I am using Ubuntu 12.04 and Bitcoin client v0.8.6.0-g03a7d67-beta and Qt version 4.8.1 as the GUI.

My CPU is heating up and is automaticly shutting down after 30 minutes and sometimes after many hours. This is occurring both while synchronising with the block-chain or while reindexing the blocks on disk.

After the CPU overheating my laptop (Dell Inspiron R15) switches off and has corrupted my sync. Other users have mentioned to start by typing in terminal bitcoin-qt -reindex. At the the end of the index around week17 my CPU overheats again.

Reading around I found topics about switching off the "generate bitcoin" option inside the bitcoin.conf file but on my Ubuntu (including hidden files) I can not find that file.

Any tips or help on this overheating issue? I have also posted this on bitcoin Stackexchange.

  • The configuration file should be in a hidden file in your home directory - press Ctrl + H in file browser - inside ~/.bitcoin - there is a manual page here - at a guess, it says to use the gen option : gen=['0'|'1'] Enable or disable attempt to generate bitcoins – Wilf Dec 14 '13 at 15:55
  • @Wilf I did check the hidden files but I still can not see it. In case I have to create it myself using for example gedit. Do I just insert and save the following line in my newly created bitcoin.conf file?: gen=[0] – Jonathan Rogiest Dec 14 '13 at 16:11
  • 1
    Just run mkdir ~/bitcoin and echo 'gen=[0]' > ~/bitcoin/bitcoin.conf to make the config file. I do recommend @Adrian 's answer, but you could check the temperature and the critical temperatures in lm-sensors as well. – Wilf Dec 14 '13 at 16:34

Adrian's answer is valid and is looking at it from a potential root cause. But my preferred answer was a work around that got answered in the bitcoin stackexchange

Direct Quote:

Using bitcoin-qt you can go into Helps->Debug Window->Console and then type

setgenerate false

By default it should already be false so my guess is that you have a fast internet connection and that your computer receive a lot of blocks in a short time. Your computer then need to check all the ECDSA signatures for the transaction and this can consume a lot of CPU.

I had an overheating issue like that when I was mining litecoins with my laptop. I installed the cpufreq package to decrease my cpu frequency about 30% and everything was fine then.

If you have a dual-core processor you should type something like this in your terminal.

sudo cpufreq-set -c 0 -u "1.8GHz"
sudo cpufreq-set -c 1 -u "1.8GHz"

I then decide to browser around for CPU Freq scaling and decided to use the following indicator-cpufreq indicator

Computer did not overheat and got the job done without suffering to much performance loss.


Because your issue is CPU related, your computer is likely to shutdown anytime you have excessive processor usage (not just bitcoin).

There is a script called temp_throttle that you can use to limit your CPU speed when it reaches a specific temperature. This will keep your computer from getting too hot and powering off. You can find temp_throttle here.

*Disclaimer- I am the author and maintainer of temp_throttle.*


I use cpulimit utility. Typical usage:

cpulimit -l 220 -e bitcoin-qt

It means: do not let 'bitcoin-qt' process use more than 220% CPU (C. O. comment: more than 100% because quad-core processor) Mind 'apt-get install cpulimit' may install version without multi-core support.

That does not look elegant. I wonder how can system itself throttle heavy processes when CPU is overheating.


Bitcoin is necessarily expensive in terms of processing power. Even if you don't choose to mine coins, your machine will first verify the block chain, which can consume a lot of CPU time.

Your shutdowns would seem to indicate that your hardware could probably use a service - shutdowns due to overheating should not occur even under prolonged full CPU load. Try cleaning your vents and CPU heatsink and making sure your fans are free of dust and obstructions.

Mining using traditional CPUs is a virtually futile exercise at the time of writing. The only cost-efficient way of mining Bitcoin presently is using custom ASIC based miners designed specifically for the task. If you want to participate in mining, I would advise that you invest in this hardware, or buy the hardware from one of the companies that will host it for you in their datacentre.


Overheating is a problem with your hardware setup, not bitcoin. I have all too much experience with overheating while playing high resource intensive games. I've burned up 8 GB of RAM from overheating. Overheating is a much more serious danger to your equipment than just to your CPU. It can kill other components of your PC too, including your hard drives. Some people recommended some good software fixes to throttle your CPU, but you really need to invest in some cooling components to fix this problem or you could risk more than just frying your CPU. For laptops, they sell equipment like cooling pads like this one: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/enhance-laptop-cooling-stand-blue/5845304.p

Do some homework and find out which types of cooling systems would work best for your laptop. Cooling laptops is not an area I've explored. My link is just an example. You should look up your exact CPU and on the data sheet there is a range of acceptable operating temperatures (in fact you can do this with all your components and should to make sure they're operating at safe heat levels). You should always stay below the max temperatures on the data sheets. I use Open Hardware Monitor http://openhardwaremonitor.org/ to keep an eye on all my equipment. It will run in the background and tell you the max temperatures your equipment reaches, which is a very useful tool to help with tweaking how much cooling equipment you need.

Personally, I use a desktop PC with a Corsair obsidian case http://www.corsair.com/en-us/obsidian-series-450d-mid-tower-pc-case . It's easy to clean because of the magnetic pads and it has a top vent that I use a https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181103 Corsair Hydro H100i closed liquid cooling system to water cool my CPU. My CPU temp barley ever exceeds 55 C. It has maxed at 65-70C before in the summer when intense gaming and intense heat are in my room. This is still well below my CPU threshold of 80C. I've overclocked my graphics card (which increases heat) and I have never had any issues due to heating since while using corsair equipment. There are videos on youtube that have shown quantifiable research that certain water cooling models work best for reducing temperature over others, which is why I use the H100i.

Look at buying cooling as sort of buying a warranty for your computer. The cooler your components are running on a daily basis, the longer the lifetime of your computer since there is less chance of a hardware failure. Learn from my mistakes please. I have fried over 4 video cards, some RAM, an AMD CPU, and multiple hard drives from custom building my PCs in over a decade that I've been doing it all because I decided to skimp out on cooling. Cooling is a very important part of electronics that is often overlooked and I have had many friends whose computers have died simply because of inadequate cooling (especially in alienware type laptops for gaming). Stock cooling systems on almost any system, especially laptops, typically just suck. Good luck and godspeed.

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