Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ubuntu: Overheating Fix

[Update] Caution: Before reading the rest part of the fix (which is mainly the software side), be sure that the overheating is NOT caused by hardware problem. I have just performed a thorough cleaning inside my another DELL notebook, especially the fan (two years running without opening). I've found a thick layer of fluffy and dark dust, which was the major fact why my notebook is extremely hot and can't cool down properly. After that, every thing works like a charm. See how I cleaned the fan of a SONY vaio (step-by-step pics, link).

I was running Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit on a Sony vaio equipped with an Intel Mobile GM965 VGA card. It was said that a non-proprietary GPU driver caused the overheating, on which Ubuntu shuts down for security (>crit). Mine is loaded with i915 driver for video card (not the case here, Intel, however, launches their open Linux drivers via

To see your CPU temp,

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexeftimie/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lm-sensors indicator-sysmonitor

The System Indicator Monitoris shown on the panel, go to its Preferences, select the sensors for temperature and Add selected sensors. I prefer this tiny indicator. Also, you can type at the terminal


to get the following result

Adapter: Virtual device
temp1:        +49.0°C  (crit = +94.0°C)

Adapter: ISA adapter
Core 0:       +41.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +90.0°C)
Core 2:       +47.0°C  (high = +80.0°C, crit = +90.0°C)

Before applying the fix provided below, it would run up to 90+ Celsius degree then inevitably the automatic shutdown follows.

Fix Confirmed

The fix is to add few lines to let Ubuntu load several modules at the booting time,

sudo vi /etc/modules

Append these lines and reboot,


Open your monitor to track the CPU temp again. This time, when it rises high (>60) you feel the fan cooling off the CPU. The indicator monitor coincides with such change. Although it stays at 40+ when there is no engagement.

I've tried lm-sensors + sensors-dectect + pwmconfig + fancontrol, without success.

From time to time, I find many fixes are always tiny but magic, whilst a lengthy workaround doesn't help us out. The more steps are, the less compatible a fix might be.

Personally, I believe 11.04 is much better in its user interface than that of 12.04.

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