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Revision as of 11:29, 14 August 2013 by Lahwaacz (Talk | contribs) (See also: link to Category:Laptops instead of just Acer Aspire One, better description of acerhdf)

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This page should contain links to pages needed for configuring a laptop for the best experience. Setting up a laptop is in many ways the same as setting up a desktop. However, there are a few key differences. Arch Linux provides all the tools and programs necessary to take complete control of your laptop. These programs and utilities are highlighted below, with appropriate tips tutorials.

Power management

Note: You should read the main articles Power Management and Power saving. Additional laptop-specific features are described below.

Power management is very important for anyone who wishes to make good use of their battery capacity. The following tools and programs help to increase battery life and keep your laptop cool and quiet.

Battery state

Reading battery state can be done in multiple ways. Classical method is some daemon periodically polling battery level using ACPI interface. On some systems, battery sends events to udev whenever it (dis)charges by 1%, this event can be connected to some action using udev rule.


Battery state can be read using ACPI utilities from the terminal. ACPI command line utilities are provided via the acpi package. See ACPI modules for more information.

  • batterymon-cloneAUR is a simple battery monitor that sits in the system tray.
  • batti is a simple battery monitor for the system tray, similar to batterymon-clone. Unlike the latter batti uses UPower, and if that is missing DeviceKit.Power, for it's power information.

Udev events

Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: Describe way to check if the events are sent. (Discuss in Talk:Laptop#)

If your battery sends events to udev whenever it (dis)charges by 1%, you can use this udev rule to automatically suspend the system when battery level is critical, and thus prevent all unsaved work from being lost.

# Suspend the system when battery level drops to 2%
SUBSYSTEM=="power_supply", ATTR{status}=="Discharging", ATTR{capacity}=="2", RUN+="/usr/bin/systemctl suspend"

Likewise, the rule can be customized to perform other action on different status.

Suspend and Hibernate

Manually suspending the operating system, either to memory (standby) or to disk (hibernate) sometimes provides the most efficient way to optimize battery life, depending on the usage pattern of the laptop.

See the main article Suspend and Hibernate.

Hard drive spin down problem

Documented here

To prevent your laptop hard drive from spinning down too often:

ACTION=="add", KERNEL=="sd[a-z]", ATTR{queue/rotational}=="1", RUN+="/usr/bin/hdparm -B 254 /dev/$kernel"

See hdparm(8) for documentation of hdparm parameters. If you use pm-utils, you might be interested in these examples.

Screen brightness

See Backlight.


To get your touchpad working properly, see the Touchpad Synaptics page. Note that your laptop may have an ALPS touchpad (such as the DELL Inspiron 6000), and not a Synaptics touchpad. In either case, see the link above.

Hard disk shock protection

There are several laptops from different vendors featuring shock protection capabilities. As manufacturers have refused to support open source development of the required software components so far, Linux support for shock protection varies considerably between different hardware implementations.

Currently, two projects, named HDAPS and hpfallAUR (available in the AUR), support this kind of protection. HDAPS is for IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads and hpfall for HP/Compaq laptops.

Network time syncing

For a laptop, it may be a good idea to use Chrony as an alternative to NTPd to sync your clock over the network. Chrony is designed to work well even on systems with no permanent network connection (such as laptops), and is capable of much faster time synchronisation than standard ntp. Chrony has several advantages when used in systems running on virtual machines, such as a larger range for frequency correction to help correct quickly drifting clocks, and better response to rapid changes in the clock frequency. It also has a smaller memory footprint and no unnecessary process wakeups, improving power efficiency.

See also

  • CPU Frequency Scaling is a technology used primarily by notebooks which enables the OS to scale the CPU frequency up or down, depending on the current system load and/or power scheme.
  • Display Power Management Signaling describes how to automatically turn off the laptop screen after a specified interval of inactivity (not just blanked with a screensaver but completely shut off).
  • Wireless Setup provides information about setting up wireless connection.
  • Extra Keyboard Keys describes configuration of Media keys.
Pages specific to certain laptop types
  • See Category:Laptops and its subcategories for pages dedicated to specific models/vendors.
  • Lapsus is a set of programs providing easy access to many features of various laptops. It currently supports most features provided by asus-laptop kernel module from ACPI4Asus project, such as additional LEDs, hotkeys, backlight control etc. It also has support for some IBM laptops features provided by IBM ThinkPad ACPI Extras Driver and NVRAM device.
  • Battery tweaks for ThinkPads can be found in TLP and the tp_smapi article.
  • acerhdf is a kernel module for controlling fan speed on Acer Aspire One and some Packard Bell Notebooks.
External resources