Over the years since it first launched, Linux has gotten easier and easier to use. Before, making this operating system work could also be considered a winning step, but now we take it for granted. However, not always everything works perfectly.
Laptops, especially newer models, may still have problems with Linux. Common problems related to WiFi and battery management, but the touchpad is also a common mistake. Unfortunately, these touchpad problems can be difficult to diagnose and fix.
Before you start
If the touchpad is not working and you are connected to a mouse, check it System Settings to make sure that option “Disabled touchpad when mouse is connected“Has not been activated.
Assuming the touchpad doesn’t work at all, you can check if the system recognizes it. Try running the following command:
If the output is too long, you can use it less instead of cat. You can also run the following command:
cat /proc/bus/input/devices | grep -I touchpad
You should see a result similar to the following:
I: Bus=0011 Vendor=0002 Product=0007 Version=01b1 N: Name="SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" P: Phys=isa0060/serio2/input0 S: Sysfs=/devices/platform/i8042/serio2/input/input8 U: Uniq= H: Handlers=mouse2 event8 B: EV=b B: KEY=420 0 70000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B: ABS=11000003
If you do not get any output similar to the above, you will have to deal with a kernel error or hardware is completely unrecognized. On the other hand, if you see a touchpad related message, try the following command:
If you get results from xinput, That’s the good news. This means you need to install the appropriate driver or just configure it.
Before continuing, you can start with the mouse and use it to try out the graphical touchpad settings menu. The location of this menu depends on the desktop you are using. It may simply be that the touchpad is not activated. If that’s the case, just tick the box to activate it.
Find out which driver you need
Once there is “clue” from xinput, You may need to install the appropriate drivers. Popular touchpad vendors include Synaptics, ALPS, and Elantech.
On some modern Linux systems, installation of the following packages will include support for the touchpads of those brands:
xserver-xorg-input-libinput xserver-xorg-input-evdev xserver-xorg-input-mouse
In some cases, you may need to install another driver package such as:
Other ways to fix the problem
Most Linux touchpad problems are caused by missing drivers. That means there are a few other options you may need to check out.
On some laptops, the touchpad can be completely disabled in the BIOS. You can see it listed by xinput, but not working. Be sure to test this before throwing your laptop in the trash.
Many laptops have a hardware switch to disable the touchpad. Usually, this feature works by holding down the key
Fn plus one of the function keys on the keyboard.
Touchpad still not working?
The last thing you can try if the touchpad still doesn’t work and you are using an old distro is to try a newer Linux distribution. It will take some time and effort, but newer distributions have newer kernels, which mean better hardware support.
If you are using a new distro and the touchpad is still not working, you will have to resort to using a mouse instead. A wireless mouse with a dongle is not ideal, but it is better not to have any mouse to use it. If you want to dig deeper, check out our list of the best gaming mice Quantrimang.com.
Wish you successful troubleshooting!