/ WhatILearned

Using your touchpad in a Windows Host with a Linux Guest in vmware

In my current setup, I'm running Windows 10 as my main operating system and then run a Linux Mint 17 Virtual Machine (VM) for most of my development work. I had been using VirtualBox for the longest time with no issues and had recently decided to try using the (free) VMWare Player. I had heard that VMWare has a better performance[^1].

Note that I was tempted to convert my existing VirtualBox image to VMWare but in the end I just setup a new disk image and installed Linux Mint on the new image. This was partially because I felt that it would be about the same amount of time and it would also be a good chance to start with a fresh OS.

Two things that are extremely apparent when comparing VirtualBox vs VMWare:

  • Unity Mode on VMWare does not work for Linux guests. VirtualBox has a "Seamless" mode which works perfectly fine. These modes allow you to have a "transparent" background so your VM doesn't have to occupy full screen and block out everything else (handy when you're trying to monitor something on your Windows machine while working in Linux). Your windows app and linux apps simply feel like they're working alongside each other. It's not a show-stopper but it's strange that VMWare would offer an option that it knows does not work in Linux guest systems.
  • The touchpad on my Lenovo U410 only works as pointing and clicking. There's no two-finger scrolling (vertical or horizontal). On VirtualBox this was something that just worked without me even thinking about it. Note that if you're using a mouse, scrolling works perfectly fine in both VMWare and VirtualBox.

In order to fix this, research shows that I have to do the following:

Modify the Windows registry

  1. Open run dialog by hitting Windows Key and R
  2. Launch Registry editor by typing regedit.exe
  3. (Optional) Create a backup copy of your registry by clicking on File then Export and ensure you have selected "all"
  4. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Synaptics\SynTPEnh
  5. Create a new DWORD called UseScrollCursor with a value of 0.
  6. Close Registry Editor

Install Trackpad Scroller For VMWare

  1. Navigate to here
  2. Click on VMWareTrackpadScroller.zip to download it.
  3. Unzip it to a location that you know.

How to regularly use it

  1. Launch VMWare and your VM Machine like normal.
  2. Wait for your VM to boot up.
  3. Launch VMWareTrackpadScroller
  4. If you're using the free VMWare Player click No then Yes on the next popup to launch the service.
  5. Two finger vertical scroll to your hearts content!

Since switching to VMWare, I haven't really noticed a huge performance increase, though battery life has been slightly better. I'll continue to use VMWare for now just to see what else I can do.

ref: http://superuser.com/questions/131297/use-synaptics-touchpad-scroll-in-vmware-guest/683726#683726