Disabling the track stick in Ubuntu

The track stick (also known as pointing stick, TrackPoint, and various other names) can easily be disabled in Ubuntu. I never use it, since my Dell Inspiron has a trackpad that I find more ergonomic to use. Recently, the track stick started to go haywire, sending my mouse pointer all over the screen.  Since I don’t use it, I wanted to disable it.

Googling found many old posts that stated that it was impossible.

But, finally, I stumbled upon the xinput utility. It can disable the device!

To list all available input devices:

 $ xinput list
 ⎡ Virtual core pointer                    	id=2
 ⎜   ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer              	id=4
 ⎜   ↳ Wacom Graphire2 4x5 eraser              	id=9
 ⎜   ↳ Wacom Graphire2 4x5 cursor              	id=10
 ⎜   ↳ Wacom Graphire2 4x5                     	id=11
 ⎜   ↳ AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint TouchPad        	id=14
 ⎜   ↳ Macintosh mouse button emulation        	id=15
 ⎜   ↳ DualPoint Stick                         	id=13
 ⎣ Virtual core keyboard                   	id=3
     ↳ Virtual core XTEST keyboard             	id=5
     ↳ Video Bus                               	id=6
     ↳ Power Button                            	id=7
     ↳ Sleep Button                            	id=8
     ↳ AT Translated Set 2 keyboard            	id=12

The device I want to disable has id 13. Use xinput to list its properties:

 $ xinput -list-props 13
 Device 'DualPoint Stick':
 	Device Enabled (117):	0
 [...several lines removed...]
 $ xinput -set-prop 13 117 0

Once I knew the solution, I could easily find other posts that mentions it. But what good is that? 🙂

Actually, the device is is dynamically allocated, and can change. So a better command to disable the stick is:

 $ xinput -set-prop "DualPoint Stick" "Device Enabled" 0

Let me know if you found the solution via this post.


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65 Responses to “Disabling the track stick in Ubuntu”

  1. Tom Says:

    Thanks ! Worked for me. I was down a rabbit hole trying to disable the damn thing with a udev rule. This one is much easier for me. I just added the command as a startup app and my erratic Dell trackpoint seems not to bother me anymore.

    Also see http://art.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=9662722

    thanks again.

  2. Niall Says:

    Thanks a lot for your post. I was having mouse trouble whereby my cursor was jumping around randomly. Your post gave me the idea that it might not have been my touchpad that needed disabling. Turned out I had to disable a touch screen device.

  3. Joseph Says:

    Excellent stuff, thanks for this!

  4. a Says:

    Thank you, have been looking for ages for a way to stop my drifting mouse. This was the easiest method I have seen (and the only one that worked!)

  5. Eighteen Rabbit Says:

    Thanks, it worked for me the annoying track stick seems to be totally disabled!

  6. Trevor Page Says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I have Ubuntu 10.10 on my Vaio BGN-BX396VP and the pointing stick was causing the pointer to randomly go all over the place. I have been browsing several forums for a solution about this; most of those solutions given involve editing an X11 .conf file I couldn’t find, and I was getting a bit frustrated. I know I could so easily just remove the keyboard and disconnect the pointing stick, but I knew there had to be an easy way in software.

    I don’t recall having any trouble with the pointing stick in Windows XP prior to switching to Ubuntu. I do wonder if the Windows driver is superior in that it continuously compensates in software for any bias towards any particular direction, using a kind of slow feedback loop. I have an old IBM laptop and the pointer stick on that definitely has that feature in its driver: if you keep pressure on the stick for quite a few seconds, the driver compensates. Let go of the pointer, and the pointer then starts moving by itself in the opposite direction, until it compensates again and stops. Ubuntu, on the other hand, just seems to use the pointer ‘open loop’.

    • cederlys Says:

      On my Dell, Ubuntu also compensates for any bias. But then one day, the pointer started moving too much (and fairly randomly) so that the compensation was not enough. That was when I had to disable it.

  7. Jordan Says:

    Thanks! Just started using Ubuntu and was looking for a way to disable this. Because of the general disconnect between my fingers and my brain, bumping the stick while typing made for some pretty interesting prose! No hardware problem, strictly a user problem.

  8. jdh4321 Says:

    Works Great!!!

  9. Toshiba joystick mouse problems, disable? Says:

    […] "DualPoint Stick" or similar. As the reference for a beginner, see the following post – https://cederlys.wordpress.com/2010/0…ick-in-ubuntu/ Cheers, […]

  10. Vinh To (@VinhTo) Says:

    Yes, works like a charm!! My fat finger used to hit the track stick mouse all the time, and current window losed focus, which drove me crazy. Thanks!

  11. Daan V. Says:

    Thank you so much , I’ve installed Ubuntu on an old laptop and that trackstick annoyed the crap out of me ! Huge thanks !!!

    Daan V.

  12. Sébastien M. Says:

    I had exactly the same problem (and asked DELL support). Your solution worked perfectly by me. Thank you!

  13. Disabling a Dell PointStick (TrackStick) in CrunchBang Linux « esSJae's Virtualization (&stuff) Blog Says:

    […] The key tool is xinput (thanks to this post on ceder’s blog) […]

  14. farhad Says:

    Great post! Thanks.

  15. Haley Says:

    Thanks. Consice & apt.

  16. Piyush Says:

    Very useful information. I have been struggling with the stick enabled and the mouse pointer moving all over. The details mentioned in the post work like a charm. Thanks.

  17. john Says:

    I works
    I typed tle last command ( xinput -set-prop “DualPoint Stick” “Device Enabled” 0 )
    And trackpoind doesnt bother me now.

  18. bob@hom.com Says:

    thank you

  19. nic Says:

    One year and half my mouse was moving on its own. You fixed it in one command. I feel stupid now 😀

  20. Tony Says:

    Thank you … thank you … thank you!

  21. Joachim Says:

    Great job.
    It works!!!!!!

  22. Em Says:

    I guess you don’t have this option, but I had the same issue and in the “Mouse and touchpad” configuration I had two Devices. One of them was the “DualPoint Stick” which I was able to disable.

  23. kartikey sehgal Says:

    splendid. worked.

  24. duffort Says:

    Many thanks! My client was ready to throw this old Dell Latitude D800 in the bin, precisely because of this incredibly annoying wandering mouse pointer problem. Your disabling the “DualPoint Stick” hack worked a treat!

  25. Jurjen Says:


  26. Michele Says:

    Thank you very much! It works!

  27. Andrea Maglie Says:

    Great! Thanks!

  28. Nicholas Joll Says:

    Good stuff. Very helpful. One thing, though: does the effect of the command persist through reboots? I suppose I am going to find out . .

    • cederlys Says:

      It does not persist. You need to run it every time you start an X session. In a traditional setting you would add the command to .xinitrc; the desktop you are using probably have a way to automatically run commands whenever you start a session.

      • Nicholas Joll Says:

        Thanks. On Linux Mint, I could run the command at startup by entering the command (no need for a file) in the ‘startup applications’ utility.

  29. Aqar Says:

    Thanks it works perfectly.

  30. julian Says:

    Thanks !

  31. Andrés Parada Says:

    Thanks a lot this fixed a drift in the cursor which moved alone, in a Trusty Tahr dual boot with W8 that out of the box had that problem.

  32. Pierre François Says:

    It worked for me too. Thanks a lot.

  33. MaC Says:

    Perfect! works on a Dell Latitute E6400 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  34. everalfon1994e Says:

    Works well on a Dell Latitud E5410 🙂 Thanks!

  35. Harry Says:

    Thanks. Worked well for a Dell E6440

  36. Dirk Says:

    Finally! Your post allowed me to stop going insane because of a constantly moving mouse pointer… Thanks so much!

  37. YouAreMyHero Says:

    thanks a lot!

  38. Joseph Knapka Says:

    This post rescued my beloved Latitude E4200 from the recycling bin. Thanks so much!

  39. drofmij Says:

    Excellent solution thank you.
    This fix is still working in Ubuntu 15.10 64bit 😀

  40. John Syers Says:

    I’m actually running CentOS 7, but this still solved the problem on my Latitude D830.

  41. steve Says:

    It’s not working on kali linux …
    How can I do on kali…?
    Thanks you…

    • cederlys Says:

      If you want anybody to help you, you need to explain your problem in more detail. What command did you run? Did it print any error message? In what way is it not working?

  42. Marco Says:

    If possible, this is world guinness best and most useful command since long time. works great on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS . My Thinkpad X220 now is not bothering any more.

  43. joshjaysalazar Says:

    Thank. You. SO. MUCH.

    That stupid little nubbin was driving me crazy! Same issue–it started sending my mouse all over the screen.

  44. Marc Richter Says:

    I searched for a way to lower the speed of the stick independent from TrackPad speed. Your post let me realize that I do not need that thing and howto easily disable; thank you!

  45. ch0psuey Says:

    You sir, are a god among men. Whoever invented the trackstick or middlemouse or whatever it is should be tar and feathered. Thank you

  46. Shneta Says:

    This helped me too. Thanks.

  47. Geoff Says:

    Your post was very helpful. I had been frustrated by the pointed going mad for months- though it was the trackpad and didn’t understand why stopping that didn’t help. Then I thought it could be trackstick and after some fruitless searching managed to find your. I’m so happy!

  48. Zulu Says:

    worked like a charm

  49. Sanne Says:

    Almost seven years after the fact and it still works, gotta love that. One “xinput -set-prop “AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint Stick” “Device Enabled” 0″ later and no more irritating mouse drifting. Thanks!

  50. Sylvain Says:

    Thanks ! It worked on a Dell Latitude E5570. 🙂

  51. Robin Says:

    Works with Linux Mint 18.2 running on a Lenovo T-420.
    Thank you for sharing.

  52. Dawid Stencel Says:

    Solved the problem of mouse pointer randomly jumping in different directions on my Dell E5570 and Ubuntu 16.04.

  53. Shahid Ghafoor Says:

    Thanks a lot its worked

  54. Michael Qwaame Says:

    Works on Dell Precision 7510 using Ubuntu 16.04. Thanks a bunch!

  55. Joseph Licata Says:

    Awesome! Thanks. Worked on my Dell Latitude E6410 running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

  56. Joe Penfield Says:

    When i run
    xinput -list -prop 13
    I get back –
    Device ‘AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint Stick’:
    Device Enabled (138): 1
    When I run
    xinput -set-prop 13 138 0
    the cursor wandering stops.
    However, when I run
    xinput -set-prop “DualPoint Stick” “Device Enabled” 0
    I get back
    unable to find device DualPoint Stick
    I did use the the command
    xinput -set-prop “DualPoint Stick” “Device Enabled” 0
    for a couple of years and it always worked just fine. Just recently (after I installed kdeconnect) the mouse pointer started wandering again and the command
    xinput -set-prop “DualPoint Stick” “Device Enabled” 0
    returns the error
    unable to find device DualPoint Stick
    The DualPoint Stick is recognized in one command but not the next. Any ideas what’s going on?

  57. Fausto Maijstral Says:

    Wonderful! Thank you very much. That works fine on Dell Lattitude E5570, Linux Mint Sylvia!

  58. Paul Sarraffe Says:

    xinput does not work in Wayland. However, the following udev rule worked for me. Note: You can use wildcards in the device name and the rule is case sensitive; i.e. ATTRS{name} works but ATTRS{NAME} does not.

    # ALPS DualPoint Stick: Ignore as input device

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