Disable laptop touchpad tapping in Xubuntu 9.04

April 27th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

In a previous post I detailed steps on how to disable touchpad tapping in Xubuntu 8.04. Unfortunately the package gsynaptics-mcs-plugin which provides the Xfce Settings Manager plugin is obsolete in Xubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) and therefore the annoyance of touchpad tapping and scrolling is back after upgrading from Hardy. Also, it turns out that the responsibility of managing input devices has been moved from the X server to HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) and so different steps are required in Xubuntu 9.04 / Xfce 4.6:

  1. Confirm that HAL is aware of the touchpad by running:

    lshal | grep synaptics

    The command should produce output similar to this

    input.x11_driver = 'synaptics'  (string)

  2. Run the following command to create a new file to enable the SHMConfig option in HAL

    sudo mousepad /etc/hal/fdi/policy/shmconfig.fdi

  3. Paste the following into the file and save:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
    <deviceinfo version="0.2">
        <match key="input.x11_driver" string="synaptics">
          <merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">True</merge>

  4. Reboot your machine.
  5. Run the following command to verify that HAL has picked up the setting

    lshal | grep x11_options

    It should produce output like this

      input.x11_options.SHMConfig = 'True'  (string)

  6. Run the following command

    synclient TouchpadOff=2

  7. Verify that touchpad tapping and scrolling are now disabled.
  8. The same command has to be run at the startup of each session. To do this, go to Applications > Settings > Session and Startup and on the Application Autostart tab add a new entry. Name and Description can be set to whatever, Command is the same as above:

    synclient TouchpadOff=2

  1. May 3rd, 2009 at 22:43
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Hi, I did exactly the same as you said, but until step 5, I couldn’t get the output, nothing returned, and touchpad still works.
    Could you help?

    • May 4th, 2009 at 13:05
      Reply | Quote | #2

      Hi, which version of Xubuntu are you running? These steps are applicable for 8.10 and 9.04, if you have an older version, take a look at these instructions. to find which version you are running, simply type this command in Terminal: lsb_release -idrc.

  2. Patches
    May 7th, 2009 at 02:23
    Reply | Quote | #3

    Thanks looked all over for how to disable tap click. If you want scrolling but no tap click try “synclient MaxTapTime=0”

  3. Vic
    June 10th, 2009 at 03:04
    Reply | Quote | #4

    Thanks worked perfect.
    I do like the side scroll which I will miss, but my touchpad was just auto clicking by itself which was becoming quite the nuisance. Thanks!

  4. fabbaz
    June 18th, 2009 at 08:30
    Reply | Quote | #5

    i have the same problem as #1, using xubuntu 9.04
    entering the command in step 5 doesn’t produce any output. what could be wrong?

  5. JayAaroBe
    July 22nd, 2009 at 11:18
    Reply | Quote | #6

    Holy crap! Thank you!!!!! I researched this problem for DAYS and tried everyone’s advice, but nothing worked until I tried what you suggested here.

    Can anyone explain why it’s not automatically an option like in Ubuntu?

  6. johnny
    July 29th, 2009 at 16:07
    Reply | Quote | #7

    I got the same problem as #1 and #5. I got xub. 9.04. I do as described but there is nothing at typing: lshal | grep x11_options
    Where is my problem ??

  7. July 30th, 2009 at 02:31
    Reply | Quote | #8

    Hi johnny,
    Check that the file /etc/hal/fdi/policy/shmconfig.fdi exists and the contents are exactly as mentioned in step 3. If the XML is not valid (e.g. a missing tag) then it won’t work. Also, you have to reboot after creating that file (step 4).

  8. Ivar
    August 22nd, 2009 at 23:19
    Reply | Quote | #9

    Thanks for great, detailed and useful info. It is amazing that one has to go so long way to disable this stupid and useless behaviour of the touchpad.

  9. Petern
    August 25th, 2009 at 19:58

    Thanks heaps! I’ve been trying zillions of different hacks to make this work, and finally you gave me the recipe I needed. Thank you!

  10. Oh Mee Gosh!
    September 8th, 2009 at 23:31

    Jesus Fracking Jiminy Crackers! I spent weeks looking for a solution to this problem. Thank you for the detailed and *working* solution.

  11. Joe
    November 4th, 2009 at 17:57

    Thank you empty quarter and thank you Patches. I hated the tap clicking but love the scrolling. This was just what I was looking for!

  12. naphelge
    November 18th, 2009 at 06:53

    this worked awesome in jaunty, but it isn’t working for me Karmic. The procedure for all of the steps output just as expected but the final command in step #6, synclient TouchpadOff=2, doesn’t disable the touchpad.

    Any thoughts or ideas?


  13. Geralt
    February 14th, 2010 at 18:05

    It is great! Working perfectly. I am runing xubuntu 9.10.

  14. KojiroAK
    March 23rd, 2010 at 10:21

    Works also under Lucid (Beta1). I’m not quiet sure, but I think you don’t need the fdi anymore, because hal doesn’t recognise the touchpad anymore.

    But synclient Maxtaptime=0 is better imho, because it only disables tapping but leaves the scroll area alone.

  15. Ermott
    March 26th, 2010 at 22:55

    Thanks very much. This worked perfectly, even with 9.10 on my Acer Aspireone A0751H.