OLPC Keyboard/Touchpad freeze and fix

OLPC XO-1 users who are running software builds 650-656 (from 2007 and early 2008) are encountering keyboard/touchpad freezing this month.  Some XOs became frozen thanks to a bug in an early version of the firmware. If you encountered this, your XO should start as usual, but with the keyboard and mouse not working.

Here is a quick fix to update your firmware: you’ll need another computer with Internet access, a USB thumb drive (memory stick), a charger and wall outlet, and 10 minutes. (Alternately, you can send your XO to a community repair center – see the comments.)

  • Download http://dev.laptop.org/pub/firmware/q2d14/bootfw.zip
  • Take a USB stick, and create a folder named “boot”. Put the file in this folder. (the path to it should be /boot/bootfw.zip)
  • Make sure your XO is plugged into the wall, AND has a working battery in it.
  • Insert the USB stick into your XO. Reboot the XO. Wait until you see a message saying the firmware has upgraded successfully.
  • Remove all power from the XO for 20 seconds: unplug the power cord AND remove the battery.
  • Remove the USB stick.
  • Restore power to the XO and turn it on.
  • Hold down the “X” key on the keypad next to the screen as you reboot.
  • Your XO should now work normally.

It is also strongly recommended that you

as the recent releases have many new activities and other improvements.

33 thoughts on “OLPC Keyboard/Touchpad freeze and fix

  1. Thanks for the fix- we’ve had the laptop for years and never really used it (I don’t find it as intuitive as it’s meant to be- hoping upgrades will help). When I recently pulled it out and found keyboard unresponsive I was really worried, but the fix worked. However, I never got an “update” message, just one that instructed me to release the game key to continue. Hope this can help others.

    • Great to hear Sarah, thank you for sharing. Send us a photo of him with his XO and we would be glad to include it in a future post!

  2. Brilliant ! Worked like a charm. Not sure how you all figured that combination of steps out, but it worked. Muchas gracias.
    Glenn A. Frank
    Technical Writer IBM

  3. Hi everybody.

    I work in the ministry of education in Afghanistan. And we distributed 5000 XO laptops for students in 11 schools. After 2 years some laptops find problems, but all can be repaired. Thanks.

    Hi Rafi, good to hear from you. Thanks for letting us know! For photos and instructions on other repairs, see the simple repairs page on the OLPC wiki.

  4. Pingback: Summit notes: XO keyboard and touchpad fixes | One Laptop per Child

  5. These instructions worked for me as well. Both the keyboard and the trackpad were inoperable. I could use an external keyboard and mouse but thanks to this fix, I’m back in business!

    Thanks again!

  6. This worked like a charm. I am so thankful there is finally some easy-to-follow instructions for the XO. We bought this for our nephew and he shelved it. We have had it and not been able to use it for lack of understanding. Hopefully, we can now get this little beauty online and put to good use.

  7. In my experience, the directions above seem to have left out one VERY important aspect: you must hold down the X key while rebooting after inserting the USB stick.

    I tried using the directions above with 2 different USB sticks, to no avail, but once I read the directions here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Upgrading_firmware and held down the X key while rebooting, it worked like a charm. Perhaps this will help a few folks…

  8. both of my daughters have xo laptops from the original g1g1 program that they hadn’t used in quite awhile … when they pulled them out earlier this week, the keyboards and mouses were frozen on both of them … i plugged in a spare usb mouse & keyboard and they worked just fine, so i followed the instructions at the above “a quick fix for the problem” link and quickfixed both of them within 10 mins … now it is time to upgrade the os … thank you so much – you guys are awesome !!!

  9. I had my XO-1 in storage for months now waiting for my little niece to visit so she can use it. A few days before she arrived I turned on the XO and the keyboard and keypad were frozen. Doing research I found the instructions for the re-boot and it did the trick. XO is up and running. Thanks for putting a smile on my niece’s face.

  10. I hadn’t used my XO computer for a while and was frustrated when the touchpad and keyboard were frozen. I applied the quick fix and it worked as described. Thanks so much for the help! Jonathan in St. Louis, MO

  11. I see you have a lot of people with a frozen mouse problem and so do I . Where can we send these to get it fixed because nothing works.

    Thanks,Mike feely-Porltand,Oregon

  12. Jane, and anyone else who is having this problem – you can get personal help by sending email to help@laptop.org. Please include the following details:

    1. whether you have tried connecting an external keyboard/mouse to the XO (if this does not work, you have a different issue)
    2. the operating system of the computer you are using to download the new firmware
    3. the brand of the USB stick you are using

    (1 – if an external USB keyboard does not work, you have a different problem. 2 – this helps debug the process 3 – this is an issue with some rare USB keys)

  13. I just started to use my laptop again because my charger broke and then now my stuff is frozen. I am a fourteen year old girl and i have no idea what to do. I did everything you said seven or eight times, and guess what thre is no message saying anything! i seriously might cry in frustration, can anyone just dumb it down for me please??

  14. We have an XO from the G1G1 program. The keyboard and touchpad stopped working after a working fine for a long while. Plugging in an external keyboard and mouse worked but not the XO keyboard and touchpad. I thought it was likely to be a mechanical problem but decided to give this firmware upgrade a try. Works great now. Thanks!

  15. Still no luck…maybe I do not know how to operate my laptop…the file seems to download itself without making a new file..I bought a new memory stick but no luck…I think maybe I am doing something wrong…

  16. Tried this about 7 0r eight times..when is the “message” supposed to appear? This machine works with an external keyboard and mouse….so we know it works..but the keyboard and touchpad are still frozen??

  17. Hello

    this monday, i finally got my olpc back to life 😀 !

    After months (!) of installing nearly every possible stable release, firmware, etc but always having the frozen mouse and keyboard, (and a very strange keyboard-layout when trying to write in the firmware command-line (only half of the keyboard doing anything, ‘q’ on the SPACE-Bar, ‘RETURN’ on the RightDirectionArrow,..))

    Maybe it was also important to do a clean-install
    ( http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Clean-install_procedure ) with the gg-802-1.img, but i think the main point is really to

    REMOVE THE BATTERY for some minutes!!

    I had almost decided to give my little green baby away, when i thought, well, ok, just to calm my mind that i really did EVERYTHING, let’s put the battery out – and now i’m sitting here, updated with a perfect working 10.1.3 sugar-release and a brilliant puppylinux

    (XOPUP for olpc, see – http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=492633#492633, it’s extremely easy, you only have to download and copy all files on a blank SD-Card or USB-stick)

    on SD-Card as a second Operating-System-Option – which also didn’t want to boot until i removed the battery, what obviously wiped out every single false bit and byte in any Storage-Chip 😉

    Hope, you also fix your problem and every granddaughter and -son can work and play again, if they want to!


  18. I tried everything instructed to do and my granddaughter’s laptop still did not work! She wants to work on it so bad and I feel so frustrated that I can not get it to work for her. I am happy to send one to others, but I really want her to enjoy it also. She has not enjoyed it yet.
    Please help me out so she can enjoy her computer.


    EVELYN M. GWYNN, Maj, USAF, (ret)

  19. Thank you – this worked EXACTLY as you said it would and my XO is functional again.

    Now if only I could figure out how to USE this thing, I could teach my kids! *lolcrylol*

  20. I do not understand how to do what this is telling me to. It is confusing and frustrating. Is there somewhere that I can mail it that will fix it and send it back to me? I can’t use the XO, because the touchpad is frozen. Please help.

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