Linux – Extend your laptop’s battery life

October 2016

You have Linux/GNU Installed you can still increase your laptop’s battery autonomy. You will have to do some configurations
  • The system files must be modified… do not forget to always do a backup of your files.
  • These commands has been tested on Ubuntu, there are some changes for example:

- debian :

- Fedora:


CPU frequency

You will have to use cpufreq-selector, which you will find in our linux distribution. So always set to powersave or ondemand

Screen Brightness

Always set the brightness to low, in a way you have a good visibility.

Laptop-mode-tools functions

You will have to use Laptop-mode-tools software… this is a power saving package found in Linux OS which will help you in saving power. You will be able to operate more power-related settings!
Type these commands in a terminal:
  • Installation:
    aptitude install laptop-mode-tools
  • Activation:

In the
file replace false to true.

You will be able to do these configurations:

Hard drive Activity

This will stop the hard drive when you are not using it.

You can also set limit for hard drive inactivity… for some safety of data loss if a problem occurs to your laptop there’s an option which will allow the data to be saved every time the hard drive will turn on!
Search: /etc/laptop-mode/laptop-mode.conf

20, is the time in second for each time your hard drive is being synchronized, you can replace this number by your choice.

Is the duration of inactivity after which the disc turns off.

Network Cards

For wifi, search the files: /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/wireless-ipw-power.conf and /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/wireless-iwl-power.conf depending on your wifi cards models.

You can still get the model lists in these files:

Replace 0 by 1

Change the value between 5 and 7

For Ethernet Lan cards, search the file: /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/ethernet.conf


For 1GBps Ethernet cards you can change to 100MBps:

Then manage your network cards which you will use in this line:

(to know your cards name, type: ifconfig in a terminal, remember you do not have to worry about the “lo” card which is the local loop)

DVD/CD ROM drives

Your drives are always being checked if it contains any media, this consume power, so to disable:
In the file: /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/hal-polling.conf

(change value to 1)

Bluetooth adapter

Search for: /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/bluetooth.conf

(change value to 1)

– to disable Bluetooth

Multi-core processors

Most current processors have multiple cores (2 or 4). You can put one (if it was 2) in standby so do keep an asset. I read that this was not recommended: the heart of standby consumes energy (not off), but does not work! However, the heart works harder. In the end, we consume more. I therefore propose not to modify the /etc/laptop-mode/conf.d/sched-mc-power-savings.conf
Additional Options

The memory card readers

Personally, I rarely use my card reader SD/MMC. Disable can make considerable savings. At each passage under battery, type (as root):

modprobe-r sdhci_pci 

(on the reactive typing
modprobe-i sdhci_pci 

Fire-wire (IEEE-1394) Connection

In the same way, we deactivate it with the command:

modprobe-r ohci1394 

(on my PC in any case ...)

The web-cam

Powertop software (see below) told me that the webcam was activated 100% of the time. What a waste!
I won 40 minutes of autonomy in the disabling. Unfortunately, no files would allow ... I had to do it mechanically, I have disassembled part of the monitor and unplugged the small amount of the camera. I am aware that this manipulation is not given to all the world, but it's a real gain and it is especially interesting if you never use the webcam.
Warning: It is clear that this manipulation will void the warranty of the laptop!


Using a USB mouse consume power. It is better to use the touchpad.
It is not worth it, I think, clear that devices like the tree-of-Christmas-USB or the teddy bear-who-speaks-USB and other fantasies such that delusional are huge energy consumers .
Do not games or other applications when you are heavier on battery: the processor will be requested (consuming crossing energy), but more importantly, it will heat that will have the effect of activating the fan, consuming more!

To give you an idea, using all these features, I switched from 2h30 to 4:40 autonomy.

You'll find tips on the very good site

Related :

This document entitled « Linux – Extend your laptop’s battery life » from CCM ( is made available under the Creative Commons license. You can copy, modify copies of this page, under the conditions stipulated by the license, as this note appears clearly.