Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Restore Notebook Synaptics/Touchpad Not Working in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric / Linux Mint 12 Lisa

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) !



  1. Replies
    1. Hi - I'm having the same problem. Has any new information come out about this?

  2. Hi..Thanks dude for such useful piece of info

  3. Thanks this worked in Mint 13

  4. Replies
    1. I tried all the things found on the net for my touchpad, if I added the options proto=imps, then my touchpad would loose scrolling and taping capabilities, plus I'd loose the touchpad tab in my mouse settings...

      Removing the psmouse module, and then adding it back worked, but I hated having to switch between screens to get it done.. Here's my workaround:

      1) create a script /usr/local/bin/mousereset
      2) setup sudo so that the modprobe can be executed by a standard user
      3) create a script: /usr/local/bin/mousereset with the following statements:
      sudo modprobe -r psmouse
      sudo modprobe psmouse
      4) chmod 777 /usr/local/bin/mousereset
      5) create a keyboard shortcut that calls this script.( I used CTRL-ALT-M)

      Now whenever my touchpad freezes, a simple CTRL-ALT-M resets my touchpad and gets it working again.

  5. Thanks! Works on Mint 15 kde