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Whether or not your laptop's touch pad can be disabled depends on the software used to configure it. It might be easy, or it might be impossible.

On my laptop I have a touch pad which I hate. So I have attached an external mouse but how do I now disable the touch pad so that a shirt sleeve brushing across it (or a lazy finger) won't send the cursor where it is not wanted?

The laptop touch pad (or track pad) is an alternative to using your mouse. Using your finger you can move the mouse pointer around the screen, and with buttons near the touchpad, click.

It's all well and good until you accidentally brush something across the touchpad when you didn't intend. Exactly what can do this - be it a finger or a shirt sleeve - depends on the specific touch pad.

In fact - everything depends on the touchpad, it's drivers, and whether or not those drivers even give you the control you're looking for.

"There is no standard interface for configuring your touch pad."

Go to Control Panel and double click on the Mouse item.

Here's what I get:

Mouse: Device options in Vista for my Dell laptop

You can see that on my Dell Latitude D620 the control panel lets me do exactly what you're asking: turn off the touchpad entirely. In fact, the Control Panel applet is giving me individual control of two separate sets of buttons on my machine, as well as the "eraser head" Pointing Stick and the Touch Pad itself. Lots of control.

On my Dell.

Here's the problem you may face: your computer may not have this. There is no standard interface for configuring your touch pad.

You may not have the option to turn it off.

Another approach, again if your Control Panel Mouse applet supports it, might be to change the configuration of the touch pad:

Mouse: Touchpad options in Vista for my Dell laptop

Here you might be able to configure how the touchpad responds. It's possible that on your computer you may be able to dramatically reduce the sensitivity of the pad or other characteristics that might make it less annoying. Those changes might make it unusable as a touch pad of course, but in your case that wouldn't matter.

Finally, it's also possible that your computer may not have anything in Control Panel to configure the touchpad at all. The touch pad mimics a mouse, and as a result your computer may simply not see it as anything other than a traditional mouse.

Your options at that point are somewhat limited, and probably limited to the physical. If it's a serious enough problem for you, you might consider carefully opening your laptop and disconnecting the track pad. Most laptops will run fine without it.

I'm actually hesitant to even mention that, since of course ... well, you're opening your laptop. On top of that, since all laptops are very different it might even then not be easy or possible to disconnect just the touchpad; it's possible that it's an integral part of the keyboard assembly, or it's possible that the cable's simply not accessible.

You might check with your computer's manufacturer before going down this path to see if there are any additional options, or if they can provide information that would make this task easier.

Article C3860 - September 3, 2009 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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18 Comments
Exilis
September 4, 2009 12:41 PM

My Compaq something has a button directly below the spacebar, and I can press it to disable the touchpad. It's really helpful :D

Ken Laninga
September 8, 2009 8:19 AM

I would NOT disable the track pad. I did once, then went on a trip and forgot to take my mouse along. Far from home, I wanted to use the laptop but could not!

JoniFili
September 8, 2009 8:32 AM

As a PC repair person, I often get the same request!!

It's frustrating to try to explain to people that "in your model we can do that". When do they came with a unified control panel?

Ed
September 8, 2009 8:35 AM

I cut a piece of stiff paper like a 3X5 card large enough to cover the touch pad and buttons. I then taped one end to the laptop. It is stiff enough that it doesn't transmit an accidental touch to the pad, and if I need to use the laptop and don't have an external mouse handy, I just flip over the piece of paper and use the pad.

Menagerie
September 8, 2009 8:46 AM

This is a rather interesting area of 'problem'?
I recently did some work on a friend's laptop and was really annoyed there was no way in her software of disabling the Touchpad. As a bit of a 'try something and hope' I loaded the driver from my OWN laptop (quite different manufacturer) and... it worked fine!

HOWEVER..... if you mess with this ALWAYS make sure you have a PS2 (plugin) mouse available and know how to reload the mouse/pad driver!!!

Personally I always carry a small PS2 mouse with me that plugs in via a USB.

In passing, the gentleman who left his mouse at home and his keypad (and even the left/right buttons?) were disabled.... try 'playing' around with the cursor keys combined with Shift, Ctrl and Alt?? Believe it or not my first PC did not have a mouse!! This was the ONLY way to navigate!

Cedric
September 8, 2009 8:48 AM

Many laptops have a key combination to disable the touchpad temporarily. Check your operating guide. As an example, Acer laptops use Fn F7. I have had customers complain their touch pad doesn't work and they have accidently turned it off!

Robert
September 8, 2009 8:50 AM

Don't forget that you can usually disable TouchPads in Device Manager. This can be easily reversed if needed, and is alot easier and safer to do then dismantling the notebook.

Actually I believe this isn't true, in that if the device has the granularity to show up separately in device manager, then it probably also shows up separately in control panel. The problem case is where the mouse + touchpad are implemented as a single driver that simply looks like only a mouse.
Leo
09-Sep-2009

duvid
September 8, 2009 8:53 AM

Isn't that what expired credit cards are made for? I cover my (hated) touchpad at home as well, but I certainly wouldn't disable it, for traveling.

Jackie McBride
September 8, 2009 8:54 AM

2 things:
a) Some laptops also have options in bios to deal w/the touchpad, e.g., Fujitsu Lifebooks; &
b) For those who think windows cannot be used w/o a mouse--I happen to be blind. Blind people can *not* use a mouse, but we can use windows via keyboard. & believe this or not, sometimes it can actually be faster than clicky Mickey. Just FYI.

Charlie Griffith
September 8, 2009 9:02 AM

My HP Pavilion dv7 laptop has a tiny red/white light with a narrow button to its right which can be clicked "on" or "off". This is immediately above the touch-pad. I was wondering why the pointer was jumping all over the screen while I was typing. No more. When you're mouse-less, just click to get the white light...Touch-pad is on and ready for use.
But, jeeeez, it takes so much extra fingering to control the pointer, plus separate clicks of those separate left-right buttons in lieu of the mouse itself.
Keep a mouse in your pants pocket....no one will notice..... ;)

Frank Golden
September 8, 2009 1:16 PM

Many laptops have a keyboard combo to turn off the track pad.
My Acer is Fn+F7.

Margaret Louk
September 8, 2009 6:00 PM

Hi one thing to make sure of if you attempt to disconnect the touchpad, be sure it does not void your warranty on the laptop.

James
September 11, 2009 4:40 AM

In my 20+ years of using a PC, I slowly developed a physical need to use the mouse as little as possible. I was dismayed at the number of applications that I couldn't find a way of doing everything with the keys - I went so far as to use the almost unknown MouseKeys.

Eventually I bought my first laptop, and discovered the convenience of the touchpad. It was such an improvement on the mouse that I bought one for the desktop, since when I've stopped using the mouse altogether.

I suggest that, before rejecting a new way of doing something, it's worth learning how to adjust the settings to one's convenience, and persevering a little.

Sylvio
September 21, 2009 5:22 PM

For Dell, download Touchpad driver on Dell website and option for disable the eraser pointing will appear under MOUSE in your control panel. It take 8 hours for me to find the solution and it work Perfectly now :)

ddeeen
September 30, 2009 12:01 AM

I've trouble with my touchpad laptop.It's not working anymore.My laptop is acer aspire 3000 series.Used AMD Sempron 2800+ prosesor.40Gb HDD and 256 Mb of ram.On Device Manager it's shown with "!" sign.when I Updated the driver,there was an message "the device isn't present,etc......".
Please help me...How to repair this??????.

"Tony N.
January 4, 2010 11:05 AM

I have a Dell 610 with a jumping cursor. Recently I was able to control it by periodically installing the Senteo Pointing Device Driver...but this time, it is not working. I am at a loss since it is difficult to navigate with an alien abducted cursor crusing around on my screen, moving erratically.

tmward
October 22, 2011 4:28 AM

Thank you. I hadn't noticed the tab on the mouse settings to disable it. Was really frustrating when I'm not typing where I thought I was. By the way, the PC is a work machine. I've never connected a mouse to my personal machine (Mac). The mouse pad on the Mac is highly functional. Does everything except talk to me - at least I don't think it talks!

This IP address is Middle East - I'm a Canadian working over here - not a spammer.

Sara
December 14, 2011 9:19 PM

ok here is my problem...i KNOW my touchpad is about to die. i have been battling erratic mouse jumping, interference with typing (such a headache when a whole paragraph randomly disappears when you're about to hit send), etc. i know how to go to control panel- then to "hardware and sound"- the to "devices and printers" - then to "mouse"-then to "mouse properties" - then to "hardware" - "PS/2 compatible mouse" -"properties" - "change settings"- and finally "driver" where it shows i have a disable button...HOWEVER - it will NOT allow me to click it. any ideas? its a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop - and i need HELP please

Just guessing, but I'd first make sure you were logged in to an account that has administrative access as sometimes those kinds of things are restricted for some reason. Other than that all I can suggest is heading out to the Dell support forums to see if they can offer any advice. \
Leo
15-Dec-2011

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