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I use Linux Mint with MATE.

The touchpad of my laptop displays occasional erratic behavior that I attribute to my touches triggering some "special functions".

This manifests while browsing with firefox when the browser suddenly moves forward or back or loads some previous site seemingly at random. Other occurrences are random insertions when I edit a file.

I do not want to use any of these special functions and I would like to disable these special functions. The touchpad itself I want to keep using when I do not have mouse. However, I have not found any of the according options. Can you give me an advise?

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If you have a Synaptics touchpad, the "special functions" seem to be turned on or off via config files in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ or /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/. This page from the Debian wiki has some details: https://wiki.debian.org/SynapticsTouchpad

I don't have experience with MATE but some desktop environments can override touchpad settings in their autostart scripts.

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I've been battling the same problem on my Dell Precision m6800 with Mint 17 KDE. I like the touchpad for positioning the cursor but no taps or effects. If I avoid using the synaptics driver by setting proto=imps for psmouse, the problems disappear except that tapping remains enabled. With opensuse kde there is no problem with the alps touchpad, but enough other problems to keep me struggling with mint. The touchpad problems with synaptics can be largely suppressed by disabling all effects in system settings - desktop effects, and then using gpointing-device-settings to disable tapping. The cursor is still a little unstable as you cross edges of display items and every now and then freezes, requiring a round trip to virtual console.

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