[SOLVED] Getting laptop touchpad-disable button to work

dg1727 dg1727 at hushmail.com
Thu Sep 13 17:53:25 UTC 2012


[Reposting this to mention that this was on Xubuntu 12.04.1.]  

I want to share a solution that I've found to the following 

A not-so-new laptop has a Synaptics touchpad with a separate 
touchpad-enable/disable button and LED.  (The button and LED are 
_not_ part of the touchpad, as is the case in newer laptops.)  When 
the button is pressed, the LED switches between "touchpad on" and 
"touchpad off" colours, but the touchpad stays enabled.  


(Of course, you may need or want to adapt parts of this for your 
own situation.)  

1.  In a terminal window, run the following command:  

xev | grep keysym

2.  While the xev window has focus (is active), press the touchpad-
enable/disable button so that the state of the LED changes from 
enabled to disabled, and back to enabled.  This should cause 2 
keysyms to be listed, twice each (once for KeyPress and once for 
KeyRelease), in the terminal window.  

3.  Close the xev window (_not_ the terminal window :)  

4.  Make a note of the keysyms that are listed in the terminal 
window.  The format is:  

(keysym 0xblahblah, KeysymName)

and it's the KeysymName part that you want.  In my case, these were 
XF86TouchpadOff and XF86TouchpadOn; I'll use these keysym names 
later on.  

5.  Install the "xbindkeys" package.  

6.  Run the following command to make a default xbindkeys config 

xbindkeys -d > $HOME/.xbindkeysrc

7.  In a text editor, open the .xbindkeysrc file that was just 
made.  Comment out the existing key bindings and add the following 
two (maybe above the existing ones, so these 2 can be found quicker 
by a person reviewing the file):  

"synclient TouchpadOff=1"

"synclient TouchpadOff=0"

8.  After you've saved the file, you can run the following in a 
terminal window to test that the xbindkeys configuration works:  


The shell prompt will come right back, as though the command didn't 
do anything, but the touchpad enable/disable button should work 

9.  Now move $HOME/.xbindkeysrc so it is called /etc/xbindkeysrc  
By default, you will need superuser privileges to write this file 
to the /etc/ folder:  

cd $HOME
sudo mv .xbindkeysrc /etc/xbindkeysrc

This makes the change apply to all users after the next reboot.  


If this problem & solution apply to you, then have fun being able 
to enable/disable your touchpad quickly any time you want.  

BTW, I wondered if the LED was being toggled by Linux or in 
hardware, so I looked for Linux LED devices (such as in the 
/sys/class/leds/ folder), but there were none that corresponded to 
the touchpad LED.  

Thanks to the user who made the following posting, which led to 
this solution:  

If you have any comments for me on this solution, please copy your 
e-mail to me AND to the list, since I have turned off list delivery 
to myself.  


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