It is impossible to use your Windows laptop without a touchpad unless you connect an external pointing device. When your laptop’s touchpad stops responding to your fingers, there is a problem but that can be solved with using the methods described in this guide. If you are unable to resolve the issue using for your laptop’s touchpad after, we recommend taking your laptop to a technician for further troubleshooting.
The touchpad may cease to work if the drivers are damaged, if they are disabled within Windows, by the physical switch, or when you have the wrong touchpad settings. In this guide, will provide various ways you can get your touchpad working again. Before you continue, we recommend you connect an external mouse or use the laptop’s TrackPoint if available.
Method 1: Checking the Mouse Settings
- To open your mouse settings, open the Start menu, type ‘Control Panel’ and hit Enter and then navigate to Hardware and Sound > Mouse (Under Devices and Printers). You can also right-click on the mouse icon in the notifications tray and then select Settings/Properties.
- In the Mouse Properties window, locate your touchpad settings, which is usually at the extreme right tab next to the Hardware tab. The name of the tab is the name of the touchpad manufacturer (Synaptic, ELAN, etc)
- Ensure the checkbox named Enable Touchpad is enabled or the Enable Device button is active.
- Adjust any other setting you wish to change, click Apply and then OK
- Move your fingers on the touchpad to verify that it works.
On some devices, the touchpad may cease to work if an external mouse is attached. You can disable this setting on this same tab.
Method 2: Using the Windows Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter
The Windows Troubleshooter tool can assist you in finding unknown issues facing your touchpad and provide solutions to them.
- Open the Control Panel by pressing the Start button, typing ‘Control Panel’ and then hitting enter.
- Navigate to System and Security > Security and Maintenance > Troubleshooting > Configure a device (Under Hardware and Sound).
- A troubleshooting wizard will appear in which you have to follow the prompts to scan for problems and provide fixes to hardware problems facing your PC.
Method 3: Reinstall the Touchpad Drivers
A faulty or absent mouse driver may cause your touchpad not to work. Reinstalling the original touchpad drivers can make it work again. Drivers fail to work either after a faulty update or when the newer version of the OS doesn’t match the outdated version of the Drivers.
- Visit the official website of your laptop’s vendor. You can refer to this from your product manual or a from simple Google search (e.g. HP website).
- Click the Support page on the vendor’s website
- Enter your model number, service tag number, or serial number in the field requesting for it. You can also use the model chooser utility on the website if available.
- Select Drivers and search for the touchpad/mouse driver for your laptop. This is usually under the Mouse or Touchpad
- Download the latest driver and install it.
- Restart your PC and move your finger along the touchpad to verify that it works.
Method 4: Updating the Touchpad Drivers
The device manager can give you information about hardware issues and help you update existing drivers. For example, if a device has an exclamation sign or an X icon next to it, it means the device has software or hardware issues. Follow the steps below to locate and update the touchpad drivers.
- Press Windows Key + R on your keyboard, type devmgmt.msc and then hit Enter.
- Click on the arrow next to ‘Mice and other pointing devices’.
- Locate your touchpad and right click the icon and select Properties.
- Click the Driver tab and first make sure the Disable button is active. This is to make sure the touchpad is enabled.
- Click on Update Driver in the same tab and then select ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’. You need to be connected to the Internet for this to work.
- Follow the prompts to complete updating your touchpad drivers
Method 5: Checking the Physical Touchpad Switch
It is a common occurrence for computer users to unknowingly disable the touchpad using the physical switch, especially on touchpads with the switch located at the corners.
- Locate the ‘Fn’ key on the keyboard and press it. This is usually next to the ‘ctrl’ key at the bottom and may have a different colour.
- While pressing the Fn key, locate the Function Keys (F1 – F12) for one with the icon of a touchpad with a finger on it or a touchpad with a diagonal line across it.
- Press the Fn key and the touchpad Function Key simultaneously to reactivate the touchpad on your laptop.
- Move your fingers on the touchpad to verify that it works.
Keyboards with multimedia mode enabled do not require you to press the Function Key while activating the touchpad. You just need to press the touchpad key to reactivate it.
Some other laptops like HP have the touchpad switch on the touchpad hence require another method to turn it on.
- Look for a little hollow on your touchpad. It’s usually at the upper left of the touchpad with an orange LED next to it.
- Double-tap the little hollow and check if the LED (if present) goes off.
- Move your fingers along the touchpad to verify that it works.
Method 6: Checking the BIOS Settings
As our last resort, we will check whether the touchpad option is disabled from the BIOS itself. Every laptop has settings regarding touchpad in its BIOS where the user can either or disable it according to his will. If the touchpad settings are disabled by default in BIOS, changing other settings won’t work.
Note: Make sure that you don’t change other BIOS options which you don’t know about.
- Shutdown your PC and reboot into the BIOS. This is device-specific and is usually displayed when the POST screen comes up. The Esc, Delete, F2, F8, F10, F12 keys are the most common keys pressed to enter the BIOS.
- Check the hardware device settings and enable the touchpad if it’s disabled.
- Exit the BIOS and reboot your PC and then move your fingers on the touchpad to verify that it works.