Saturday, 4 January 2014

Dell XPS13 Developer Edition (Haswell) touchpad not recognised by Synaptics Ubuntu 13.10

After installing Ubuntu 13.10 on this laptop I found that the touchpad settings could not be modified from the usual mouse menus, and two fingered scrolling/edge scrolling could not be enabled.

It turns out this is due to the touchscreen driver interfering with the mouse driver, and a workaround is provided here. Just run:

sudo echo blacklist i2c_hid > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist_i2c_hid.conf
and reboot. This left the touchscreen still functional for me, and the touchpad is now picked up by Synaptics.


  1. How did you end up upgrading from the stock LTS with the XP13? Was it 12.4 -> 12.10 -> 13.10?

  2. It was a complete reinstall from a USB stick rather than an upgrade. I suspect the full upgrade path might be fraught with other problems

  3. Ah, good to know! Did you find any issues with 13.10 that you've not managed to resolved? Dell have sprung a 'surprise' with the shipping date, so I'm busy worrying myself about what could possibly go wrong when it does end up in my hands!

  4. The touchpad has slightly weird behaviors under the various available drivers due to the touch surface being part of the physical buttons. There are various drivers in the repositories that exhibits different behavior however, so one of them will no doubt fit! Remember that this is under a vanilla Ubuntu install also - I suspect the install that it shipped with has sensible defaults preconfigured.

    Other than that my only real qualm is that some component of the laptops power system occasionally emits a very high pitched whine, which appears to be a documented problem with all the smaller XPS models. It's not hugely loud, and is also not constant. I've found it to be not particularly problematic past the initially noticing it. Doing something simple like reducing the keyboard backlight brightness often eliminates it entirely, or at least attenuates it!

    On the whole I've been very happy with it. The battery life is huge, and I typically get 6-9 hours depending on use, and performance is great. It's extremely portable and has been behaving nicely under constant suspend/resume cycles.

  5. One issue that I'm running into, is that after a few sleep/suspend sessions (exact number is not predictable), the trackpad stops working and I'm forced to reboot. Has anyone else run into this problem and/or know of an easy fix?

  6. I have to say I've not had any issues with any hardware on suspend/resume cycles so far, but I am using 13.10 with 3.13rc8 kernel - so that may well have sorted it.

  7. How is the trackpad?
    I saw some topics about the trackpad problem with XPS13,and I'm not sure if ti still exist on new haswell XPS13.
    just want to make a selection between Thinkpad X240 and XPS13 and worried about dell's build quality

  8. The trackpad seems reliable once you get used to whatever quirks your chosen synaptics input driver has (I eventually settled on the default). Overall I would rather the left and right click buttons were not actually a part of the touch surface, but I'm using it at full speed nowdays with no troubles.

    The general build quality of the laptop seems to be very good, but the capacitor whine under certain power loads is likely going to be enough to put some people off.

  9. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou. OMG Thankyou