I need a way to kill my battery in my Ubuntu laptop. Is there any mind numbing tasks I can Ubuntu do that will eat up the battery? I have already shut off the power management options.

The battery is giving my issues and and someone said I should discharge it fully an recharge it from 0.

  • 6
    As an aside, it is possible that this someone has no idea what they are talking about. You can't really "reboot" a battery, and while I'm no HW expert, discharging a battery to 0 sound kind of unhealthy for it, to be frank. Jul 16, 2011 at 20:54
  • @Williham is correct. Laptop batteries should never be brought below approximately 40% charge. It's very bad for them. Some people say you can have a complete discharge cycle every 100-300 charge cycles, though.
    – Reid
    Jul 16, 2011 at 21:44
  • @Reid: Surely that's can, and not should? Jul 16, 2011 at 21:48
  • 1
    I've heard of this related to "recalibrating" the battery. E.g., tech-no-media.com/2009/07/how-to-extend-lithium-ion-laptop.html
    – LawrenceC
    Jul 17, 2011 at 3:09
  • 1
    Here's another interesting article on Li-Ion life: batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/… - the takeaway is pretty much 1. battery life will degrade over time and 2. " Partial discharge on Li-ion is fine; there is no memory and the battery does not need periodic full discharge cycles other than to calibrate the fuel gauge on a smart battery"
    – Kris C
    Jul 17, 2011 at 8:47

5 Answers 5


apt-get install stress - a utility specifically designed for testing CPU and other functions. You can use it to peg your CPU at 100% usage until the battery dies.

I'm not sure what options exist to peg GPU usage at 100%.

You should drop to runlevel 1 and dismount all volumes possible since your system will not shutdown smoothly.

  • 7
    Another option would be to use a livecd such as stresslinux.org
    – Nifle
    Jul 16, 2011 at 20:33
  • 1
    i like the idea of a live cd because the machine will just stop and wont hurt the drives. Jul 16, 2011 at 21:40
  • 1
    I could not get the stresslinux to start on the laptop, so I just ran memtest 86+. That worked fine, I am interested in trying out that stress linux though. Thanks Jul 18, 2011 at 0:29

Run lots of Virtual Machines

Do a full ls -Rlath /

Try to find a string of text within every file on the disk

Fun full screen games


Simply run:

while :; do :; done

In a terminal. That is an infinite do-nothing loop that will increase CPU usage to ~100% for one core. You could repeat this 4 times in parallel if you have a quad-core processor, but on the few laptops I've tested this on, it hasn't increased battery drain.

In addition: Increase screen brightness to full, blast music at max volume, ensure WiFi is on, and plug in as many power draining USB devices as you can: Phones, hard drives, etc.

This should kill most laptops in under 2 hours.

  • I received syntax error
    – user
    Jul 7, 2021 at 13:54
  • $ while :; do done bash: syntax error near unexpected token `done'
    – user
    Jul 7, 2021 at 13:54
  • 1
    @user: Thank you. Fixed
    – Zaz
    Jul 24, 2021 at 19:20

To find out how long it actually ran, I tend do start this little bash script, then start a 10-hour Youtube video or the like (modern browsers like Firefox often disable power management when playing videos):

while true
  date >> test.log
  sleep 60

This will write a timestamp to "test.log" every minute and assure it gets written to disc, so I can check how long the system ran afterwards.


Try fork bomb in shell:

:(){ :|: & };:

however you've big changes to crash your laptop instead, so run at your own risk. I'm sure it'll keep your laptop busy until the battery is dead.

  • 1
    Wastes memory, not CPU.
    – Zaz
    Jun 6, 2017 at 8:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.