I have three users set up on my system (Debian testing / x64 / Xfce 4.8). For two of them scrolling with the mousewheel works perfectly, but for one user it doesn't work properly in Xfce. The mouse-wheel scrolling will work, but only when the mouse is over a scrollbar (horizontal or vertical) (e.g. in Thunar or when over the workspace-switching applet). This method doesn't work at all in iceweasel.

I've tried deleting .gconf* and .config/xfce* but I still can't see why the mouse doesn't scroll. The home partition has survived several linux distro installs, so there may be odd files knocking around, but don't want to lose all settings etc that do work.

Keyboard - Cherry Cymotion Master Linux (Num lock on/off makes no difference)

Mouse - Logitech MX518

Both autoconfigured at startup (attempts to manually configure by creating an xorg config file actually fails with "Number of created screens does not match number of detected devices. Configuration failed")

  • 1
    Do the other users use xfce as well? Do they have the same keyboard configuration? Does the problematic user have Num Lock on (some applications don't recognize some events when Num Lock is on)? Sep 17, 2011 at 20:22
  • Yes, all using Xfce. Keyboard and mouse config the same
    – Rich
    Sep 19, 2011 at 12:23
  • I'd use synergy to debug which mouse events are being seen by the different users (setup a test client/server connection and move the mouse over to it and scroll the wheel and see what it says in verbose mode). If that doesn't help, you might try running a diff -r on the dot-files in the different users home dirs.
    – polynomial
    Oct 2, 2011 at 5:16
  • I think I've found the problem, just not the solution - "xev" reports mousewheel correctly as buttons 4 and 5 in a working login but 6 and 7 in the non-working login - can anyone think of which user configuration file would be altering the mapping?
    – Rich
    Oct 3, 2011 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


I finally found the answer to this by doing a

grep -r xmodmap /home/username/.c* 

which returned

/home/username/.config/autostart/xmodmap.desktop:Exec=xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 6 7 4 5"

Something I must have put in place years ago to fix something else (I've deleted that file now). Thanks everyone for their help


Thanks for this last info -- I am running debian on virtualbox and did not have mouse pointer running... by doing this:

xmodmap -e 'pointer = 1 2 3 6 7 4 5 8 9 10 11 12 13'

I got the scroll wheel working.

xev reported that scrollwheel is buttons 6 and 7 -- and I recall from previous experience that scrollwheel buttons used to be mapped to buttons 4 & 5. xmodmap -pp displayed that I had "13 physical buttons" mapped as 1 - 1, 2 - 2, 3 - 3, all up to 13 - 13

I hope this gives useful hints to anyone having the same problem...

  • Ok, today I had to revert back to xmodmap -e 'pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13' as somehow buttons 4 5 now do vertical and 6 7 horizontal scrolling... well, if things get reversed again tomorrow I can pick the suitable xmodmap lines from command line history.
    – Tomi
    Mar 27, 2013 at 7:04

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