Alps (Synaptics) touchpad configuration in Lucid and Maverick Meerkat

The procedure for modifying touchpad settings has changed in Lucid Lynx. Today I installed the Beta 1 and found that the earlier techniques for configuring touchpad settings in Jaunty and Karmic no longer work. In Ubuntu 10.04, the entire HAL system has died and is replaced with something called udev.

Alternatively, we can change the touchpad settings in the xorg.conf.d folder. Thanks for the tip Jensel!

Let’s look at both techniques

Using Udev

Users can place their configuration files for udev inside “/etc/udev/rules.d” The files have a certain syntax, but of course it’s best to simply copy someone else’s file and just modify it to what you want. I created a file called touchpad.rules (the file must have the extension “rules”). Here is what I put into it:

ACTION!=”add|change”, GOTO=”xorg_synaptics_end”
KERNEL!=”event*”, GOTO=”xorg_synaptics_end”

ENV{ID_INPUT_TOUCHPAD}!=”1″, GOTO=”xorg_synaptics_end”



See the bold section? That’s where you put in your own settings similar to the rules we used to put into our .fdi files. Here are the settings in my earlier fdi file and here is the full list of options you can use.

I had to reboot the system to apply the changes – logging off didn’t work. If I find a better way to do this, I’ll post it here. The command posted on the official instruction page didn’t work for me either.

Using .conf files in xorg.conf.d

This is simple. Go to the folder “/usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d”. In there, find the file that has your synaptics settings. For me it was “10-synaptics.conf”. You can add your synaptics settings after the “Driver” line in the relevant “Identifier” section. My Identifier line was: Identifier “touchpad catchall”

Option        “HorizEdgeScroll”    “1”
Option        “MaxTapTime”        “300”

This will change the HorizEdgeScroll and MaxTapTime parameters. Just modify for whichever parameters you want to change. When you log out and log in again, your settings should be applied.

If you learn something more about these rules, be sure to let me know!

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  1. So how do we get Ubuntu to recognize that a touchpad exists. When I cat /proc/bus/input/devices all that shows is a PS/2 mouse. I am running 10.10 (upgraded from 10.4) and it still doesnt' work.

    The instructions above are great if I had Ubuntu recognizing the touchpad, but it doesn't. Any tips?


  2. none of this works in kubuntu 10.04. system settings for touchpad are greyed out and there is no identifier for touchpad. all drivers are installed but nothing works.


  3. For those who’s touchpad shows up as PS/2…

    Basically, you need to add your device back to alps.c, recompile psmouse.ko, add into current /lib/modules/WHATEVER KERNEL YOU’RE ON

    It works – at least it’s recognized…still working on everything else.

    Good Luck!


    • In reply to ajm

      Hi ajm,

      could you please give more details about this procedure e.g. how can one guess how to modify alps.c? Or have you any update an this problem/solution?



  4. Pure curiosity:

    U sure that the “10-synaptics.conf” file is located under “/usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d”?

    I can find a similar file (“50-synaptics.conf”) under “/usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d”. In facr the folder “xorg.conf.d” folder is not even located in the lib-line.

    For all with Touchpad issues: Try to press [Fn] + [F7]. I was looking for a solution for weeks, just to find out, that this hardware block even survives new installations!

    And for all with scroll issues: Try to set the mode probe.
    sudo rmmod psmouse
    sudo modprobe psmouse proto=imps
    for test. If imps doesn’t work, try exps

    If any of those work, make it permanent by editing “/etc/modprobe.d/options” and add the following lines:
    options psmouse proto=imps

    restart x.

    Cheers for that wonderful blog.


  5. Got a HP dm4 i5 loaded 10.10. As usual wiped the MS 7 completely. Only hitch was the jumping touchpad. Once I did what Rodnox suggested everything worked like charm.


  6. I have tried and tried all these methods on how to enable my touchpad vertical scroll on the right for my Dell Latitude E6510 and nothing seems to work. This scroll function is central to my work and the only way I can use it is through using an external mouse.

    ANyone??? I really would like to know how to do this.


  7. Sorry to have not kept up, but some new progress has been made!

    I did supply links, but apparently those get stripped from my posting…apologies

    I have gotten some results (Vertical scrolling on Dell Latitude E6510) by search Launchpad, Bug #550625

    Also, in terms of actually recompiling alps.c – though I don’t believe it’s any longer necessary – that was originally found at “confluence dot nau dot edu” it was posted by Christopher M. Gray.

    I believe its the first hit by searching “Recognize ALPS Touchpad on Dell E6510 in Ubuntu”


  8. How do I apply this “psmouse.ko” thing? New to ubuntu. Absolutely no knowledge. Help!


  9. Good news! The scroll feature works fine after upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal


  10. There’s a hardware lock of the touchpad on the Lenovo T410S also, but it’s Fn+F8.


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