How can I suspend or hibernate my laptop using command line, without installing additional software?


13 Answers 13


Traditionally ubuntu supported a fairly blunt method of suspend and hibernate. Neither would integrate well with other apps and sometimes not even work on some machines. This new method doesn't require root and notifies all applications listening for power events.

Systemd Method

Starting with Ubuntu 16.04, systemctl call must be used (See Suspend command in Ubuntu 16.04)

systemctl suspend


systemctl hibernate

New Method (obsolete)

Obsolete circa Ubuntu 16.04; use systemctl instead, as above.

See the answer here on this page from Adam Paetznick regarding the use of dbus. Ideally you would create a ~/bin/suspend shortcut/script that makes the use of this action easy.

For use over ssh, you should modify policykit rules as outlined by Peter V. Mørch

Old Method

According to the Ubuntu Forum you can use the following commands:

pmi action suspend


pmi action hibernate

This requires that you install the powermanagement-interface package (not tested).

sudo apt-get install powermanagement-interface

I have also found the commands sudo pm-suspend and sudo pm-hibernate to work on my netbook.

  • 26
    pm-suspend and pm-hibernate works for me and it's easy. Requires sudo but that's OK. (Found pmi idea before but installing a package to use suspend is well bad...)
    – user1034
    Aug 9 '10 at 20:52
  • 1
    Note that you have to apt-get install powermanagement-interface to run pmi.
    – nealmcb
    Feb 10 '12 at 1:47
  • 1
    On 11.10 only pm-* works, also with powermanagament-interface added
    – Omegafil
    Feb 13 '12 at 9:56
  • 1
    doesn't work with my ubuntu 12.10. after apt-get install powermanagement-interface
    – somethis
    Jun 2 '13 at 9:37
  • 1
    new method is now broken see unix.stackexchange.com/questions/153099/…
    – ijk
    Apr 3 '15 at 18:28

The gnome-friendly way is to use dbus.

dbus-send --system --print-reply \
    --dest="org.freedesktop.UPower" \
    /org/freedesktop/UPower \

There are two advantages to this command over pm-suspend.

  1. It will lock your screen (upon resume) if you have that option selected in gnome.

  2. It does not require root privilege, so it is easy to add it as a keyboard shortcut, for example.

As mentioned in the comments exchanging the Suspend in the last line to Hibernate creates a hibernate command:

dbus-send --system --print-reply \
    --dest="org.freedesktop.UPower" \
    /org/freedesktop/UPower \

If the hibernation throws Error org.freedesktop.UPower.GeneralError: not authorized your user might not be allowed to hibernate. Edit or create /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/com.ubuntu.enable-hibernate.pkla so it contains the following section: (source)

[Re-enable hibernate by default]

This was tested on UbuntuGnome 14.04.

Note: This is basically the same as qbi's answer, but updated to work for newer versions of Ubuntu as well as including hibernate.

  • 17
    Your answer really should be first. It's non-root no-packages-to-be-installed gnome way of doing it. Like!
    – turbo
    Jun 7 '12 at 16:26
  • 12
    To Hibernate, you can simply replace the last line with org.freedesktop.UPower.Hibernate
    – Sheharyar
    Aug 11 '13 at 8:46
  • 2
    on my 13.10 it does work. however, the screen is not locked upon resume, even though in "Security and Privacy", "Require my password when waking from Suspend" is activated.
    – andreas-h
    Feb 22 '14 at 12:24
  • 6
    Didn't work for me (Gnome 3.12, Ubuntu 14.04). Seems the [UPower.Suspend] interface was removed, according to bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-power-manager/+bug/…
    – Gui Ambros
    May 25 '14 at 14:09
  • 7
    Suspend interface was moved to logind; askubuntu.com/questions/652978 Aug 6 '15 at 7:52


If you want your computer to suspend in one hour because you want to go to bed listening to your favorite radio station, open terminal and type:

sudo bash -c "sleep 1h; pm-suspend"

and your computer will fall asleep in 1 hour. When you awake, it will have kept your open images and all your stuff.

You can replace 1h by what you want: h for hours, m for minutes, s for seconds, d for days.

Good night!


Si vous voulez juste que votre ordinateur se mette en veille dans une heure parce que vous voulez vous endormir en ecoutant votre radio préférée, ouvrez Terminal et tapez :

sudo bash -c "sleep 1h; pm-suspend"

et votre ordinateur s'endormira dans une heure. Quand vous vous réveillerez, il aura conservé en mémoire vos applications ouvertes.

Vous pouvez remplacer 1h par ce que vous voulez: h pour les heures, m pour les minutes, s pour les secondes, d pour les jours.

Bonne nuit!


Si quieres suspender tu computadora en una hora porque quieres ir a dormir escuchando tu estación de radio favorita, tan solo abre el terminal y escribe:

sudo bash -c "sleep 1h; pm-suspend"

y tu computadora se quedará dormida en 1 hora. Cuando despiertes, allí habrán quedado abiertas tus imágenes y todas tus cosas.

Puedes reemplazar 1h por lo que desees: h para horas, m para minutos, s para segundos, d para días.

¡Buenas noches!

  • That's my use case I'm looking for! AFIK pm-* can be run without superuser permissions
    – ruX
    Jul 28 '14 at 22:49
  • evidently, this solution needs the pm-utils suite: apt-get install -y pm-utils :-) Jun 28 at 5:02

To get Hibernation:

sudo pm-hibernate

To get Suspend:

sudo pm-suspend
  • "sudo pm-suspend" not working on mint 13 mate :(
    – rsjethani
    Nov 23 '12 at 10:16
  • Yeah I think that package was not installed . look for those packages in synaptic.
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Nov 23 '12 at 17:34
  • 2
    The drawback of this method is that if you are using the GUI, pm-suspend will NOT block your session, which can be insecure. Feb 18 '15 at 12:48
  • 1
    It works on ubuntu 15.10, too.
    – Searene
    Dec 18 '15 at 4:29
  • 1
    works on 14.04 lts Feb 26 '16 at 16:58

You can use the file /sys/power/state to do this. First find out what states are supported:

user@linux:_> cat /sys/power/state
standby mem disk

root@linux:~> echo -n mem > /sys/power/state  # suspend to ram
root@linux:~> echo -n disk > /sys/power/state  # suspend to disk

or via dbus:

# Suspend dbus-send --session --dest=org.gnome.PowerManager \ --type=method_call --print-reply --reply-timeout=2000 \ /org/gnome/PowerManager org.gnome.PowerManager.Suspend #Hibernate dbus-send --session --dest=org.gnome.PowerManager \ --type=method_call --print-reply --reply-timeout=2000 \ /org/gnome/PowerManager org.gnome.PowerManager.Hibernate

According to this entry in launchpad the above interface was removed. So it would not work anymore in Ubuntu.

  • First idea gives me: "bash: echo: write error: Invalid argument" Dbus idea gives output: "Error org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.UnknownMethod: Method "Suspend" with signature "" on interface "org.gnome.PowerManager" doesn't exist"
    – user1034
    Aug 9 '10 at 20:58
  • I added a small explanation to the /sys/power/state-thing. Furthermore the dbus method was removed from Ubuntu so it won't work anymore.
    – qbi
    Aug 9 '10 at 21:45
  • $ sudo echo -n mem > /sys/power/state - bash: /sys/power/state: Permission denied
    – Hubro
    Aug 24 '14 at 21:01
  • 4
    This works great. For people having problems with this method when using sudo, the "pipe to file", aka ">" is running in your current shell, so it doesn't get super user privileges while your echo did. You'll need to use sudo -i first, or pipe to sudo tee like so: echo mem | sudo tee /sys/power/state Sep 1 '14 at 4:22

since 15.04 systemD is the standard init system so there is a new command to be used:

systemctl suspend
  • I'm using Xubuntu 15.04. The command systemctl suspend does suspend the computer, but it does not cause the screen to be locked, even though I've checked the "Lock screen when system is going for sleep" checkbox in Settings -> Power Manager -> Security. Anyone have any idea why? Apr 10 '16 at 13:28
  • I've upgraded to Xubuntu 16.04. The command systemctl suspend still suspends the computer. Now, it also causes the screen to be locked, if and only if the "Lock screen when system is going for sleep" checkbox in Settings -> Power Manager -> Security is checked. Jun 22 '16 at 18:54

To suspend a system (14.04) from the command line (or keyboard shortcut) use:

dbus-send --system --print-reply --dest="org.freedesktop.login1" /org/freedesktop/login1 org.freedesktop.login1.Manager.Suspend boolean:true

I found this out by playing around with gdbus which can list the interfaces available:

To list the services available on the bus:

dbus-send --system --dest=org.freedesktop.DBus --type=method_call --print-reply /org/freedesktop/DBus org.freedesktop.DBus.ListNames

To find the methods:

gdbus introspect --system --dest org.freedesktop.login1 --object-path /org/freedesktop/login1 --recurse

Adam Paetznick's dbus-send answer didn't work as purported for me on lucid; the machine woke up unlocked, even though the gnome-power-manager is set to lock the screen on wake-up. I want the screen to be locked at wake-up, and found that the following does that:

$ gnome-screensaver-command --lock && pmi action hibernate

I imagine this does not depend on the gnome configuration, but I haven't tested that.

  • Nice. Or xscreensaver-command --lock as the case may be. Mar 4 '17 at 1:49

New interface

…which works in 15.10 Wily, and possibly Utopic and Vivid.

dbus-send --print-reply --system                         \
    --dest=org.freedesktop.login1                        \
    /org/freedesktop/login1                              \
    org.freedesktop.login1.Manager.Suspend boolean:true

Helpfully this doesn't require sudo, unlike the pm-suspend command.

  • My XPS 13 9350 with Debian/Gnome was with suspend/hibernate issues when closing the lid. After running this command (and the equivalent for hibernation), it went successfully into suspension (and hibernation) and now closing and opening the lid work as expected! Dec 25 '16 at 18:29

Here's how to put a remote machine in standby over ssh:

ssh -t 'sudo nohup &>/dev/null bash -c "(sleep 1; echo -n mem >/sys/power/state) &"'
x@'s password: 
[sudo] password for x: 
Connection to closed.

/sys/power/state works in Ubuntu 13.10. pmi gives Dbus error.


Personally, I've been experimenting with the pmi method. However, when I tried this, I got an error message: Error org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.Spawn.ChildExited: Launch helper exited with unknown return code 1. However, there is a workaround in the 3rd comment of this bug report, which seems to have worked for me (I'm using Ubuntu 13.03).

  • Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – fossfreedom
    Aug 31 '13 at 7:37

Update for those who, like me, still work on KDE/Ubuntu 14.04 systems. To lock use qdbus, and to suspend use dbus. Full command:

qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver Lock && dbus-send --system --print-reply --dest="org.freedesktop.UPower" /org/freedesktop/UPower org.freedesktop.UPower.Suspend

To hibernate, i.e. suspend to harddisk instead of RAM, replace 'Suspend' at the end of the command by 'Hibernate'.

To just lock the screen without suspending, xscreensaver-command -lock will work, IF you type only 1 hyphen for the '-lock' option, and only if the screensaver is running. Actually not a very useful command. Using i3lock is easier, but then you will not get a neat login dialog to get back to work, as you will when using qdbus.


The following works for me on 16.04 (with Gnome desktop):

gnome-screensaver-command --lock && compsleep

I have also installed it as a custom keyboard shortcut via the Gnome settings panel as keys "Shift-Super-X".

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