I now use Thinkfan by way explained in http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_control_fan_speed. To see what I want to achieve please skip to the end of post to GOAL first, the rest is to show my current understanding of the issue.

I installed package:
apt install thnkfan, then enabled manual control by

echo 'options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1' | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/thinkpad_acpi.conf 

then restarted laptop as per web page above. For automatic control it said some scripts should be loaded and the scripts provided for dwonload are lengthy. (An ACPI fan control script can be used to override the firmware's fan algorithm with gentler, quieter version.)

  • 1st question is: doesn't installation of thinkfan w/out manual control option enabled overrides firmware algo? What does thinkfan install do if not that?

Now I've found another page https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=119546 that states that for configuration that control fan speed in accordance with sensors file /etc/thinkfan.conf should be edited, no extra scripts mentioned. It says to add hwmon /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp to the file and then a table of temperatures. In my laptop in that file I have table with temperatures, but no hwmon like line, even commented, it has though link to thinkwiki page (although about sensors, not setup (http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Thermal_Sensors)).

  • 2nd question: even that thinkwiki page is listed in my package, looks like thinkwiki when talking about control scripts is outdated?

The page https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=119546 also talks about testing thinkfan w/out restart as opposed to mentioned thinkwiki page.

  • can thinkfan work fully w/out laptop restart after install?

And lastly, I do remember a web page discussing how to avoid fan being turned on due to short temperature peaks.

  • how to do that?

Some current system info with manual control working, Linux Mint 19.1:

# /etc/init.d/thinkfan status

● thinkfan.service - simple and lightweight fan control program
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/thinkfan.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: inactive (dead)
  • why is service inactive, what does it mean?


To be able to control fan speed on a number of thinkpad models with debian based systems both manually and via sensors with configuration that enables to skip short temperature peaks with and w/out laptop restart after thinkfan install.


I guess you already got your thinkfan up and running. But I'm going to give an answer anyway. Maybe someone else needs an answer.
Thinkfan needs to be enabled. To do that you simply systemctl enable thinkfan. And you have to launch it as well if you didn't do that already.

Edit: You can walk through this: https://askubuntu.com/a/834215/422243
And then simply systemctl start thinkfan. But I prefer a reboot instead when everything is setup.

  • thanx, but... Can you please list all steps (in order) required to install thinkfan and get it running w/out laptop restart? – Alexei Martianov Jul 24 at 14:48
  • I updated my post. – kuzeyron Jul 24 at 16:00
  • In the link reboot is mentioned before systemctl enable thinkfan. Your advice reboot instead of your additional line, please answer if reboot in linked answer can be just skipped or else. Thanx. P.S. I want to use it for live distros, they cannot be rebooted (as far as I know, at least for non persistent, default configs). – Alexei Martianov Jul 25 at 6:57
  • I left the old text intact and I'm pointing out with the Edit part as you suggested. I'll make another edit. – kuzeyron Jul 25 at 12:05
  • I was waiting for your I'll make another edit, it was too long, recently tried to follow link instructions and then systemctl start thinkfan - that command resulted in error, and systemctl start thinkfan results in same error when run on rebooted system with working thinkfan. Your efforts are appriciated, however my issue is left open. – Alexei Martianov Aug 19 at 10:56

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