Sometimes the desktop in several Linux distributions freezes for no apparent reason; active windows can still be used, and the mouse pointer can be moved around, but clicking is impossible. Furthermore, your touchpad can no longer be controlled; the ‘Touchpad’ tab disappears from the System / Preferences / Mouse menu. Even if mouse functionality eventually returns, the touchpad remains uncontrollable. This extremely annoying bug occurs randomly and may last for a couple of seconds, or until you restart your X server.
I am facing this problem on a HP Pavilion dv6 Quad Core Edition on Linux Mint 12 Lisa 64-bit.
If you check your system’s log after such an event (/var/log/messages) you will notice a few entries similar to these:
Sep 9 09:38:15 umbra kernel: [ 4939.006198] psmouse.c: DualPoint TouchPad at isa0060/serio1/input0 lost sync at byte 1
Sep 9 09:38:15 umbra kernel: [ 4939.012220] psmouse.c: DualPoint TouchPad at isa0060/serio1/input0 - driver resynched.
Basically this indicates an IRQ conflict between your mouse and your touchpad. This is a Linux kernel bug (I am currently using 2.6.28) and as such it affects most distributions. An easy way to recover both mouse and touchpad functionality without having to restart your X server is restarting the mouse driver. Run the following commands on a terminal window:
sudo rmmod psmouse
sudo modprobe psmouse
If there is no terminal window open, you can use one of the following:
- In Gnome or KDE, press Alt + F2, type gnome-terminal and press Enter
- Press Control + Alt + F1, login with your username and password, type the commands, then press Control + Alt + F7 to get back to X
Hopefully a future kernel release will fix this problem for good.
You can learn more about Ubuntu in Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) !