I have some trouble with my "synaptics touchpad"

The touchpad is one of those that use the psmouse kernel module (i.e. modprobe psmouse will get the pad to work [mouse moves] and modprobe -r psmouse unloads it and the mouse does not work anymore).

My problem is that in one (my main) user account the touchpad stopped working. But only in that user account, it is still working on the login screen and in other user accounts.

My question is where could be the user-account specific settings linked to the touchpad. It seems to me that there must be some settings that are linked to my account that cause the touchpad not to work anymore.

It is still shown in the output of xinput

user@box:~# xinput
⎡ Virtual core pointer                      id=2    [master pointer  (3)]
⎜   ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer                id=4    [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎜   ↳ PS/2 Synaptics TouchPad                   id=11   [slave  pointer  (2)]

output from xinput list

user@mybox$ xinput list
⎡ Virtual core pointer                      id=2    [master pointer  (3)]
⎜   ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer                id=4    [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎜   ↳ PS/2 Synaptics TouchPad                   id=11   [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎣ Virtual core keyboard                     id=3    [master keyboard (2)]
    ↳ Virtual core XTEST keyboard               id=5    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Power Button                              id=6    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Video Bus                                 id=7    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Sleep Button                              id=8    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Integrated Camera                         id=9    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ AT Translated Set 2 keyboard              id=10   [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ ThinkPad Extra Buttons                    id=12   [slave  keyboard (3)]

I can get the mouse to work using this commands

sudo modprobe -r psmouse
sudo modprobe psmouse proto=imps

The whole problem seems very odd to me since I thought the settings to mouse and X-server are more made "outside the user account settings".

I am happy for a hint where to find the "account specific touchpad settings"

I use 12.04 Ubuntu

1 Answer 1


Well I haven't found the config file for the touchpad, but I did found this:


With this simple tool you can disable your touchpad with key-shortcuts etc.

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Install Touchpad-Indicator:

Open a Terminal (ctrl + alt + T) and type in the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install touchpad-indicator

Alternative to Touchpad-Indicator --> gpointing-device-settings:

  1. open a Terminal. (ctrl + alt + T)
  2. Type in: sudo apt-get install gpointing-device-settings
  3. After the installation is complete type in gpointing-device-settings and press enter. It will automatically open a window with the Touchpad-Setting as well as the Mouse-Setting (only if you have a mouse plugged in).

If that does not solve your problem then try this:

  1. open a Terminal. (ctrl + alt + T)
  2. Type in: xinput list

NOTE: If one of the lines mentions a touchpad or glidepoint (perhaps also "Synaptics" or "ALPS"), your touchpad has been detected.

If one of the lines mentions an "ADB mouse", then your touchpad is old. Use the trackpad command line tool to configure it. Here's an example to switch on tapping and dragging:

sudo trackpad show
sudo trackpad tap
sudo trackpad drag

And if none of the above work check here: SynapticsTouchpad

Hope this helps :)

  • I like that suggestion with the Touchpad-Indicator but I cannot find it in synaptics/apt-get install nor do I have it as a command being able to be run at command line. How to run it? Thank you! May 17, 2013 at 9:35
  • xinput list (in my setup) renders the same result as xinput without parameters. I have stated in my question the result. It seems I have xinput "see" my touchpad, though it seems not working. May 17, 2013 at 9:41
  • right yeah sorry... I edited my answer.
    – Meintjes
    May 17, 2013 at 10:52
  • Oh and I found the config file you were looking for: /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf
    – Meintjes
    May 17, 2013 at 11:31
  • 1
    Thank you @MrSeed. The trouble with that config file is that it is "global" (shared between the user accounts) and hence I doubt can be the culprit/cause because then the touchpad would not be working in all user accounts. But it is only malfuncitoning in one user account. It is indeed strange. Thank you for your effort May 18, 2013 at 4:50

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