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How to Configure the Keyboard Backlight Time-Out Interval in Ubuntu Linux

Summary: This article describes the configuration of the backlit keyboard time-out interval in Ubuntu Linux

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This article describes the configuration of the backlit keyboard time-out interval in Ubuntu Linux

To change the keyboard backlight time-out counter you will need to modify stop_timeout. You will find stop_timeout located in this directory:

  • /sys/devices/platform/dell-laptop/leds/dell\:\:kbd_backlight/

    Changes to this file are performed in Terminal.

  1. To open Terminal, use hotkey CTRL + ALT + T:  (Alternatively, click on Ubuntu Dash > search for Terminal > double click the Terminal icon)

    SLN308123_en_US__1Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 1
    NOTE: Root access is required to save changes. AC power must be unplugged from the system as well, more information regarding this below

  • Use sudo to elevate privileges to root status and nano to make the changes to the file. Run the following command:
    • sudo nano /sys/devices/platform/dell-laptop/leds/dell\:\:kbd_backlight/stop_timeout

    SLN308123_en_US__2Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 2

  • You will see this:

    SLN308123_en_US__3Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 3

  • Enter your desired time-out time in seconds, in this case 100s:

    SLN308123_en_US__4Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 4

  • Save changes using CTRL X:

    SLN308123_en_US__5Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 5

  • Confirm by pressing Enter and then press Enter again when asked for the file name:

    SLN308123_en_US__6Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 6

  • The new keyboard time-out interval should be active. The example above takes 100 seconds for the keyboard backlight to turn off. You are free to change the time to something that suits your needs.


To verify changes were saved, press the up arrow to re-enter your command and you should see the time you set (Ubuntu will convert anything over 60 seconds to its minute equivalent).

SLN308123_en_US__7Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 7

NOTE: If AC power is plugged in you will always see 0s in the file, however, it will keep the same setting for both on AC power and on battery power

SLN308123_en_US__8Ubuntu backlit keyboard timeout 8


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Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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