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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.
Go to Control Panel and double click on the Mouse item.
Here's what I get:
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:
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.
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