Free Software

Software Engineering with FOSS and Linux

Dealing with mouse and touchpad freezes in Linux

Sometimes the desktop in several Linux distributions freezes for no apparent reason; active windows can still be used, and the mouse pointer can be moved around, but clicking is impossible. Furthermore, your touchpad can no longer be controlled; the ‘Touchpad’ tab disappears from the System / Preferences / Mouse menu. Even if mouse functionality eventually returns, the touchpad remains uncontrollable. This extremely annoying bug occurs randomly and may last for a couple of seconds, or until you restart your X server.

If you check your system’s log after such an event (/var/log/messages) you will notice a few entries similar to these:

Sep  9 09:38:15 umbra kernel: [ 4939.006198] psmouse.c: DualPoint TouchPad at isa0060/serio1/input0 lost sync at byte 1
Sep  9 09:38:15 umbra kernel: [ 4939.012220] psmouse.c: DualPoint TouchPad at isa0060/serio1/input0 - driver resynched.

Basically this indicates an IRQ conflict between your mouse and your touchpad. This is a Linux kernel bug (I am currently using 2.6.28) and as such it affects most distributions. An easy way to recover both mouse and touchpad functionality without having to restart your X server is restarting the mouse driver. Run the following commands on a terminal window:

sudo rmmod psmouse
sudo modprobe psmouse

If there is no terminal window open, you can use one of the following:

  • In Gnome or KDE, press Alt + F2, type gnome-terminal and press Enter
  • Press Control + Alt + F1, login with your username and password, type the commands, then press Control + Alt + F7 to get back to X

Hopefully a future kernel release will fix this problem for good.

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September 9, 2009 - Posted by | linux | , , , , , , ,

23 Comments »

  1. The article has been added to the foss library.

    http://fosslib.tsakf.net/record/245

    Comment by tsakf | October 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks! Been having this problem since doing a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.10 (on Dell Inspiron 1420).

    Comment by RayJ | February 22, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thanks, very informative and helpful.
    Ubuntu 11.04 on Dell V131

    Comment by Dima | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  4. nice & concise. consnice.

    Comment by zpmorgan | January 23, 2012 | Reply

  5. cheer man – I’ve having this exact problem on mint v 12.

    ..and of course your rm then rescan worked a treat…

    +1

    Comment by v | January 29, 2012 | Reply

  6. Thanks aplenty. Been having this problem repeatedly on my Asus netbook when using Ubuntu 11.10. This works great.

    Comment by Joe | June 9, 2012 | Reply

  7. Been having a slightly different but similar issue with my trackpad on my Thinkpad. Thanks for the quick fix that actually WORKS! Much appreciated.

    Comment by caleb | July 17, 2012 | Reply

  8. Thanks so much for this fix. It saved a lot of time!

    Comment by djob82 | July 23, 2012 | Reply

  9. […] in 2009, Xenofon Papadopoulos posted on mice and trackpads not working after a specific error comes up. He was on Linux kernel […]

    Pingback by Cowabuntu! | August 28, 2012 | Reply

  10. Great: no need to end my session and my touchpad works again. Thanks! <3

    Comment by Casey | September 4, 2012 | Reply

  11. great :) it’s a beautiful workaround.. I have been roaming around for past few weeks all the mint forums for a solution.. Thanks a ton

    Comment by sandeep | January 8, 2013 | Reply

  12. Hi.. I’ve had the same problem… I was able to take it one step further.. I placed the following in my /etc/rc.local

    modprobe -r psmouse
    modprobe psmouse proto=imps

    this appears to permanently fix the problem….

    Comment by SammIam | February 28, 2013 | Reply

  13. Thanks so much!

    Comment by Flan | May 19, 2013 | Reply

  14. Superb! Thanks a ton …

    Comment by uego | October 15, 2013 | Reply

  15. Thank you, that worked very well

    Comment by trit | October 31, 2013 | Reply

  16. Brilliant tip :) got my touchpad back with no reboot. Thanks

    Comment by Snapey | February 25, 2014 | Reply

  17. My keyboard freezes as well. I have a fresh install of Av Linux 6. Does anybody know how I can prevent the freezing? I find this very strange for an operating sustem that gets so many ” hallelujahs” for stability etc…hmmmmm…..a bit disappointing to say the least…

    I hope I get this fixed so that I still can enjoy the supposedly nice OS Linux, especially the Av variant with lots of audio and video stuff…;-)

    Comment by John | August 6, 2014 | Reply

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    Comment by Oakley Jupiter Squared | September 10, 2014 | Reply

  19. Fantastic workaround thanks! Seems I’ve been having this problem for ages.

    Comment by Gauche | October 5, 2014 | Reply

  20. It’s the first time I encounter the problem on Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS.
    You saved me a lot of time searching a solution. Thanks guy !!

    Comment by Christophe | November 5, 2014 | Reply

  21. Thanks, but it didn’t work for me.

    Comment by isomorphismes | November 9, 2014 | Reply

  22. WORKED, five years LATER. I am using Ubuntu 14.10. Of course, we don’t know the CAUSE of the problem, but this temporary solution does work perfectly, and has been tested more than five times.

    Comment by David | November 28, 2014 | Reply


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