I find it annoying when I forget to stop videos before closing my laptop and then having sound playing when opening it in public.

I tried to add the following script to /lib/systemd/system-sleep:


amixer -q -D pulse sset Master mute

echo 2 >> /home/user/test

The script seems to be called when suspending, as new lines are being appended to the test file (twice, which might indicate that the script also runs on resume - can someone confirm this assumption?).

Either the sound system re-enables itself automatically or something else is wrong. But the amixer command, when executed manually, works fine.

Any ideas?

  • One event is closing lid and another one is to suspend, exactly one should be the trigger to mute? If suspend I would put pactl set-sink-mute @DEFAULT_SINK@ true on /lib/systemd/system-sleep/ Jan 4, 2020 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


You can mute the sound before suspend by creating a systemd service.

  • First, make sure that your script is executable:

    chmod u+x /path/to/your/script.sh
  • Then, create a systemd service that runs your script, by running:

    sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/mute_before_sleep.service
  • In the nano window enter the following:

    Description=Mute sound before suspend

    In ExecStart= enter the path to your script and in User= enter your username.

  • Save and close nano by pressing Ctrl+O and then Ctrl+X.

  • Finally, enable the service:

    sudo systemctl enable mute_before_sleep.service

TL;DR: excution environment is different, hence amixer command returns an error

The script seems to be called when suspending as new lines are being appended to the "test" file

Yes, it runs, but I've tested your script and the amixer command returns an error (reviewed with sudo journalctl -b -u systemd-suspend.service):

Jan 04 18:46:49 administrator-PC systemd-sleep[12969]: ALSA lib control.c:1373:(snd_ctl_open_noupdate) Invalid CTL pulse
Jan 04 18:46:49 administrator-PC systemd-sleep[12969]: amixer: Mixer attach pulse error: No such file or directory

The issue appears to be the -D pulse part. But simpler command amixer -q set Master mute works. After resume my laptop has the volume muted, error no longer appears.

twice - which might indicate that the script also runs on resume - can someone confirm this assumption?

Yes, the script runs twice - once on suspend and once on resume; the scripts run with two positional parameters per systemd-sleep(8) and Arch Wiki article. The full script I've used is listed below (note, the parts which call echo and date aren't particularly relevant and were for debugging only; they may be safely removed from the script):


# this will go into journalctl log
case $1/$2 in
  pre/*) amixer -q set Master mute; { echo Suspending; date >> /suspend_log.txt;}  ;;  
  post/*) { echo "Waking up from $2..."; date;} >> /suspend_log.txt ;;
  *) echo foobar;;

As for the reason why the original amixer command works when you run it manually, likely stems from the fact that when systemd runs the script, there is no DISPLAY variable present in environment. By contrast when you use a GUI terminal emulator the variable is present, hence the original command works. The original command can be adapted to use the environment variable via

DISPLAY=:0 amixer -q -D pulse sset Master mute

but I'd still recommend using amixer -q set Master mute as environment-independent command.

  • I don't seem to get any errors from amixer on Ubuntu 18.04. Could this be specific to your system? Jan 4, 2020 at 11:16
  • @user3140225 I just updated the answer to explain why it returns an error. Execution environment is missing the DISPLAY variable , which is present when you run amixer command in GUI, but will be missing from system scripts unless explicitly declared. It will also be missing if you're using system via ssh login or tty login. Try testing OP's original command again in tty1 for example. Jan 4, 2020 at 11:18
  • Yeah, I hadn't noticed the edit. Nice explanation and good answer. Upvoted! Jan 4, 2020 at 11:22

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