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  1. #1

    [SOLVED] Synaptics Touchpad and USB Mouse

    I am looking for a workaround to a self-inflicted hardware problem. The system is an IBM T60 laptop, dual-booting to Kubuntu 10.04 and Windows XP.
    Through carelessness, I spilt liquid (Diet Coke) over the touchpad. Not surprisingly, the touchpad has stopped working properly - specifically, I cannot left-click, though all other functions do work.
    My first thought was that, pending replacement of the relevant bit of hardware, I should be able to work in a slightly crippled mode by using a USB mouse. I was surprised to find that left-click on the USB mouse did not work either.
    On investigation, I find that in Windows XP, the USB mouse works correctly, and I have therefore moved my operations to the XP partition for the time being.
    There is clearly a difference between Linux and Windows in the way that touchpad and USB mouse are mapped together, and it occurs to me to ask: is there any adjustment that can be made to my Kubuntu system to cause the USB mouse to be handled in a way comparable to the way Windows XP does it?
    I have no idea whether the answer, if there is one, is to be found in a device driver or somewhere in the kernel. To be perfectly honest, though I am constrained at present to use XP rather than Kubuntu, I can in fact do pretty well everything I need to, just not in the way I would like to do it. Nevertheless, any clues would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    Coke (or similar) == sugar (diet or otherwise) == electrical short. Solution? Take system apart, clean everything. Sometimes, even that won't fix it. My grandson spilt a soda on his laptop and "let the smoke out" of the disc drive - only solution was to replace the drive.

    In your case, your system is likely getting conflicting signals. So, clean it up, and hope for the best.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    SuperMod (Back again) devils casper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Chandigarh, India
    Boot up from LiveCD of any Linux distro and check if touchpad work in LiveCD mode.
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
    New Users: Read This First

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  5. #4
    Thanks for replies so far. Just to be perfectly clear, I am expecting to have to replace the touchpad at some point - though it's possible that I can clean it, as suggested; I may give that a try.
    My question is really about the differences between Linux and Windows handling of the USB mouse. Linux seems to make this dependent on proper working of the touchpad, while Windows doesn't. What I was really hoping to understand was whether it was possible to make Linux behave more like Windows in this particular area, so as to be able to use Linux without (at present) having to muck around with some very delicate-looking hardware - and yes, I've had the palm rest off the laptop, and it does indeed look pretty delicate under there.
    Would I do better to post this as a kernel query, do you think?

  6. #5
    I finally resolved this problem by purchasing a new touchpad on Ebay for the princely sum of 6 pounds 50.
    Still not sure why the differing behaviour between Linux and Windows, but I speculate that Windows has what amounts to a virtualisation layer in the device handling, and that this masks/handles some exception behaviour.

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