operation is to use the computer’s temperature monitoring tools. Next, we’ll look at what temperature monitoring tools you can use.

We monitor the temperature of the computer

If you plan to install or have already installed one (or more) of the tools described above, try to find the difference between the temperature before and after installation under the same operating conditions. Monitoring the hardware temperature is also useful when a particular application that consumes too much CPUcauses the computer to overheat. At times, some applications consume too much CPU. If such applications are removed, it may well help with cooling.

To monitor the temperature, we will use Psensor. Psensor is a tool with a graphical interface that allows you to monitor the temperature of the CPU, GPU and hard disk, as well as the speed of the fan. It displays the information we are interested in in real time.

Before installing Psensor, you will need to do a couple more things. First, apply this command:

sudo apt-get install lm-sensors hddtemp

Then start identifying the hardware sensors:

sudo sensors-detect

Once everything is done, use the following command to install Psensor:

sudo apt-get install psensor

In Ubuntu, Psensor also has an applet for quick access to display information.

Looking for a malicious app

Sometimes literally one program or process can start consuming CPU. When your If the CPU is 100% busy, this leads to overheating, which manifests itself in the fact that you begin to hear the increased operation of the fan.

Anything can be malicious. For example, a browser tab with a script that consumes too many resources or a crazy applet. For example, in Ubuntu 16.04, there was a Samba vulnerability that consumed 100% of the CPU.

If your computer suddenly starts to warm up and make noise, then this is a sure indicator that there is a similar application somewhere.

Open the terminal and enter:


This command opens a list of tasks that are particularly relevant to the CPU. At the top, you will see what consumes the most CPU. We need to find what consumes 60-100% of the CPU.

For example, in the screenshot below, Firefox consumes 250% of the CPU. This is strange.

If there is such a process, find its ID and kill it. The kill command can be used like this:

sudo kill -9 pid_number

If the program is constantly consuming an insane amount of CPU, you may need to find an alternative to it. It happens that certain versions of programs contain bugs or problems interacting with memory. Until they are fixed, it is better not to use such software.

Try a lighter working environment

If your laptop is hard to call modern, maybe it just doesn’t pull the current GNOME or Unity desktop environment. Obviously, if the CPU is always at the limit, then overheating can not be avoided. I’m not a fan of this kind of output, but if there is a possibility of switching to something easier, then pay attention to LXDE or XFCE.

To install XFCE on Ubuntu, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

LXDE can be installed via Ubuntu Center. For other distributions, refer to the Wiki and forums for installation instructions. As soon as you set up the working environment, log out and select the workspace you are interested in in my logging.

Best practices for preventing overheating

So far, we have only managed to talk about software solutions to the problem of overheating. Now let’s go through the hardware part. There are several basic practices that, if performed regularly, can reduce the temperature of the computer.

Do not place laptops on the fabric

I understand that a laptop, alsoknown as a laptop (lap, from the English lap-knees, top-top), is designed to put it on your knees, but it is not recommended to use a laptop this way. If you turn the laptop over, you will see that its bottom should always be slightly raised relative to the surface, for which there are legs (white squares in the picture above). This is done so that the computer can suck in air for cooling. As soon as you put the laptop on your lap, the air flow is blocked, which leads to heat.

If you use a computer in bed, putting it on the blanket, then you know-it’s better not to dothis . So you not only block the air flow, but allow it to suck in the fabric material and everything that is on the bed, which then settles inside, including on the fan. This is added to the total temperature anyway. What should I do in this case?

If you want to know my opinion, I, for example, always use a computer on a flat surface, regardless of the place of work. In fact, I’m putting in a large calendar that was given to me at work. It suits me. If you have the opportunity to spend money, you can buy a special cooling stand, it will not only reduce the heating, but also take a certain number of degrees.

Clean your laptop occasionally

In the section above, we discussed that the computer gets dust and materials that are later deposited there, and this clearly affects the temperature that the computer dials when working. Look at the bottom of the laptop, especially where the air should pass through. Isn’t it packed? What does the fan sound like? Is it making a lot of noise? If so, it’s time to clean it.

And now for the difficult part. If you are an experienced user and confident enough, you can try to take a screwdriver and clean the places where you think the air is blocked. If you are not sure, then it is better not to do it yourself, as you can severely damage the device. In such situations, it is better to turn to professionals. Look for computer equipment cleaning specialists nearby. Such operations once a year will provide the computer with a long life and protection from overheating. If you want to do self-cleaning, I recommend that you carefully prepare.

What do you think?

Software or hardware. You can combine approaches to reduce the operating temperature of the computer. As mentioned earlier, such solutions are not able to completely remove the heat, but they can significantly reduce the temperature. Now you know what to do if your laptop overheats.

This is a very detailed article, but we are always happy to hear your advice, so feel free to share it with us.


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