Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

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Agarthon
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Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by Agarthon » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:07 am

I am using Dell Inspiron 3521 laptop with Mint 19.1 MATE installed onto its hard disk. A couple hours ago I installed three programs using Mint's regular Software Manager: Fuse spectrum emulator (GTK version), Spectrum ROMs and finally Spectemu-x11. I doubt the first two programs caused any issues because I installed them numerous times before on Mint without any problems.

When I installed this last program (Spectemu-x11) and ran it, my touchpad immediately stopped working in Mint. It still does work during the log-in screen (I can move it around), but as soon as I log into the Mint with my password it stops working again. This of course strongly suggests some software cause. Now I am writing this from Mint's Live USB installation and the issue with the touchpad doesn't exist.

I tried to revert the changes back to the situation when the I installed the system because I made a restore point in Timeshift one day after the installation. I managed to do that from the command line, but after it finished and restarted the situation is still the same - no movement of the cursor with the touchpad once I log in.

Could someone please help me resolve this issue as it would be really dumb to have to reinstall the whole system just because of one rogue program? Please keep in mind that my movements are now restricted once I log in. I can maneuver my way with the Tab key and arrows but not everything is possible. Probably the terminal would be able to save the day, but I don't know much in that regard...

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thx-1138
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Re: Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by thx-1138 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:21 am

...when you say log-in screen i assume you mean graphical login, LightDM's menu?
Ctrl+Alt+F1 will take you to a terminal, and you could apt purge spectemu-x11

Agarthon
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Re: Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by Agarthon » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:37 am

thx-1138 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:21 am
...when you say log-in screen i assume you mean graphical login, LightDM's menu?
Ctrl+Alt+F1 will take you to a terminal, and you could apt purge spectemu-x11
I don't know how that log-in screen is called, but I assume there is only one? Let me try to explain: I turn on my laptop, I get the grub menu, I select Linux Mint, then I get the Linux Mint logo and wait a minute or two until it loads, and then I get that log-in screen where I have my Mint username already selected and I just need to enter the password. On that log-in screen the touchpad does work. As soon as I enter the password it stops working.

I tried the purge but it says it cannot locate the package (or something like that). I uninstalled that package from Software manager but the issue persists. By the way, the purge didn't work even before I removed spectemu-x11 via Software manager. It doesn't work with sudo apt-get purge xspect either.

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thx-1138
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Re: Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by thx-1138 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:54 am

The files for it are listed here & here:
https://packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/amd6 ... n/filelist
https://packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/amd6 ... 1/filelist
Ie. if somehow there are any remnants there, you could:
sudo rm /usr/bin/xspect
sudo rm /etc/spectemu/spectemu.cfg
sudo rm /usr/bin/tapeout

Thing is, other than that, there's next to no info / bug reports about this program that i can find,
except this one from 2013, which suggests running xset r afterwards.

Edit: the only other ideas that spring to mind are...
1) maybe somehow you disabled the touchpad accidentally?...
gsettings set org.mate.peripherals-touchpad touchpad-enabled true
2) maybe somehow input drivers were removed accidentally?
apt install xserver-xorg-input-libinput

Because if spectemu-x11 is not running, i really can't think how it would affect the touchpad.

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Re: Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by Agarthon » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:12 pm

I didn't see your latest edits to the post so I ended up reinstalling Mint over the previous installation. Curiously, the new install retained some settings from the previous one (such as the size of the swap file and some wifi settings) but the issue with the touchpad is now resolved.

The only problem is that I have seemingly lost all the files from the previous installation. I thought that only the system files would be overwritten but now I see that all the folders on sda5 are replaced with new empty folders from the new installation. Any ideas on how to bring back those old files? I see there's an utility SystemRescueCD but perhaps there's an easier and more elegant method? The old installation was on sda5 partition and for the new one I chose exactly the same partition (sda5). I didn't choose to format the partition during the new install, just to overwrite the old files.

I will experiment with that program and your solutions for reactivating the touchpad on the Live USB version of Mint tomorrow. I am curious to find out what happened. It's rather obvious one of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulator programs I installed today was the culprit, although it looks bizarre. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by thx-1138 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:28 pm

If /home was not on a separate partition, i'm afraid that all is lost / has become overwritten...
You could try TestDisk's DeepSearch from a live cd, eg. like SystemRescueCD that you mentioned,
here's the general idea more or less, a somewhat similar case...
Do make sure to avoid any further writes on the disk for the time being to increase the chances for recovering data,
but to be honest, i really wouldn't hope for much - without external backups...

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Re: Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by Agarthon » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:44 pm

thx-1138 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:28 pm
If /home was not on a separate partition, i'm afraid that all is lost / has become overwritten...
You could try TestDisk's DeepSearch from a live cd, eg. like SystemRescueCD that you mentioned,
here's the general idea more or less, a somewhat similar case...
Do make sure to avoid any further writes on the disk for the time being to increase the chances for recovering data,
but to be honest, i really wouldn't hope for much - without external backups...
Thankfully, nothing was overwritten. I've found out that if I go to Start menu -> Computer -> click the icon "File system" and then go to the Home folder I see there two folders: one that has the name of my current Mint installation and the other that has the name of the previous installation. All the data from the previous installation seems to be intact in that second folder. :)

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thx-1138
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Re: Touchpad stopped working after a program installation

Post by thx-1138 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:54 pm

Just to note, as i just checked such, that spectemu's code is from...1998.
What i mean is, after 21 yrs, just because it builds correctly with numerous patches on top of such,
doesn't necessarily mean it's code doesn't suffer from a certain level of bit-rot.
I might not see myself an obvious reason for it to mess with the touchpad,
and that is, especially after it's 'exited' or even more purged altogether...
but i'd certainly be cautious with something that much old, some pretty weird bugs can creep in.
Even the last maintenance patches on top of it are from January 2014...it truly is on lifeline support.

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