There are two general ways your laptop’s touchpad can break bad. The first is the nuclear option where it just stops working, which is uncommon but can happen after a software update. The more common occurrence is where your the touchpad on a new laptop feels finicky or skittish, registering unintended gestures while failing to recognize your intended swipes, pinches, taps and clicks. Acting in ways you wish it wouldn’t.
In this post cover both cases for Windows 10 laptops dead and acting poorly.
Revive a dead touchpad
If your laptop doesn’t feature a touchscreen display, then you will need a mouse to revive a disabled touchpad. With your touchscreen or mouse, open Settings and go to Devices > Mouse & touchpad. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click Additional mouse options.
The Mouse Properties window will open. Click the tab that lists your laptop’s touchpad mine is labeled Touchpad . If you don’t see such a tab, then look for a tab labeled ELAN or Device Settings, where you’ll see your touchpad listed under Devices. Click on the touchpad to select it and then click Enable.
One other thing to try is to see if your laptop has a function key that enables/disables the touchpad. It should look like a tiny touchpad with a diagonal line through it (it may be Fn + F5, Fn + F6 or something else entirely). Try toggling this key if you have it before you freak out about possible touchpad woes.
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Settle down a skittish touchpad
Settle down a skittish touchpad
There are a number of ways a touchpad can feel wonky. Perhaps your cursor is moving too fast or too slow. Maybe the touchpad feels too sensitive, registering phantom clicks and gestures. Or maybe it’s not sensitive enough, making you repeat yourself. Thankfully, Windows 10 offers a number of settings to fine tune how your touchpad reacts to your clicks, taps and swipes.
First up, set the speed of your cursor. On the Mouse Properties windows, click the Pointers Options tab and play around with the slider for Select a pointer speed until you find a speed you can work with. You can also speed up or slow down the double-click speed; the slider for this setting can be found on the Buttons tab.
If you back out of the Mouse Properties window and return to the Mouse & touchpad panel in Settings, you’ll see a Touchpad delay setting. By default, it’s set to Medium delay. I suggest moving it to Long delay, which helps to keep the touchpad from registering your palm as a tap as you type and jumping your cursor to a new spot in your document. Dell also offers a slider for TouchGuard, which performs a similar function of preventing unwanted cursor jumps from your palms when typing.
Update your drivers
Update the touchpad driver.So, the odds are your touchpad driver is current and not the source of your touchpad problems. Still, it’s worth checking if your touchpad is acting up. To do so, search for Device Manager, open it, go to Mice and other pointing devices, and find your touchpad (mine is labeled HID-compliant mouse, but yours may be named something else). Right-click on your touchpad and click Update Driver Software.
Your laptop will check the internet for updated driver software and, hopefully, update accordingly. If your computer can’t find an updated driver, you may need to look for the updated driver by yourself. Look at the downloads sections of your laptop manufacturer’s website or just Google “[LAPTOP MODEL] Windows 10 touchpad driver.” You may need to uninstall your old touchpad driver (Device Manger, right-click on touchpad, Uninstall) before installing the new driver.