I am trying to set both cores in my cpu to userspace governor by editing the contents of




to be userspace.

But after half of a minute, automatically, the content of the "cpu0" file changes back to "performance" and often jumps between "performance" and "powersave", while the content of the "cpu1" file remains "userspace".

$ cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/scaling_governor
$ cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor
$ cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

I was wondering

  1. why the "cpu0" file is edited automatically back,
  2. if it means that manually modifying its content is bad for some reason?
  3. Anyway to manually change its content to be "userspace"?

Thanks and regards!

2 Answers 2


You don't normally set it to userspace manually; you run a user space governor and it takes over. What userspace governor are you wanting to run and why?

As for why it keeps changing back, you must be running another program that is changing it.

  • Thanks! (1) I want to change my cpu frequency to be fixed at 800MHz, by selecting it on CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor 2.30.0 shown in the panel. But for cpu0, after half a minute, it changes back to performance or powersave and therefore cpu frequency can be dynamically changed. So will setting the governor of cpu0 to userspace solve my problem? (2) How shall I "run a user space governor and it takes over"? What program I must be running to change the governer for cpu0? (3) For cpu1, why does editing /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/scaling_governor is enough unlike cpu0? Thanks!
    – Tim
    Apr 8, 2011 at 16:31
  • Changing the frequency with the frequency scaling monitor sets the governor to userspace. If it is changing back, then you have something else running on your system that is changing it. Also most systems can not change each cpu independent of the others; changing one changes them all.
    – psusi
    Apr 8, 2011 at 18:24
  • Thanks! (1) How can I know what is the something that changes it? (2) In my case, cpu1 can be changed, while cpu0 cannot.
    – Tim
    Apr 8, 2011 at 18:29

So is your question how can you manually change your all of your cpu's to run at a certain scaling frequency? If so I have 2 options you can choose from.

1 -- Change the "/etc/init.d/ondemand" file that sets the initial cpu frequency to "your_choice" after the system boots up. By default Ubuntu chooses to set your cpu's at the frequency ondemand using this file. To change this, open the file and look for the code:

echo -n ondemand > $CPUFREQ

All you have to change is the word "ondemand" to your choice, for example I use "conservative" to cut down on some heat from my CPU. My code looks like this:

echo -n conservative > $CPUFREQ

Also if you notice 3 lines above our selected code, it says "sleep 60". This just means that 60 seconds after your computer boots up it will execute this file and change the CPU frequency.

2 -- Taking a reference from the "/etc/init.d/ondemand" file you can manually change the CPU frequency through a terminal command. If you don't want to restart the computer this a great command. Create an empty file somewhere on your desktop and fill it with this:

for CPUFREQ in /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu*/cpufreq/scaling_governor
    [ -f $CPUFREQ ] || continue
    echo -n conservative > $CPUFREQ

Make sure and change the frequency to what you want and all you have to do is open a terminal and type (without quotes) "sudo sh name_of_file". Type your password in and your done!

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