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I wanted to install a package to monitor the temperature of my CPU called lm-sensorsInstall lm-sensors.

According to Synaptic, it's already installed.

Can someone give me some simple step-by-step instructions on how I can actually run it from the command line or otherwise?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 45 down vote accepted

Once lm-sensors is installed you need to reach for your terminal:


sudo sensors-detect

just press ENTER for everything it suggests (shown in Uppercase)

At the end it will ask you whether to add what it finds to /etc/modules. If you are happy with the findings type "yes".

More information about lm-sensors and how to tailor it for your system can be found on the lm-sensors installation wiki page



will display the values for the sensors detected previously.


Adapter: Virtual device
temp1:       +55.0°C  (crit = +90.0°C)
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+1 for sensors-detect, I got two extra sensors from it :) – Lekensteyn Jul 20 '11 at 8:21
Tip: use the watch command to see updates of the output of the sensors command in real time! Like so: $ watch sensors – oaskamay Feb 28 '13 at 21:15
Do NOT use sensors-detect! It can permanently damage your hardware! – Jop V. May 18 at 16:44
@JopV. - you need to read the article more carefully - the developers asked distro packagers to backport the stable version. That is what ubuntu did.… – fossfreedom May 18 at 18:03

lm-sensors Install lm-sensors

is a set of tools to control and view sensors that may be present on your hardware. Included are several applications that run from the command line:

  • sensors: shows the current readings of all sensor chips.
  • sensord: daemon to periodically log sensor readings to syslog
  • fancontrol: calculates fan speeds from temperatures and sets the corresponding PWM outputs
  • pwmconfig: tests the PWM outputs of sensors and configures fancontrol
  • and more (see lm-sensors documentation for details)

To run these programs open a terminal and type the name of the application (including optional parameters, see manpages for details). This will give an output similar as shown here for sensors:

~$ sensors

Adapter: PCI adapter
Core0 Temp:  +30.0°C                                    
Core0 Temp:  +30.0°C                                    
Core1 Temp:  +29.0°C                                    
Core1 Temp:  +36.0°C                                    

Adapter: ISA adapter
[...] # shortened

Configuration of lm-sensors is done by configuration files in /etc/sensors3.conf and in /etc/sensors.conf (for details see manpage for sensors.conf).

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+1 for introducing me to commands I didn't know about (fancontrol, pwmconfig) – jwernerny Jul 20 '11 at 12:32
@jwernerny: there are even more :) – Takkat Jul 20 '11 at 12:50

psensor Install psensor

I'm quite fond of psensor... it runs on the Indicator Bar (the "Systray" near the clock), so it is perhaps the most unobtrusive app that uses lm-sensors. It also can show a nice window with graphs displaying the history of each sensor, just like System Monitor does for memory, CPU usage, etc. It has logging too!

It also uses sensors other than lm-sensors, like hddtemp for HDD temperatures and NVidia and AMD GPU (video cards) temperature and fan.

enter image description here

Better screenshots than mine can be found in the author's website:

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xsensors Install xsensors

It has a graphical interface that is easy to understand. It shows me the motherboard voltages (there are four of them), the CPU and motherboard temperature as well as the CPU fan speed, the speed of three chassis fans and the power fan speed. All monitored in real time. And it loads into the the Unity Dash.

enter image description here


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