Linux Mint – Monitoring CPU temperatures

How to create virtual machines with VirtualBox

The more you work the processor in your computer, the warmer it gets. You may have noticed that laptops tend to feel warmer when you run extensive tasks on them. Entire companies are dedicated to making products to keep computers cool, such as laptop desks with built-in USB-powered fans, stronger thermal compounds, and even water-powered heat sinks. In reality, computers are manufactured to keep themselves underneath the maximum temperature they are able to withstand, so these products are rarely necessary unless you are pushing your processor beyond its manufactured limits. However, it’s still important to look at your temperatures every now and then, to make sure that your cooling system isn’t starting to fail.

The command used in Linux to monitor system temperatures is sensors. The sensors command prints the current temperatures recorded in your system, and then brings you back to the shell prompt. If you prefer to have the temperatures reported in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, add the -f flag at the end of the sensors command.


Not all computer motherboards provide an interface through which you can check the temperature. If the sensors command is unable to detect any sensors, you may be out of luck. If you are unable to monitor your temps with the sensors command, consider searching on Google, with key words pertaining to the model of your chipset, to look for clues from others that may have gotten it working. Nowadays, most Intel chipsets seem to support temperature monitoring. If everything else fails, you can try the sensors-detect command as the root to see if it is able to find an appropriate driver.

At first, the temperatures may seem alarming. For example, a temperature of 140F may seem like a lot, but you should only be concerned if a temperature is near or over the maximum threshold. When you run sensors, it will usually report the temperature that is considered high and the temperature that is considered critical. On the machine this tutorial is being written on, 188.6F is considered high and 221.0F is considered critical. The temperature of the CPU recorded as this paragraph is being written was 114F.

So, what do you do if the temperature is abnormally high? First and foremost, look for a running process that is consuming a fair amount of CPU. The most common culprit nowadays seems to be web browsers, especially if YouTube videos are in the process of being viewed. If a process shows a large amount of CPU being consumed, there’s your problem. However, if your system doesn’t show much memory or CPU usage but is still running quite warm, you’re likely experiencing a hardware issue. In such a case, you should ensure that your files are properly backed up and then either investigate the cooling system or contact the manufacturer for assistance.

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