Acer Laptop Fan Fix Fail (?) in Linux Mint and Ubuntu

softpedia_mint_logoI installed Linux Mint 16, also called Petra, after disappointments with Ubuntu’s UI. Petra, based on Ubuntu 13.10, is solid and mostly good. I installed the 64 bit MATE version. But boot times are still about a minute on this Acer Aspire E-51-571, and worse if you don’t empty the trash. And fan control is even worse than with Ubuntu.

To confirm that Linux is still a hobbyist’s OS, you’d best empty that trash via the CLI to speed up boot time and prevent that annoying file manager freeze when deleting 4,096 RAW files using the GUI. Press ALT+F2, or click the monitor icon. Type rm -rf ~/.local/share/Trash/files at the $ prompt and press Enter, checking the trash first for things you might want to keep, of course. Mint 17 is out, called Qiana, but this trick will work on it too, probably.

Even with Ubuntu the Acer’s fan control was wonky and I won’t buy another Acer, because I need Linux. It’s like all cheap laptops, built with marginal fans, and made worse by Linux’s poor driver support. Though I must admit it’s much better on Win7, the OS for which the computer was designed. Also it seems impossible to update the BIOS, even using Windows 7, at least in my experience. Another reason to avoid Acer.

Here’s another attempted fix I tried that apparently IS NOT WORKING, because the fan is now at HIGH SPEED even though it’s cool in here and I’m not stressing the poor thing. I modified GRUB below, even though the poster said it didn’t work:


And sure enough it doesn’t work, though it seemed to at first. My battery life is dropping precipitously and the fan WON’T SHUT UP. So next I tried, from the same June, 2014 linuxmint forums:

This is done from the command line.
sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq
CPUfreq will appear in your system tray to the left of the clock. Set it to “powersave.” It will slow your computer down a little, but the temps will stay below 60C in the main.

Well I did all that, put it on “powersave”, even tried lowering the frequency down to  0.80 (from 2.40 GHz!), and as far as I can tell CPUfreq is doing freaking nothing. Battery now down to 49%. Well, I’m done for a while. Never thought I’d see the day I’d have to open Windows to shut the fan up. But there it is. Before the battery drains I’ll download Qiana and burn an image. When I’m done blogging in Windows I’ll save files and trash this whole system, saving the bloody Windows partition yet again to share with this new Mint. Must hurry, 35 mins remaining. This fan noise is driving me nuts.

[Later] Now I don’t know what to think. I plugged in the power, charged the bat, rebooted again, and now the fan IS NOT RUNNING constantly despite the warm temperature! I will hold off upgrading if the fan behaves since I generally like Mint 16. I’m crossing my fingers.

I downloaded the ISO for Mint 17 anyway, using Tor, which makes me an ‘extremist’ and possible a terrorist according to the NSA. Then I went to the Linux TAILS website and downloaded it using Tor too. So you might not hear of me ever again.

Images courtesy of Softpedia and Wall321.
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