How to Install Mouse Drivers From the Command Line in Ubuntu


Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux that has many hardware drivers installed, meaning that devices like mice often work right out of the box, but if you have one that does not, or there are features on the mouse that do not work, you may have to use the command line in the terminal to compile and configure the drivers yourself. It may sound overwhelming, but it is actually quite simple with the right information.

  • Power on your computer and allow it to boot to Ubuntu. Log into your user account.

  • Open a terminal. Click on the Applications menu and go to the Accessories submenu. Click on the Terminal application and allow it to start.

  • Enter the following command into the terminal and press <Enter>:

    sudo nano -B /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    When the window asking for the root password comes up, type it in and press <Enter> again.

  • Edit the xconfig file so that the lines for Option "Device" and Option "Protocol" read:
    Option "Device" "/dev/ttyS0"
    Option "Protocol" "auto"

    If your mouse is plugged into the "COM 2" port, change "/dev/ttyS0" to "/dev/ttyS1". If the Device and Protocol lines do not show up in the xconfig file, add them as shown above.
    If your mouse is plugged into a USB port, change "/dev/ttyS0" to "/dev/ttyUSB0" or whichever number USB port your mouse is currently using.

  • Hold down the <Ctrl> key and press <X>. Then press <Y> and <Enter> to save the changes to the xconfig file.

  • Restart your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your mouse still is not recognized when you restart your computer, go through the steps again and change the device line in Step 4 to "/dev/ttyS1" or if it is a USB mouse, "dev/ttyUSB1" or another USB port.

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  • Photo Credit mouse image by Bosko Martinovic from
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