Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Recently I've noticed that the fan on my laptop stops for ~1 second every 8 seconds or so then continues to work as normal. I've uploaded a recording of this here [dropbox]

Has anyone experienced this before and found a solution? Equally, is this a bug?

share|improve this question
It would be useful if you could inform us what kind of machine it is. Does this behaviour occur all the time? What happens when the machine is busy and gets hot? – Colin Ian King Nov 20 '12 at 0:14
It's a HP Pavilion G6 laptop. 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 Processor. When I play graphics heavy games the problem goes away and the fan runs at a consistent high speed. It's just when the laptop isn't doing much that the fan does this. – jackweirdy Nov 20 '12 at 1:19

Well, if its in the same boat as this then you may be looking at something not many may truly have an answer for. You can: Check the BIOS for fan speed settings or anything that will affect it and try different ones. For instance, running the laptop in performance mode will increase fan usage. Check for a new BIOS firmware on the manufactures website. Check sensor temperatures, control fan speeds. Instructions here. See here for a discussion on fan cycling. Notably that it can be caused by hardware issues, dust, air flow. Also that you can try other graphics drivers if its that fan causing the problem (or perhaps different settings in the drivers settings program. I would add though, that if it was a laptop that came with Windows installed then the BIOS could have problems working 100% with Linux. If its a linux bug or driver related then an attempt in trying a different OS such as Windows could determine that. Restarting. Shutdown and waiting a few hours may determine if its heat related.

share|improve this answer

This does not sound like a bug, given that you state that the fan runs 100% while you're playing games or doing other demanding things. It's probably shutting the fan down once the system drops below a certain temperature.

For the most part you could consider this a feature not a bug - lower overall power usage - although if it happens LOTS AND LOTS, startup current involved in bringing the fan up completely from stop might cost more than just spinning the fan very slowly. Still, for the most part, this sounds like something you can safely chalk up as "slightly quirky, but not an actual problem" and ignore.

share|improve this answer
It happens near enough constantly - even now when I'm browsing the net and doing all sorts of other (admittedly lightweight) processing. More than anything my worry is that the persistent stopping and starting of the fan will kill the motor :s – jackweirdy Nov 25 '12 at 22:28

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.