Thursday, April 11, 2013

How To Disable Touchpad On A Chromebook

As some of you already know, my house and everything in it burned down on Feb 22.  Our insurance company has gone paperless, so our Adjuster's enthusiastic "and we're paperless, so you can scan things to send to us and just log on from your computer to do all the claims work"   Um... you mean with the scanners and computers that are baked and drowned in the smouldering, flooded hole where my house used to be? (Yes, I actually said that out loud to him.)  "Oh... yeah..."

He told us to go buy a permanent comparable replacement for one of our lost computers, that night at the nearest big box store.  Problem:  None of us had off the shelf machines - or want one as our permanent replacement - plus we were staying in a tiny hotel room at that time (we were moved to the Fire Victims Suite when it came available two weeks later and after 5 weeks, we finally got to move into a rental home, where we will remain until our home is rebuilt.)  No room for a real machine.   So we went for a fast and cheap way to meet our immediate needs and bought a Chromebook and a wireless mouse.

Then we had a new problem.  No setting to let us switch off the ultra sensitive touchpad so you don't cursor jump and page jump constantly.  I searched for an app to let me access the setting for nearly 7 weeks before I finally broke down and asked my FaceBook pals - Adam and Cynthia came to my rescue and their help got me the right combination of keywords to find what I needed.   It's simple and I'm going to share it with you, here, so the next person who needs it might have an easier time finding it in a Google search without having to know the magic combination of keywords necessary to find it:

1. Type:  CTRL ALT T
     (This will get you into the crosh terminal screen and you'll have a crosh prompt.)

2.  At the prompt, type:  tpcontrol status  
      (then press ENTER)

3.  A big list of stuff will scroll onto your screen.  Scroll up near the top of this and look for a line that says the device is enabled - in this line, there will be two numbers, the device's ID number and the number 1.  (The one is the binary value of the on/off switch. 0=off, 1=on.)

4.  This is the format of what you are going to type (minus enclosures):
      tpcontrol set <id> <value>

5.  For my chromebook, I type:
      tpcontrol set 129 0  (to turn off the touchpad... and...)
       tpcontrol set 129 1 (to turn the touchpad back on.)

NOTE:  Turning the touchpad off is  a non-persistent setting, meaning that it will definitely not "stick" and will definitely revert to the touchpad being switched on again, after a restart and when you log your profile out.  So, if you never want the touchpad to be switched on, you'll need to go to the terminal (step 1 above) and set the switch to off (step 4/5 above.)

Hope this helps someone -- and if that someone is you, I hope your Chromebook was purchased under less catastrophic circumstances.  :)