I am using Ubuntu for daily use, and I don't run high level programs, which need more cpu or ram. The problem is that my fan stops running sometimes and then starts again and most of the time very hot air is coming out.

When on Windows this didn't happen unless I played a game on my graphics card or used high resource consuming software.

I want to know what causes it to get to high speed and temperatures.

  • This question may be a bit complicated, First, check htop or top while your fans are running and try to find a process that is using a noticeable portion of your cpu.
    – Artyom
    Nov 24, 2016 at 19:41
  • 2
    Please edit your question and add output of lspci -k | grep -EA2 'VGA|3D' terminal command.
    – Pilot6
    Nov 27, 2016 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


Basically the harder your CPU works, the hotter it gets and the faster the fan spins. Older Ubuntu versions had different techniques for speed of your fan based on the speed of your CPU. With upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, kernel 4.4 was used and Intel changed many things most notably pstate and thermald. Plus (on my Intel i-7 Core at least) turbo boost was finally implemented after a very very long waiting period. These changes also brought with it many challenges.

To see how hot your system is running, use:

$ cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone*/temp


On my system the last temperature is that of the CPU 60 degrees Celsius. The first two temperatures I honestly can't say what they are but I presume ambient temperatures somewhere on the motherboard. Keep in mind this is a laptop.

The fan can not be heard and you have to hold your hand over the exhaust vent to feel the warm air coming out.

When your fan(s) pick up speed you can run the program htop to see what is running and how much CPU% they are eating up. Another program of interest is sensors which shows temperatures and fan speeds. Many people are familiar with these two programs and use them when the need arises.

I use a light weight system monitor called Conky that runs all the time to display CPU%, temperature, available disk space, network usage, etc. Most people don't use Conky but those that do all have different setups. This is what my configuration looks like:

Conky 4.8.10 Full Window

I'm finding under the newest kernel version 4.8.10 the system is running the coolest with the lowest CPU strain. To install this version use:

cd /tmp
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.8.10/linux-headers-4.8.10-040810_4.8.10-040810.201611210531_all.deb
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.8.10/linux-headers-4.8.10-040810-generic_4.8.10-040810.201611210531_amd64.deb
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.8.10/linux-image-4.8.10-040810-generic_4.8.10-040810.201611210531_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
sudo reboot

NOTE: Manually installing the newest kernel requires extra steps to manually remove it in the future when it is no longer needed. Also note the newest kernel is not supported by Ubuntu and crash reports will be ignored by them. The fact the newest kernel comes from Ubuntu should not give you a false sense of security.


Which graphics card are you using? Did you checked your BIOS-fan options? There possibly could be some fan options like always on ore more.

Its maybe related to the drivers you're using.

  • When you have sufficient reputation you can post this as a comment below OP question because this is not a valid answer. Nov 24, 2016 at 20:40
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix sorry I'm new to stack exchange, but thanks for your advice!
    – user622723
    Nov 24, 2016 at 22:43

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