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HOWTO: Disable Synaptics touchpad in VL SOHO 6

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I had disabled the touchpad on my Toshiba notebook via the BIOS and wasn't really concerned with using it, as I usually have my mouse close at hand. However, since I'm traveling much more often now, I had whipped my notebook out in an airport to check email and didn't feel like digging the mouse out, too. Forgot I had disabled the touchpad. Duh!

On the Windows side of the notebook, the touchpad is disabled as soon as the mouse is plugged in. However, there's no such option right now on the Linux side (something to dig into later!). Soooooooo, how to disable the touchpad without booting into the BIOS everytime I need it?

The instructions that follow are for a Synaptics touchpad. They may give a clue on how to proceed if yours is different.



--- Code: ---cp /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/20thirdparty/11-x11-synaptics.fdi /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi
--- End code ---

Now we need to add the instructions to the file that allows us to turn the touchpad on and off.

Using your favorite text editor, edit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi and look for the section that starts with <match key="info.product" contains="Synaptics TouchPad">. Add the following at the end of that section:

--- Code: ---<merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">On</merge>
--- End code ---

Restart your machine so the changes take effect.

The following can now be typed (as root) at the cli:

--- Code: ---/usr/bin/synclient touchpadoff=1
--- End code ---


Edit -- You can create a quick script, make it executable, then toss it in your /home/loginid/.kde/Autostart directory to have this run each time you start the machine.

A slightly off-topic note: If you are using VL6 Light or KDE-Classic, some of these steps may not be necessary.

The installer should offer to activate the touchpad driver. If accepted, this is one of the functions available. The command "synclient touchpadoff=1" can be run as normal user and it does disable the pad. There is also a little script /sbin/vtptoggle that will do this for you. On my laptop, I mapped a keyboard combination for this action.

I also include the command "syndaemon -d -i 0.8" in my KDE Autostart. This disables the pad as soon as I start typing, and re-enables it 0.8 seconds after I stop.

I'm going to play around with creating a routine that allows the system to detect whether the mouse is plugged in, and if so, disables the touchpad. Should be fun. Maybe.  ;D

Thanks to both of your for this. I would have tried it immediately, but I'm finding that the touchpad on my new-to-me Dell Inspiron 1100 is well behaved and when used with a USB mouse, doesn't do the annoying things all the other touchpads I've used do. So I'm giving it a chance to stay unobtrusive and will leave it activated if it continues behaving. It's occasionally handy to have the touchpad.

Unfortunately, my touchpad isn't so well behaved. And the heel of my right palm rests on the edge of the touchpad, making typing an infuriating experience when it's active.


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