It’s natural to worry when your laptop’s touchpad stops functioning. It’s difficult to get anything done on your computer if you can’t move your mouse pointer.
But don’t worry. When your laptop mouse touchpad stops functioning, chances are the solution is easy. We’ll guide you through typical troubleshooting procedures to repair a broken trackpad. The majority of these recommendations pertain to Windows, although individuals using a Mac, Chromebook, or another laptop may benefit from some of them as well.
Is Your Whole Computer Frozen?
This may seem ridiculous, but it’s worth double-checking. If your touchpad suddenly stops functioning, your computer may become completely unresponsive. In this instance, neither the touchpad nor the keyboard will function properly.
On Windows, use the Windows key to activate the Start Menu, then press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to access the Security screen. Try hitting Cmd + Space on a Mac to activate Spotlight, which is a quick method to test whether your machine is responsive with the keyboard.
If none of these work, allow your computer a few seconds to digest whatever it’s doing. If it’s still frozen after a few minutes, you’ll need to press and hold the actual Power button to turn it off.
Hopefully, this will be a one-time occurrence. If you need to detect a deeper issue, review frequent reasons why Windows becomes unresponsive, then attempt remedies for when Windows 10 is locked up.
Check Your Keyboard’s Touchpad Key
One of the most typical reasons for a laptop touchpad not functioning is because you mistakenly turned it off using a key combination. The Fn key on most computers works in conjunction with the F1, F2, and other function keys to conduct unique tasks.
Most of them are beneficial, such as altering the brightness or deactivating wifi connectivity. On many computers, however, one of these key combinations disables the laptop touchpad. Because this is so simple to press by accident, you may believe your touchpad is damaged if you toggle this without realizing it.
The precise key depends on your laptop brand (this varies across Asus, HP, Lenovo, and others), but it normally has a square trackpad-looking symbol with an X next to it. Some keyboards illuminate this key to indicate when the mouse touchpad is switched off.
The F5 key on an HP Elitebook laptop, seen below, shuts off the mouse pad when paired with the Fn key.
Try hitting this key combination again to see if your trackpad responds.
Remove Any External Mice to Activate the Touchpad
Moving on, another easy but vital troubleshooting step for a non-working laptop touchpad is to disconnect any USB mice you have attached to your laptop. You should also unplug any Bluetooth mice that are currently in use.
The reason behind this is because certain laptops (as well as Windows and macOS) include a function that disables the touchpad when an external mouse is connected. This might be the cause of your touchpad not functioning. When testing this, shut down your system, unhook any connected non-essential devices and accessories, and then restart.
You’ve identified your problem if you reboot and your touchpad works again. Depending on your computer, you may be able to adjust this option so that your trackpad remains active even when a mouse is plugged in (see below for more on this).
Review Touchpad Settings in Windows
You should then check the mouse settings in Windows to see if anything has gone wrong there. On Windows 10, click to Settings > Devices > Touchpad. This is in Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Touchpad on Windows 11.
Here, make sure you have the Touchpad slider enabled. There’s also a box below this labeled Leave touchpad on when a mouse is connected, as mentioned above. Turn this on if you want your touchpad to remain active all the time.
While you’re here, take a look at the other touchpad options to make sure your mouse input behaves as you expect.
If you can’t resolve your problem from this menu, you might be able to access touchpad-specific settings in another location. Go to Settings > Devices > Mouse and click Additional mouse options. On Windows 10, this appears as a link on the right side. If you don’t see it, drag the Settings window horizontally until it appears. On Windows 11, this is an entry at the bottom of the list.
In the resulting dialog box, you should see a tab on the right side labeled Device Settings, TouchPad, or something similar. You can enable or disable the touchpad here; you might find that it’s disabled if it wasn’t working before. Try re-enabling it and see if that gets your touchpad working again.
Dig Into Mice in the Device Manager
If your laptop mouse pad is still not working, you’ll have to jump into some deeper troubleshooting. Press Win + X (or right-click the Start button) to open the Power User menu, then select Device Manager.
Here, expand the Mice and other pointing devices category. You’ll see multiple entries here if you’ve connected a mouse other than your touchpad. Double-click on one and look at its Location (on the General tab) to figure out what it is. If this says On USB Input Device or similar, it’s not your touchpad.
Once you’ve found your mouse, try right-clicking and choosing Disable device, then Enable device again. Next, right-click the entry and select Update driver, then Search automatically for updated driver software. It’s unlikely this will actually find a new driver to fix the issue, but sometimes it comes through.
If you see any devices in this section that have a yellow exclamation point or red X by them, this indicates a driver issue. See how to update Windows drivers for more help.
Finally, it’s worth visiting your laptop manufacturer’s website and downloading the latest driver. These often work better than the generic drivers Windows uses, and could thus clear up your issues.
If you have a manufacturer tool installed, such as Lenovo System Update, use it to check for updates. Otherwise, search Google for your laptop’s name with “drivers” and seek for a Downloads or Updates section on your device’s page on the manufacturer’s website (never use third-party driver websites). Install the most recent update to see if it resolves your touchpad issue.
Before installing a new driver, you should right-click the affected item in Device Manager and choose Uninstall device.
Look for Touchpad Settings in the BIOS/UEFI
Many settings on your computer are controlled by the BIOS or UEFI, which is independent of any operating system. It’s conceivable that your touchpad is deactivated in the BIOS, making Windows unable to use it.
As soon as you power on your computer, access the BIOS by hitting F2, Del, or a similar key. Look for an entry labeled Internal Pointing Device, Touchpad, Trackpad, or anything similar. This may go under the Advanced category.
Check that it is not turned off. If it is, restart it and Windows should be able to identify it. After re-enabling your touchpad in the BIOS, you may need to repeat some of the preceding procedures.
Disable Tablet PC Services
Tablet PC Input Service is a specific background service that runs on Windows devices with touchscreens, such as 2-in-1 hybrids. This controls touch features, including the ability to disable your trackpad while in tablet mode.
In typical usage, there’s a potential this may interfere with your trackpad. If nothing else has worked thus far, it’s worth a look. To examine it, open the Services utility by typing services into the Start Menu. Scroll down to Tablet PC Input Service, right-click it, and choose Stop.
If your touchpad now works, you’ve discovered your problem. To prevent this service from launching every time you restart your computer, double-click it and change the Startup type to Manual. Disabling it prevents it from functioning at all, although this may result in inconsistent behavior while using your device in tablet mode.
Mac Mouse Trackpad Not Working?
We’ve mostly focused on solving Windows trackpad difficulties here, however MacBook trackpads may also have issues. If you’re a Mac user, have a look at our comprehensive guide on troubleshooting MacBook trackpad issues.
Touchpad Still Not Working? You May Have a Hardware Problem
The techniques outlined here should resolve the majority of trackpad issues. However, it’s possible that your mouse pad is still broken.
In such situation, you most likely have a hardware problem. Perhaps a cable has been broken, or the touchpad has become worn. In such cases, you should take your computer to a repair shop for an expert opinion—or just begin using an external mouse.
You can acquire a nice mouse for a reasonable price to tide you through. Just make sure you know what to look for when you go shopping for one!
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