How To Enable Mouse Wheel Scrolling in Ubuntu Hardy on VMware Fusion

I was having problems installing VMware Tools on Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) under VMware Fusion but got to the bottom of it.

The next problem was trying to get the mouse scroll wheel to work. I did some Googling and most of the guides suggested I change a single line in xorg.conf (namely, set the "Protocol" of the mouse device to "ImPS/2"). It didn't work. On a limb I thought I'd try changing the driver from "vmmouse" to "mouse" and this solved the problem, but the mouse tracking and acceleration was TOTALLY different between OS X and Linux.. eugh!

With some perseverance, I've found a solution. You can use the vmmouse driver, keep the synchronized mouse tracking and acceleration, and use your mouse wheel as it was intended.

I have been told this technique works on VMware Workstation and VMware Player on the PC too, but I haven't tried it on there myself.

Steps to Enable Mouse Wheel Scrolling in Ubuntu Hardy under VMware Fusion

Launch a Terminal (Applications menu -> Accessories -> Terminal).


sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Scroll down (it's not far, perhaps 20 - 30 lines) till you see a block that looks like this:

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "vmmouse"
[.. blah blah blah ..]

Replace that whole section with this:

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "vmmouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
Option "Buttons" "5"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

Save the file, then close all your apps and hit Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. X restarts within a few seconds, and you're back up and running. Scrolling should now be possible!

I haven't gotten to the bottom of horizontal scrolling yet. I thought a ZAxisMapping of "4 5 11 12" would do it, but I suspect either VMware Fusion's mouse driver does things a different way, or maybe it's mouse specific (not likely). I'll update this post if I work it out.


  1. Alex says:

    Thanks, this work perfect, very easy, and fast!.

  2. Christian says:

    It worked for me!!

    windows xp running ubuntu 8.04
    I just had to alter the following line from:
    Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
    Option "Protocol" "ImUSB"

    because I have a usb mouse and not a ps/2 and all was good.

    Thanks for the help.

  3. Jack says:

    I guess everyone else has already said it all THANKS! I have been spending hours searching for the answer to fix this mouse issue. Everything is now working great.

  4. tylerw says:

    Worked! Thanks.

  5. Gabriel says:

    Great ! works like a charm

  6. Anon says:

    Thanks mate, works with Ubuntu Hardy on VMWare Workstation 6.0.4

  7. Billiga says:

    Thanks for the explanation Peter, much appreciated! Was years since I dabbled with the X11 config file.. first time ever I didn't break it :P

  8. Настройка интерфейса Ubuntu на VMWare Server | Computer Experiments Exposed says:

    [...] Оригинал рецепта на английском взят отсюда [...]

  9. Mike Carpentier says:

    Thanks so much! Works like a charm!

    Cheers --Mike

  10. sot says:

    Many thanks, this worked with VMWare Player in XP sp3.

    My dvd rw isn't recognized by ubuntu 8.04.1(but my usb flash is) in vmware player. Is this a thing with vmware player or it happens just to me. The same problem had appeared when I was playing with Tinyme. My fstab line for cd is:
    /dev/scd0 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec,utf8 0 0

  11. Gabe says:

    Thanks that rocks.

  12. Daimon Cladinos says:

    Way Too Cool! This worked for me!

    Thank you for taking the time to post this!

    Vista x64; VMWare Player Build 2.5.0; Ubuntu 8.04

  13. Pierre Labrie says:

    Works well with VmWare Fusion on Mac.

  14. Cyber says:

    Thx so much! It works perfectly! ;)

  15. BT says:

    Thanks worked exactly as advertised

    VMworkstation6.X, Ubuntu (Hardy)

  16. taekwon says:

    It works well.. Thanks!!

  17. Alain says:


    It worked for mee too. I have Ubuntu 8.04 as a guest OS over VMWare Player 2.04 with Windoz XP OS as host OS. The VM was created with VMWare Workstation 6.X.

  18. Ramesh Marikhu says:

    When I replaced the "InputDevice" part of xorg.conf with the section below, -
    Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "Configured Mouse"
    Driver "vmmouse"
    Option "CorePointer"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
    Option "Buttons" "5"
    Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
    the mouse scrolling did work. However, ubuntu I had installed in VMWare Workstation 6 could not identify my display and provided me with only 800x600 screen resolution. I checked out the contents of xorg.conf and found that it was auto-replaced with the content below -
    Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "Configured Mouse"
    Driver "mouse"
    Option "CorePointer"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
    Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
    Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
    In order to get back 1024x768 screen resolution, I changed the line
    Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
    Option "Protocol" "ps/2"
    But after that, the mouse scrolling did not work. Please help.

  19. Christina’s Notes » Blog Archive » Oo also. says:

    [...] This Blog Oo also. Friday, November 07th, 2008 - 14:06 | Author: christina How To Enable Mouse Wheel Scrolling in Ubuntu Hardy on VMware Fusion Tags: mouse, ubuntu, vmware Category: Uncategorized You can follow any responses to this entry [...]

  20. DrTune says:

    AAARGH! HELP! It didn't work and totally screwed up my computer... no... wait a minute... that was Vista. :-)
    Nah, works. Thx!

  21. Longboard says:

    This little tip is all over the web
    I must remember to save this a text file
    I keep coming back.

  22. ferhatkdz says:

    (kUbuntu 8.04,vmware 6.05)

  23. CSastra’s Blog » Blog Archive » Enable Scroll Mouse Pada Ubuntu says:

    [...] asli bisa diambil di http://peterc.org/2008/64-how-to-enable-vertical-mouse-wheel-scrolling-in-ubuntu-hardy-on-vmware-fus... Posted in Linux on December 4, [...]

  24. Mykola Lys says:

    cool! it works on my WM Fusion. Host id Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.2(Hackintosh) with A4tech X7 mouse on Ubuntu 8.04 jars.de image.
    tahnks a lot! looks problem in vmware tools driver then.

  25. Nick says:

    Astonishing! Works a treat on VMWare! Thanks!

  26. Anand Rai says:

    thanks for info.
    it works on vmvare station for ubuntu...

  27. fevm says:

    Works in Ubuntu 8.04 // VMWare WOrkstation ace edition. 6.0...

  28. Ubuntu in VMware Fusion « LEMP test says:

    [...] only thing that I found not working so far is the scroll wheel of the mouse^ this great tip fixed [...]

  29. Zach says:

    Works like a charm. I will say that in doing this in VMware Workstation 5.5.3 or 5.5.8 or 6.5, that the scrolling seems to hesitate unless you scroll VERY slowly. It's probably that VMware just doesn't like my Microsoft wireless laser mouse 6000 v2 :)

  30. Leo says:

    Thanks a lot. It worked for me as well. (Ubuntu 8.04)

  31. Rob says:

    Works on Intrepid perfectly as well, and with a weird mouse, too!

  32. none says:


  33. juan says:

    thanks for the tip...

  34. Justin says:

    Sweet! Thx

  35. onn says:

    Thanks 4 the tips... its work 4 me on vmware workstation 5.0.0

  36. harryz says:

    you are realy great
    thx a lot

  37. Hubert says:

    Thanks a lot!

  38. Swiss says:

    Works for me on ESX Server 3.5 and Ubuntu 8.1

  39. Sigurdur F says:

    Simply thanks! This saved me couple of hours of digging.

  40. Johnny says:

    Thanks mang, this was driving me ****ing nuts, glad to have found a fix. It's amazing how relient on the scroll wheel I've become since the 90's. :D

  41. James Bonas says:

    Brilliant, thanks :)