Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with HTTPS or Subversion.

Download ZIP
branch: hack-lenovo
Fetching contributors…

Cannot retrieve contributors at this time

207 lines (155 sloc) 8.414 kb

Migrated from


bbswitch is a kernel module which automatically detects the required ACPI calls for two kinds of Optimus laptops. It has been verified to work with "real" Optimus and "legacy" Optimus laptops (at least, that is how I call them). The machines on which these tests has performed are:

  • Clevo B7130 - GT 425M ("real" Optimus, Lekensteyns laptop)
  • Dell Vostro 3500 - GT 310M ("legacy" Optimus, Samsagax' laptop)

(note: there is no need to add more supported laptops here as the universal calls should work for every laptop model supporting either Optimus calls)

It's preferred over manually hacking with the acpi_call module because it can detect the correct handle preceding _DSM and has some built-in safeguards:

  • You're not allowed to disable a card if a driver (nouveau, nvidia) is loaded.
  • Before suspend, the card is automatically enabled. When resuming, it's disabled again if that was the case before suspending. Hibernation should work, but it not tested.

Precautionary measure :

  • On some machines, turning off the card is permanent and the card does not reappear on subsequents reboots, which can result into the screen staying black all the time, including the BIOS screen. If it occurs, first try to shutdown, unplug power cord, remove battery, wait 30s, then put everything back in and boot. If it's not solved, then the solution is to reset the BIOS to factory settings. Before executing bbswitch for the first time, it is therefore recommended to take note of the full key sequence in the BIOS to do a reset.


Build the module (kernel headers are required):


Then load it (requires root privileges, i.e. sudo):

make load

If your card is supported, there should be no error. Otherwise, you get a "No such device" (ENODEV) error. Check your kernel log (dmesg) for more information.

DKMS support

If you have DKMS installed, you can install bbswitch in such a way that it survives kernel upgrades. It is recommended to remove older versions of bbswitch by running dkms remove -m bbswitch -v OLDVERSION --all as root. To install the new version, simply run:

# make -f Makefile.dkms

To uninstall it, run:

# make -f Makefile.dkms uninstall

Lenovo IdeaPad Y470/Y570 and Toshiba SATELLITE P870

This kernel bug is fixed in Linux 3.9-rc1 and Linux 3.8.5 which obsoletes this hack. Linux 3.7 is incompatible with this hack (and already EOL'd, so a backport fix won't be made available).

In kernel version 3.6 and older, you need to apply an ugly hack on these laptops to make bbswitch and the driver (both nouveau and nvidia) work. For now I have decided not to put the hack in the bbswitch module since it is a very ugly hack that is comparable to writing a maximum allowable speed of 130 km/h on a traffic sign for a road where 120 km/h is allowed just because the radar gun does not work properly.

The module has been tested on a Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 running an up-to-date version of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric (64-bit) with Bumblebee 3.0 (3.0-1~oneiricppa2) installed using the nvidia driver.

To make use of it, use the hack-lenovo branch. An example using DKMS:

$ git clone git:// -b hack-lenovo
$ cd bbswitch
$ mkdir /usr/src/acpi-handle-hack-0.0.2
# cp Makefile acpi-handle-hack.c /usr/src/acpi-handle-hack-0.0.2
# cp dkms/acpi-handle-hack.conf /usr/src/acpi-handle-hack-0.0.2/dkms.conf
# dkms install -m acpi-handle-hack -v 0.0.2

If everything goes well, you now need to get the hack loaded on boot. On Ubuntu and Debian, this can be done with:

echo acpi-handle-hack | sudo tee -a /etc/modules
sudo update-initramfs -u

For other systems, adopt the instructions from the Disable card on boot section below. Please do not copy these instructions to blogs/forums/whatever without warning that the method is a hack (you can refer to the metaphore above) and that it may crash the machine if incorrectly applied. To apply these changes, you have to reboot (technically, unloading nvidia/nouveau, bbswitch and stopping bumblebeed, modprobe acpi-handle-hack and starting bumblebeed should work as well, but saying reboot is shorter)


bbswitch has three commands to check the card status and switching (# means "run with root privileges, i.e. run it prefixed with sudo):

Get the status:

# cat /proc/acpi/bbswitch  
0000:01:00.0 ON

Turn the card off, respectively on:

# tee /proc/acpi/bbswitch <<<OFF
# tee /proc/acpi/bbswitch <<<ON

If the card stays on when trying to disable it, you've probably forgotten to unload the driver,

$ dmesg |tail -1
bbswitch: device 0000:01:00.0 is in use by driver 'nouveau', refusing OFF

Do not attempt to load a driver while the card is off or the card won't be usable until the PCI configuration space has been recovered (for example, after writing the contents manually or rebooting).

Module options

The module has some options that control the behavior on loading and unloading: load_state and unload_state. Valid values are -1, 0 and 1 meaning "do not change the card state", "turn the card off" and "turn the card on" respectively. For example, if you want to have bbswitch disable the card immediately when loading the module while enabling the card on unload, load the module with:

# modprobe bbswitch load_state=0 unload_state=1

The unload_state value can be changed on runtime, the above command yields the same behavior as:

# modprobe bbswitch load_state=0
# echo 1 | tee /sys/module/bbswitch/parameters/unload_state

If not explictly set, the default behavior is not to change the power state of the discrete video card which equals to load_state=-1 unload_state=-1.

The Lenovo T410 and Lenovo T410s laptops need the module option skip_optimus_dsm=1, otherwise it will detect the wrong methods which result in the card not being disabled.

Disable card on boot

These options can be useful to disable the card on boot time. Depending on your distribution, /etc/modules, /etc/modules.conf or some other file can be used to load modules on boot time. Adding the below line to the file makes the card get disabled on boot:

bbswitch load_state=0

Users of kmod should create /etc/modprobe.d/bbswitch.conf containing options bbswitch load_state=0 to set the default options. To load the module, systemd users should create /etc/modules-load.d/bbswitch.conf containing bbswitch.

You have to update your initial ramdisk (initrd) for the changes propagate to the boot process. On Debian and Ubuntu, this can performed by running update-initramfs -u as root.

Enable card on shutdown

Some machines do not like the card being disabled at shutdown.
Add the next initscript (/etc/init/bbswitch.conf) :

description "Save power by disabling nvidia on Optimus"
author      "Lekensteyn <>"
start on    runlevel [2345]
stop on     runlevel [016]
pre-start   exec /sbin/modprobe bbswitch load_state=0 unload_state=1
pre-stop    exec /sbin/rmmod bbswitch 

Reporting bugs

This module has been integrated in Bumblebee "Tumbleweed". Please report any issues on this module in the issue tracker and provide the following details:

  • The output of dmesg | grep -C 10 bbswitch:
  • The kernel version uname -a
  • Your distribution and version (if applicable)
  • The version of your Xorg and the driver
  • Submit your machine information on; the instructions are listed in the bug description. Summary: install the packages containing dmidecode, acpidump and iasl and then run:

  • Information about the ACPI handles associated with PCI devices. Since this is a kernel module, you'll need kernel headers, gcc and automake. Commands:

      git clone git:// --depth 1
      cd acpi-stuff/acpi_dump_info
      sudo make load
      cat /proc/acpi/dump_info

Upload the generated tarball on the above Launchpad URL and provide a link to the comment containing your report.

Jump to Line
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.