I’ve been running Ubuntu Linux on my office server and recently noticed that the screen turns off way too fast. Makes it hard to work with. How do I make the display sleep slower?
Running Linux on a server is really smart. Its small footprint as an operating system means that you can get quite good performance out of even an old, clunky PC computer that’s otherwise sitting and doing nothing, trapped with Vista or similar and non-functional. Reboot it with Linux and it’s a solid file and print server, proxy server and more. There are some basic configuration settings you’ll want to change depending on whether you’re hands-on with it or leave it in a dark closet, forever ignored other than via remote access. In fact, you can run Linux servers completely “headless” if you want, without a display even hooked up.
There are a couple of settings that work together to define how long your screen is on and functional once you are using the system interactively, however, so let’s have a look at all of them. By now I’m sure you’ve figured out how to get into the GUI-based interactive settings area, but let’s start there anyway.
Off the top right gear icon, choose “System Settings…” from the resultant menu:
It will pop up a window with icons representing lots of different system settings, exactly the same as a Mac or Windows computer. Well, maybe the icon graphics are slightly different, but there’s nothing here that should be too surprising:
Start by clicking on the yellow-topped battery icon on the right edge of row two. That’s “Power” and it’s going to be the main place where control of the monitor is specified. Here are the main options:
If your system is set as above, it’s no wonder you’re getting frustrated! 5 minutes is really short. In fact, it’s the shortest possible time of all the options:
I suggest that you choose 1 hour and see how that works for you. If your display hardware can power down on inactivity all by itself, you can also consider “Don’t suspend” and let the hardware manage things. Either way.
There’s one more place where you want to check settings too before you’re done. Back at the System Settings window, click on “Brightness & Lock” (sounds like a comedy duo, doesn’t it?!)
Looks like the same setting, but there’s a nuance here: This controls the screen, while the other setting is the overall Linux system. I suggest that you try something more akin to “30 minutes” here, and while you’re at it, perhaps the system should lock down after a long period of inactivity? This ensures no-one else from the office decides to test out their nascent hacking or IT skills:
That’s it. These two places will let you gain complete control over when your display and overall system sleep after a period of inactivity. Good luck, and go Linux!