How to monitor the hard disk and CPU temperatures on elementary OS

Device temperature control has proven to be very vital for any user’s machine. Unfortunately, most of the time, your PC or laptop gets too hot because the diverse parts and components of the laptop are closely coupled together. This is evident in small/slim laptops as there seems to be little space for airflow between the laptop components. With the reduced airflow in your system, the heat can harm the physical components of the PC.

The Central Processing Unit (CPU), a latency-optimized general-purpose processor designed to handle a wide array of distinct tasks sequentially, or Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), a throughout-optimized specialized processor designed for high-end parallel computing, depends entirely on the usage of running programs or applications. Sensitive computer elements such as CPUs have a finite lifespan, and running them at a temperature that exceeds a specific limit can shorten their lifespan. It can additionally cause thermal throttling, especially in cases where the fan is not providing adequate cooling.

Believe it or not, it is essential to monitor your system’s CPU temperature to avoid damages due to overheating. This tutorial will highlight and share some valuable tips on installing temperature sensor packages on elementary OS and any other Debian-based distros. To emphasize, we will look at the command line method and conclude with the GUI method of CPU and HDD temperature monitoring.

Monitoring the hard disk and CPU temperatures on elementary OS

Step 1: Update system

As usual, we will first update our system for a proper installation of the temperature sensors. After updating our system, in some cases, you might find your system with several packages that need to be upgraded. If that is the instance, then you need to update and upgrade your system as follows:

Update command:

sudo apt update
update system
update system

Immediately after you run the update command, the system will prompt you to input your sudo password for the apt update to start. So after keying your password, press “Enter” to proceed.

Note: During the installation process, you will be queried, “Do you want to continue?” So, type “Y” or “y” and press “Enter” to proceed with the update process.

Step 2: Update error

In some cases, you might trip into some third party errors while updating apt; if that is the case, run the following command to fix the missing package:

sudo apt upgrade –fix-missing
fix command
fix command

Upon running the commands, be patient for a while for the system to update. After that, run the upgrade command:

Upgrade command:

sudo apt upgrade
upgrade command
upgrade command

Without further ado, we will start by looking at how to monitor the CPU temperature.

CPU temperature monitoring

In a Linux OS, the sensor instruction monitors the current sensor chips and CPU temperature. So, in this case, you need to counter-check the already configured sensors on your elementary system. For this course, we will make use of the following command to achieve this:

sensors
we have no sensors
we have no sensors

Upon running the command, you should see information regarding system adapters, chips, and CPU temperature. As you can see, it is clear that our elementary system lacks sensors. So we will go ahead and install the sensors into our system.

To check for the temperature of HDD, SSD, and CPU, you need to install some hddtemp package and ls-sensor package. So, it would be best to look for sensors compatible with your system using the following commands separately.

apt-cache search lm-sensors
sensor search
sensor search

The above command will show all the available lm-sensors packages and their specifications in the image.

Now, to search for the attuned/compatible hddtemp packages for your system, run the following command, and you should see the available hddtemp package and its specifications.

apt-cache search hddtemp
compatible hdd
compatible HDD

The two listed commands will only display the available lm-sensors and hddtemp, respectively, without being installed in your system. Better still, we have made this easier for you as we will break down the installation steps of the two features for you.

How to install lm-sensors and HDDtemp in elementary OS

After a successful apt update, you need to install lm-sensor and HDDtemp in your elementary OS. To do this, run the following commands:

sudo apt install lm-sensors
install lm sensors
install lm-sensors

After installing the lm-sensors, we will go ahead and install hddtemp using the following command:

sudo apt install hddtemp
install hdd temp
install HDD temp

Note: After running each of the two commands, you will be asked to key in the sudo password for the process to continue. So, what you do here is only enter your PC password, and the installation process will be underway.

Detect Hardware Monitoring Chips

After some time of patience, the lm-sensors will be installed on your system, and you should be able to cross-check the hardware monitoring chips that you recently installed to your elementary system using the following command:

sudo sensors-detect
sensors detect
sensors detect

As usual, if you run the command, you will be asked to enter your sudo password for the command to run the process.  After typing your password, hit the “Enter” button, and it will affirm your action by querying you to type “Yes” or “No.” And to detect the hardware, we suggest typing “yes.”

The sensors-detect command will ensure that you can check for info concerning your elementary system’s already entrenched sensors in the CPU and hardware monitoring chips. Now add the sensor command again to help view the temperature of the CPU. Finally, if this does not work for you by any chance, try the GUI method in your elementary system.

sensors
sensors command
sensors command

Using GUI tools

Installing Psensor

Something interesting about the Psensor is that the new update of Psensor offers elementary OS with an applet predictor that simplifies the device’s temperature control on the elementary system and other Linux distros. On the other preview pane side, you can decide to display the device temperature levels. At any time the temperature reaches the threshold, it will give you a desktop notification update. Now, after installing and enabling lm-sensor and hddtemp, we can finally install Psensor on our elementary OS. To install Psensor, run the following command:

sudo apt install psensor
install psensor
install psensor

In the course of the installation, you may be asked to affirm your action by either typing Y or y to accept or N to cancel. So, type “y” to continue. Upon completion, the Psensors should be installed and ready for use in your system.

After that, navigate to the Menu bar of your elementary OS, and search for Psensor. After finding the application, click on it to open it.

open psensor
open psensor

Once you open it, you will see the graph displaying your CPU’s statistics in the Psensor temperature monitor window.

[Are you a parent and would love to monitor your kids by enabling parental control on your kids? You can check out our other article on how to enable parental control on Kids account on the elementary OS]
temperature graph
temperature graph

To update preference, maneuver to the top menu, and click on Psensor. After that, go to the Sensor preferences and update graph settings.

graph preference
graph preference

Check the box next to the Active desktop notification to get notified.

check to activate notifications
check to activate notifications

Additionally, you are allowed to customize the Psensor display to your preference.

customize sensor
customize sensor

If you want to modify the units of temperature, go to the topmost menu and click on Psensor. After that, click on Preferences to update. You can either select Celsius or Fahrenheit As well.

units change
units change

You can also modify the graph preference as per your choice.

change graph preference
change graph preference

You can permit the different provider’s support from it as well as check-marking the provider’s packages.

providers
providers

How to uninstall Psensor

If you want to uninstall Psensor for any reason, then this section is for you, pal. To do this, run the following command:

sudo apt remove psensor
uninstall psensor
uninstall psensor

During the uninstallation, you would be asked to confirm the continuation of the process, type “y” or “Y,” and you should be good to go.

Apart from Psensor, here are some other useful command-line tools to aid you in keeping a close eye on the CPU and HDD temperature.

1. Glances

This is a cross-platform, advanced, and well-known real-time system monitoring tool that boosts functionality by using the psutil library to collect data/information from various sources.

The application can display information from sensors using the psutil and or hddtemp tools. Interestingly, the app has a web server mode that allows you to access it through a web browser to monitor your Linux server remotely.

Generally, there are various ways to install Glances on your system, but the most preferred is an auto-install script, as it installs the latest production-ready version.

To install Glances to your elementary OS, use curl or the wget command as displayed below:

curl -L https://bit.ly/glances | /bin/bash

wget -O- https://bit.ly/glances | /bin/bash
install glances
install glances

Once installed, start the app by typing glances on your terminal session to view sensors information

glances
glances in action
glances in action

2. Hardinfo

This is a flimsy system profiler tool designed for hardware analysis and report generation. The software features comprehensive reports on system hardware and allows the creation of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) reports on your system’s hardware.

The installation process is super easy. Run the following command:

sudo apt install hardinfo
install hard info
install hard info

After the installation is over, you can fire up the hardinfo to view devices’ information by running the following command:

hardinfo -rma devices.so
hard information services
hard information devices

To launch the Graphical User Interface of the application, just run the following command

Hardinfo
hard info
hard info

3. I7z

This tiny command-line utility software reports Intel Core i3,i5,i3 CPU information, including temperatures. You can have this software installed in your elementary OS via the following command:

sudo apt install i7z
install i7z
install i7z

Once installed, you can run the application with root privileges as displayed by the following command:

sudo i7z
i7z
i7z in action

Conclusion

So, this was a dry run of how one can monitor their hard disk and CPU temperatures on elementary OS. First, we looked at the command-line way and the Graphical User Interface (GUI) representation of temperature monitoring. Then, on the GUI method, we installed Psensor, a customizable application feature to check CPU temperature on any Linux-based distro.

The app helps one easily measure the different temperatures of the system components to be aware of the system overheating during situations such as gaming, overclocking, or any other strenuous tasks. After that, we went further and looked at other alternatives of the psensor that you should be well versed with. To this end, we hope this article has helped cover steps to monitor hard disk and CPU temperatures on elementary OS. Thanks for reading! And in case of anything, do not hesitate to reach out.

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