inside the mind of a linux admin

Brightness Controls not working on Dell Inspiron Laptop with Intel Graphics

On one of my personal laptops (Dell Inspiron 17R), my attempts at using the function key combinations to change the brightness did not yield any results on Fedora 20, Linux Mint 17, or Ubuntu 14.10. The LCD brightness was stuck at “can barely see, but must conserve battery because I’m stuck on an island mode” (not a real setting, but might as well be).

The system has an integrated Intel graphics card, and if you’re not sure what your system has you can check it here:

Run the command below in terminal to know what video card is used for the backlight/brightness:

ls /sys/class/backlight/

If you see dell_backlight and intel_backlight, this article may help you. If you do not, continue your search.

Fire up a terminal and edit the following configuration file with your preferred editor (disclaimer: yes, I’m an old school Linux user dating back to the ‘pico’ days, so when I’m not coding I use nano – judge if you will, but I’m about to brighten your life):

sudo nano /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf

Add the following lines to this file:

Section "Device"
Identifier "card0"
Driver "intel"
Option "Backlight" "intel_backlight"
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"

Save it (CTRL+X in nano, some crazy 😡 in vim, etc)

Log out and log in back. The brightness control should be working through function keys now.

Good day, world!

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1 Comment

  • Sukant on Saturday, November 21, 2015

    This works for me very well. Thanks alot. 🙂

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