Turning off the Touchpad on an HP dv8000 Series Notebook

This one falls into the holy s— category of cool things to do using Ubuntu. I have used a dv8000 series HP Pavilion notebook for about a year and have had nothing but grief from the Touchpad that is located underneath the keyboard. Unlike other HP notebooks I’ve used, there is no button to turn the darned thing off. This means that if I want to use the built in keyboard and my thumb accidentally touches the Touchpad, it is activated. And not only that, but tapping the touchpad once (which is what happens when my thumb inadvertently touches it), it acts as a single mouse click. I wish I had a dime for each time I have clicked “New” in Evolution to send an email, moved my hand from the mouse, began typing my email, and accidentally touch the keypad, which single clicks the mouse, sending a single click event to any control that happens to be underneath the mouse cursor at the time. 99% of the time that control is the Send button on the Evolution UI. So, I just sent an incomplete email. Damn that Touchpad!

So my options are:

  1. Cut off my right thumb, so it can’t inadvertently touch the Touchpad.
  2. Download the source for Evolution and change the UI to move the dialog that comes up slightly to the right so that the Send button isn’t always sitting right beneath the New button on the parent screen, so it can’t be “clicked” when I accidentally touch the Touchpad with my thumb.
  3. Find a way to deactivate the Touchpad.

I don’t really think 1 and 2 are really going to work, so how about disabling the %&$*ing Touchpad?

If you’ve experienced this same frustration, read on. There is hope. And it doesn’t involve duct tape over the Touchpad (I’ve actually read this as a solution on several forums I visited).

  1. Open Synaptic Package Manager
  2. Pull up all items related to “touchpad” by searching for “touchpad”
  3. Install qsynaptics (and make sure that the xserver-xorg-input-synaptics driver is installed)
  4. Edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file (using sudo) and add the following line near the bottom of the section for the synaptics touchpad:
    Option "SHMConfig" "true"
  5. Reboot your computer. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s Linux and never ever ever needs to be rebooted, but just reboot, okay. I couldn’t get it to work until I did.
  6. From a command line, run qsynaptics. You should see the following screen:
    QSynaptics In Action!
  7. On the panel titled “switch synaptics touch pad” choose “off” (which I had already done by the time I took this screen shot)

And it really works too. Holy crap!

So, if you’ve ever gotten two emails from me where the first is incomplete rambling, followed by the same text in the incompete rambling, followed by more rambling, I would like to apologize (again) and say that it’s not likely to ever happen again. Now, if I could just figure out how not to ramble in the first place…

UPDATE: one thing I’ve noticed is that having turned the touch pad off is not stateful between boots. To turn the damned thing back off, go into the qsynaptics program. You’ll notice that the “off” radio button is still checked, but the Touchpad is active. So, turn it “on”, click OK. Get back into the program and turn it “off.” Now it’s off. What a pain in the ass. But it sure beats the alternative.


2 thoughts on “Turning off the Touchpad on an HP dv8000 Series Notebook

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