Problem with black X

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Information about the problem where a square black X appears in the center of the screen (and does not disappear) when running XFree86

Problem description

When XFree86 is loaded, re-loaded, switched-to from another console, resumed from suspend, or when a window-manager is loaded; a square black "X" appears in the center of the screen. The mouse graphic, windows, and the background all move under this "X" without causing it to be removed.

Affected Models

  • Thinkpads with an S3 Savage video card (Thinkpad T2*)

Affected Operating Systems

  • Any OS using the XFree86 'savage' driver (possibly Xorg?)


The square black "X" is actually the default XFree86 mouse cursor graphic. It suddenly appears (and refuses to go away) due to a bug in the hardware cursor. According to the XFree86 Savage(4) Manual Page, the hardware cursor should be automatically disabled on affected configurations, however this does not appear to be the case at present.


Switch to a software cursor by adding either of the following lines to the Device section of your XF86Config-4 file:

Option     "HWCursor"     "false"
Option     "SWCursor"     "true"

Or uprade to a newer version of X (Xorg 6.8 from Ubuntu Warty fixed the problem on my T23).

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