Ever since I have installed Ubuntu 11.04, the thing bothering me the most is that I am not able to use all special shortcut keys of the keyboard. The few keys working are Fn + Left/Right for volume control and the Fn + F2 for blank screen. However, there are few more important keys which aren't working. For example the brightness controlling keys (Fn + Up/Down), the wireless control key (Fn + F5), the TouchPad enable/disable key (Fn + F6). Initially I tried to find a solution to activate all those shortcut keys, but nothing helped me on this. Now, when I have started blogging or coding, I find that while the TouchPad is enabled it iz difficult to write. So, finally this morning I started to search for a solution to disable the Touchpad and finally I got a solid solution to the problem.
Solution 1: If you feel comfortable with command prompt then use it. Open the terminal and run the following line to get the Device ID.
The output of this command in my laptop is -
That is the id of the TouchPad is 12. Now, disable TouchPad using -
xinput set-prop 12 "Device Enabled" 0
And enable it again using -
xinput set-prop 12 "Device Enabled" 1
Note: Remember to change the device id according to your device.
Solution 2: The command line codes did things for sure. However, I wanted some solution that can make it just a key press away and I found a wonderful program for the purpose. Touchpad-Indicator, a GUI program to control the TouchPad. To install this program, use the following command -
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install touchpad-indicator
After installation you can find a shortcut under Applications -> Accessories in Genome and Under Applications -> Utility in KDE desktop. Once run, you can configure it by opening the performance link. It is possible to assign a shortcut key for quick access, Additionally, it is possible to automatically disable the TouchPad when a mouse is plugged into the system. Which is a very nice addition as I use mouse most of the time during my work at home.
Final Thoughts: This tool and command line instruction may be very useful for TouchPad management, however, it would be very nice to see some package inclusion in the distribution to enable all available shortcuts for different laptop keyboards. People switching from Windows to Linux may be disappointed to see these packages not working out-of-the-box.