ThinkPad X220 Ubuntu Configuration Guides

Thinkfan | Touchpad | WiFiMonitor | Power Management

Install and Configure Thinkfan

Thinkfan will regulate fan speeds and provide cooler and quieter operation of the ThinkPad X220

1. Open System Settings > Software & Updates and select (main), (universe) and (restricted) sources for Ubuntu Software. Click the Close button and then the Reload button when prompted.

2. Open the Terminal and enter the following command

sudo bash

3. Install lm-sensors with the following command

apt-get install lm-sensors

4. Install thinkfan with the following command

apt-get install thinkfan

5. Enable fan control with these two commands:

echo "options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1" > /etc/modprobe.d/thinkpad_acpi.conf

modprobe thinkpad_acpi

6. Set thinkfan to run at startup by editing /etc/defaults/thinkfan with nano. Edit this file by entering this command:

nano -w /etc/default/thinkfan

Change START=no to START=yes (add this line if it doesn’t already exist)
Save the changes to /etc/defaults/thinkfan and exit nano

7. If you are running Ubuntu 15.04 or later, enable the systemd daemon thinkfan with the following command (this step is unnecessary in Ubuntu 14.04):

systemctl enable thinkfan.service

8. To customize the temperature ranges and fan speeds that thinkfan uses, edit /etc/thinkfan.conf by entering the following command:

nano -w /etc/thinkfan.conf

Add the following lines to enable the proper sensors in the X220:

tp_fan /proc/acpi/ibm/fan
hwmon /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp

Scroll to the bottom of this file and change the temperature settings as desired. The defaults are fairly conservative. The settings I use are:

(0, 0, 60) 
(1, 53, 65) 
(2, 55, 66) 
(3, 57, 68) 
(4, 61, 70) 
(5, 64, 71) 
(7, 68, 32767)

Save the changes to thinkfan.conf and exit nano

9. For Ubuntu versions prior to 15.04, open Startup Applications and click Add. Create an entry named Thinkfan with the following in the Command field:

/usr/sbin/thinkfan -n

10. Restart and confirm thinkfan is running by entering the following command:

service --status-all

If thinkfan is not running, check its status with the following command:

systemctl status thinkfan service

See sensor readings with the following command:


Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3 | Source 4 | Source 5 | Source 6


Fix Jumpy Touchpad

Interference from the power supply may cause the pointer to be jumpy when using the touchpad. Enter this terminal command:

xinput --set-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Synaptics Noise Cancellation" 20 20

Try using a higher setting such as 40 40 if 20 20 does not resolve the issue.

Add this command to Startup Applications to so it will automatically activate at startup.

If you receive an error message that the property ‘Synaptics Noise Cancellation’ doesn’t exist, use the following command to install the appropriate driver:

sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-synaptics-hwe-18.04

Source and bug report available here


Fix Wireless Connection Problems

1. If wireless networking no longer works after resuming from suspend, enter the following command in the Terminal:

sudo systemctl restart network-manager.service

To automate this process, follow the directions here

2. Wireless cards in the X220 may drop active connections due to issues with power management functions in Ubuntu. Resolve this issue by automatically turning off wlan power management at startup with the following command in the Terminal:

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Add the following two lines before the exit 0 line and then save the file:

sleep 10
iwconfig wlan0 power off
exit 0

Restart the computer.


3. Enable Broadcom wireless cards by entering the following commands in the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository restricted
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source


Fix Blank Screen After Wake

An issue with Intel’s i915 kernel module may cause a blank screen after waking from sleep.

To resolve this, update the Linux kernel to version 4.8.4 or newer by following the steps here: Ubuntu Kernel/MainlineBuilds


Resolve Screen Tearing

Intel HD 3000 graphics will sometimes show tearing during video playback or other fast movement on the screen.

To resolve this, enter the following commands in the Terminal:

sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/

echo -e 'Section "Device" \n Identifier "Intel Graphics" \n Driver "Intel" \n Option "TearFree" "true" \nEndSection' | sudo tee /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf

Restart the computer to make the settings active.



Enable Advanced Power Management

TLP provides advanced power management including processor frequency scaling, a power-aware process scheduler, hard disk advanced power management as well as audio and wifi power saving modes.

Battery run time often improves dramatically after installation of TLP with default settings.


Fix Time Difference When Dual Booting Windows 10

Ubuntu maintains the hardware clock in universal time (UTC) by default, however Windows maintains the clock in local time. This results in time conflicts when dual booting Ubuntu and Windows on the same computer.

To correct this:

1. Boot into Windows

2. Open Regedit

3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation

4. Right-click in the right panel and create a new DWORD (32-bit) value and name it RealTimeIsUniversal

5. Double-click the RealTimeIsUniversal DWORD and set its value to 1

6. Restart the computer


Independent reviews of the best ergonomic mice, keyboards, standing desks and alternative devices. Proceeds support the Purple Maiʻa Foundation technology education nonprofit.

Contact Us