Ubuntu Karmic Koala (9.10 Beta) Buggy Touchpad Behavior

I recently upgraded my Dell Precision M90 Laptop to Ubuntu Karmic Koala. I’m running it standalone, no Windows anywhere. When I upgraded using “apt-get upgrade” my touchpad didn’t work. Nothing. The touchpad was completely disabled. I assume that this is a problem on M70’s, ect.

Found a fix after searching for two days — in case you’re having the same problem, here it is.

Open a terminal (if you don’t have a mouse hooked up, use Alt+F2). then “su” and give the root password (I tried doing this with sudo and still didn’t have enough permission. I “think” you need to be root). At the prompt, type:

echo options psmouse proto=exps > /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.modprobe

At the next prompt, type”


Your touchpad will come back up after rebooting.

Update 11/12/09

I did an apt-get upgrade just after the release was announced.  It killed my NVidia driver and would boot up “once in awhile” in recovery mode.  I finally got frustrated and downloaded and burnt a DVD on my Mac, wiped the disk on my Dell and reinstalled the thing.  It’s working fine now — there was no bugginess in the touchpad, etc…

Ubuntu changed a lot of stuff in this release.  I find it almost similar to Mac’s move from OS9 to OSX, except that Mac “warned us” that this was a big move.  Ubuntu rushed this release to coincide with Windows 7 and frankly they really dropped the ball on the message, the QA and the overall polish of the product.  Thank God I never trusted it enough to leave anything important on the Dell.  I’ve got Macs for that all over the house that are as stable as the Pyramids.  Snow Leopard was a “bug fix” release.  They’ve come a long way from the pre-“Jaguar” days.  Ubuntu should take note.

Funny thing is, I actually like using the Ubuntu more than the Mac, but then again, I like writing Python code in front of the TV with a cocktail…

79 thoughts on “Ubuntu Karmic Koala (9.10 Beta) Buggy Touchpad Behavior

  1. Pingback: 우분투 9.10 업그레이드 후 터치 패드가 안되는 문제 « 폴군의 만지작 만지작

  2. Fantastic, thank you!!!

    I really had no idea what to do about this problem when I booted karmic for the first time. Luckily I had an extra partition with kubuntu 9.04 which allowed me to find your site (with a working touchpad 😛 ). I’ve placed a copy of this on a dutch social network site (kinda like myspace) in case other people run into this problem.
    Take care 🙂

  3. Thanks! I got this problem on a Dell Inspiron (a very common laptop for non-uber users- I wonder how many confused people are out there?). Whatever I typed in fixed it. I was worried I’d be pressing tab forever more!

  4. Hi, your tip also fixed my problem, great!

    but do you know where this fix comes from / what is the reason of the problem? I mean it’s strange, you “”think” you need to be root”, so you don’t seem to be a Linux expert, but I couldn’t find anything about this bug somewhere else … ?

    btw, you _must_ be root to do this command, for the “redirection” as less priority that the others,
    sudo xxx xxx xxx is one command,
    sudo xxx xxx xxx > out.txt redirects the outputs of the process “sudo” into out.txt, _without_ permission change

    its (sudo echo …) > out and not sudo (echo … > out)

    (I hope it’s clear enough)


  5. Brilliant, I cringed to hard when I first realized 9.10 didn’t recognize my mouse. Thanks!

    Now is there anyway to mess with the touchpad settings?

  6. Thank you so much. Updating to 9.10 was the first time I almost successfully updated in Ubuntu without a hitch.

    The only problem I had with your suggestion was that I didn’t know what password was associated with su (since I always use sudo with my user password).

    To get around this I used the command sudo passwd
    and then reset the password. Hope this helps someone else.

  7. Thanks so much for this. I just upgraded my Eee pc 901 from Jaunty to Karmic and the touchpad stopped working completely!

    This command solved the problem.

    Thanks again!

  8. For everybody:

    If you’re experiencing this problem after an update from Jaunty 9.04 to Karmic 9.10, this probably means you’re still using the ‘old’ kernel and didn’t update your grub menu.lst file. (As I did) .

    The fix described on this page will make your touchpad work again, but you’ll probably experience a lot of other problems.

    Just fix your grub menu.lst file to use the newer kernel and all issues will be gone!

    I’d advise against using this fix, since this caused my synaptics touchpad to not be detected, and being unable to use the extra touchpad functionalities.

    So before trying this fix, please check to see if you’re booting the right kernel!

  9. Dieter is correct, if you chose not to update your grub menu.lst when upgrading because you have a dual boot machine (like me), then you’re still booting the old kernal and will get a bunch of other process errors.

    To fix the problem, use gedit in a command window to add the new lines to your menu list as follows:

    ~$ sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

    scroll to the bottom of the list you will find the lines that make up your grub boot options. make a copy of the most recent one and then change the kernal version number to 2.6.31-14. You will then have an entry that look like this, except with your own uuid ( it must be a different uuid from mine ):

    title Ubuntu 9.10, kernel 2.6.31-14-generic
    uuid 6a08943a-8da4-4b93-8d5b-440e954dba61
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.31-14-generic root=UUID=6a08943a-8da4-4b93-8d5 b-440e954dba61 ro vga=795 splash quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.31-14-generic

    If you are reading this a little later in time, you will want to make sure the kernal version number is the right one. To do that, just open a command window and type “ls -al /boot” to display the current list of kernals. choose the biggest number (most recent). Right now that’s 2.6.31-14.

  10. Thank you very much to Danilo (for the article) and Bob (for booting on the new kernel).

  11. AAAH! I’ve finally found some people that have the same problem as me. I have tried this answer, but i get “bash: /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.modprobe: Permission denied”

    I would be really grateful if anyone has any ideas,

    thank you

  12. This fixed the problem nicely on Dell Latitude D420 – thanks a lot!

  13. For kicks I’ll give a little background — I’m a Software Engineer/Architect. I “dabble” in Linux for the most part — most of my hardware is Mac and I had this Dell laying around so I decided to load Ubuntu in it because I have a distaste for Microsoft Product Philosophies.

    I chose Ubuntu because of the “consumery” feel to it and the fact that my 9 year old daughter and 49 year old wife kinda like it.

    In production systems that I oversee, we’re pretty much running CentOS — I wouldn’t THINK of revving a kernel so early, but the Dell doesn’t have any real hardcore data on it and I don’t really care if it gets completely zoxxed.

    I have to say that this particular migration showed that Ubuntu really has the training wheels strapped on with regards to QA and Product Management. I know there’s a lot of boxes out there, a lot of different hardware configurations to support, etc., but hey, Ubuntu chose to play on this field, and their migration strategy blew.

  14. Also having this problem although neither solution worked for me. First I edited /boot/grub/menu.lst to load the correct kernel. No dice. The I added psmouse.modprobe to /etc/modprobe.d and my external mouse stopped working. Ironically I still had a mouse using synergy from my other computer. Anyone else have this issue or know what else may be causing it?

  15. Thanks for the fix, same thing happened to my eeepc1000h. This fixed it.

    Karmic Koala actually takes a significant more time to boot for my little netbook than Jaunty did. I can boot up Windows XP in, literally, half the time, with more responsiveness and less load times for every program I’ve tested.

    It saddens me, because I like the NBR interface, especially in Karmic. The splash screen is pretty nifty as well, I almost liken it to running a Linux version of Windows 7; really flashy.

  16. perfect!
    I also upgraded ubuntu from 9.04 to 9.10 and the touchpad stopped working, now its ok again!

  17. Searched for an hour or so and finally came across this fix. Thanks!

  18. Thanks Bob and Dieter.. It really helped the updating of menu.lst. My Koala was so slow on Dell studio . the x.org was hogging the cpu till i did this.. Touch pad was not working..
    Now ius AWESOME!

  19. LOL been trying to find a solution to a non-working trackpad on an old dell inspiron 7500 I’m setting up with Ub. 9.10 for a 10-year-old..

    not only did this trick not fix my trackpad.. after reboot, no keyboard either!

    not to worry, it’s all experimental anyhow, and it looks like a good tip for a lot of people 🙂

  20. I ended up wiping the system and rebuilding from a burnt disk after the release candidate came out. Still had the trackpad, but everything else was trashed in the video department. This was one rough transition!

    It’s all good and stable now.

  21. Seconding gecko. Danilo’s fix got my touchpad working (Toshiba Satellite s305) but caused Xorg to spaz out and eat all system resources. This was seen by running top in terminal.

    Undoing this and applying the solution of Dieter and Bob listed above from 1 Nov 09 fixed my problem.

  22. Aha! Bob is quite right, I have my grub information in a separate partition and I completely forgot to alter the boot information so I was using the old kernel.

    However, I still think that touchpad support is dreadful in Ubuntu .. with windows I can set tap zones on my touchpad but I’ve never found a way to do that with Ubuntu.

    Thanks for the help

  23. Thanks You!!! resolve my problem with touchpad after upgrade a to ubuntu 9.10 in Acer Aspire 3660

  24. I have installed 9.10 on my desktop and laptop. I find it to be VERY buggy. I would use OSX if I had the money but I like XP enough to have it stick around. All in all I agree with your assessment. It is not really ready. In fact I think the whole 2 to 3 releases a year is a bit much. Lets let them mature. Do Linux users all have serious ADHD?

  25. Hey this worked for my Compaq CQ60-215DX Notebook, but how do you get the scroll bar to work on the touchpad as well?

  26. Joe, I have the same problem on an Acer Aspire Timeline 1810t with a clean installation of 9.10. The mouse pointer was erratic and unusable until I tried the suggestion in this post. Now it is mostly working but with no scrolling or two-finger tapping to simulate a middle-click. Any ideas how to fix this? Are there other options that can be added to the psmouse module to make it work as expected?

  27. Are you all absolutely sure you are actually running the Koala kernel and not the old one?

    Your trick works, but what solves more problems at once is switching to 2.6.31-17-generic. To check, type “uname -a” in a terminal.

  28. Thanks!

    This worked on mt Gateway M275 convertible tablet/notebook computer system.

  29. Excelente tu recomendación. Después de tanto buscar con esos dos pasos solucioné mi configuración.

  30. Been struggling with keyboard shortcuts for over two hours! Thanks for the quick solution mate! THANK YOU!

    For those who’re having trouble getting root access on terminal, use “sudo passwd” and set a password for your root account. Then you may apply the touchpad fix.

    Still, have a sound fix to take care of. Seeya.

  31. Pingback: GreenDevNet » Ubuntu 9.10 – Karmic Koala – No Touchpad

  32. you have solved my problem too, thks!!! i can’t believe that the last release of karmic hasn’t fixed by default the problem!!!

  33. Pingback: Recuperar Touchpad Ubuntu « AwesomeBytes

  34. Worked for me, upgrading on a DELL Inspiron 1300.
    – Thank you for this post, only took me two days to sort after trying numerious other fixes, pointing to the latest kernal worked for sound and video issues.

  35. Funny thing is, I found the fix that I published here when I first upgraded to Koala, but it was a combination of two posts and was so badly worded it took quite a bit of time to sort…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s