Drifting Mouse problem on Dells - Solution for Linux Fedora Core 4

I have had a Dell Latitude D800 for over a year now and recently had the dreaded "Drifting Mouse" problem as discussed in the Dell Support Forum.

Fortunately, I also came across a linux solution which talks about disabling the "Stick Pointer" using the "Synaptics Driver" which comes default with FC4.

Here is the gist of it which worked for me:

...many people have the same problem across a broad number of computers. The solution in Windows was to turn the stick pointer off. That is the solution in Linux also, but I could not find any tutorials on how to do this, so I will share how I accomplished it.

This solution is for Fedora Core 4, but you can follow similar steps for other OSes.

These are parts of my xorg.conf file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. This is how you disable the stick pointer (which is the problem). The only issue here is it was kind of tricky to disable the stick pointer because the drive was set to /dev/input/mice instead of a specific device. Look in /dev/input or /dev/ for the different mouse devices if you have an external USB mouse like me. I just did an `ls /dev/input` while it was plugged int and an `ls /dev/input` when it was unplugged to see which device the USB mouse was. It was mouse2, which is probably the same for everyone else with an inspiron 8500.

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
InputDevice "Synaptics" "CorePointer"
InputDevice "USB Mouse" "AlwaysCore"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "USB Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
# this line is important
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse2"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
# this line turns off the stick pointer
Option "GuestMouseOff" "on"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
Option "LeftEdge" "120"
Option "RightEdge" "830"
Option "TopEdge" "120"
Option "BottomEdge" "650"
Option "FingerLow" "14"
Option "FingerHigh" "15"
Option "MaxTapMove" "110"
Option "VertScrollDelta" "20"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "20"
Option "MinSpeed" "0.3"
Option "MaxSpeed" "0.75"

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update for ubuntu 10.10

I managed to do it without cutting the cable. Just unloaded psmouse module and blacklisted it in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

update for fedora 11

thanks for posting this - I found your post when googling for drifting mouse problem with a Dell 420 and was using this fix for Fedora 7.

Here's an update for Fedora 11:

Input devices like mice are now handled by HAL, not xorg.conf.
To see a list of them:
hal-device|grep -B 15 input.x11.driver

I had a usb mouse, a "PS/2 Mouse" and a "AlpsPS/2 Mouse".
I disabled the "PS/2 Mouse" (which turned out to be the stick pointer and two buttons below it) by putting into
a file /etc/hal/fdi/preprobe/disable.fdi
the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<deviceinfo version="0.2">
  <match key="input.product" string='PS/2 Mouse'>
    <merge key="info.ignore" type="bool">true</merge>