I Lost My Touchpad – Ubuntu 11.10

My upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot had been a smooth one albeit a bit late. Originally I was going to stay with Natty Narwhal and wait for the next LTS version – 12.04 Precise Pangolin – come April this year. What with 12.04 coming up fast in a mere 3 months and all the very nice features on Unity 5.x included in it, why bother to upgrade to 11.10?

Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, I had no choice but to upgrade to Oneiric. Not that I despised the upgrade. However I have always heard of network upgrades going awry, which made me wary of doing so. I can’t afford to not be able to use my laptop for more than a day because I need it for work. Thankfully do-release-upgrade went fine… except for one.

My laptop’s touchpad was not functioning. I re-logged and rebooted with the same effect. Touchpad was definitely dead. The weird thing is that the touchpad works partially on Guest Session. I searched the Internet for answers, tried a few other “fixes” I found with no effect. The only one that really worked was the following:

modprobe -r psmouse
modprobe psmouse proto=imps

My touchpad went alive immediately after I entered the second command. If you have a similar problem, issue the commands through a terminal such as Gnome Terminal or Guake. Then enter the commands above one by one. To make this fix work after every boot, place it in your rc.local file. Using your favorite text editor, add the two commands above to /etc/rc.local. Make sure you use sudo or gksu for the modifications to be saved. This is a crude hack but it works. If anybody knows the proper fix, please don’t hesitate to comment below.

A rough explanation on what the commands above does. The first one removes the kernel module psmouse. That is what the “-r” option does. The second one re-inserts the module back to the kernel with the the option “proto=imps”. There are other options like raw, base or exps, but the suggested one is imps.

My laptop runs on Intel® Core™ i5-2410M CPU, or what they nickname Sandybridge, with an Elantech Touchpad.


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Notice: This article was published on February 4, 2012 and the content above may be out of date.