Linux/touchpad

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Problem

In some laptop models (e.g. HP Pavilion dv4), the touchpad deactivation toggle button works properly; in others (e.g. HP G60), it seems to have no effect, even in the same version of Linux on a liveCD.

Solution

Tentatively, this solution seems to be universal:

  • use xinput (seems to be installed by default) to get a device listing.
  • use xinput list-props "<name of touchpad device>" to verify that "Device Enabled" is set to "1".
  • use xinput set-prop "<name of touchpad device>" to deactivate the touchpad. (Works instantaneously; no reboot required.)

Once you've verified that this works and you know what your device is named, it's simple to create a .sh file to turn off your touchpad and another one to turn it on.

Older Solutions

  • synclient TouchpadOff=1 to disable the touchpad (...=0 to re-enable)
    • Depending on how old your X server is you may have to add this to xorg.conf:
Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier "synaptics"
        Driver "synaptics"
        Option "SHMConfig" "true"
EndSection

...or possibly:

Section "InputClass"
       Identifier "touchpad catchall"
       Driver "synaptics"
       MatchIsTouchpad "on"
       MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
       Option "SHMConfig" "true"
EndSection

The X server may need to be restarted (i.e. reboot) after making changes. (The latter block is what worked for me.)

In theory, one can then use xbindkeys to assign a key to toggle activation of the touchpad -- where xbindkeys does apparently see the touchpad's deactivation button as a keystroke. (In practice, this also deactivated clicking from the external mouse. It's also not clear how to set xbindkeys to issue alternate commands so that toggling can be effected. Further experimentation is needed.)

Discussion here