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b2ap3_thumbnail_touchpad_problems_400.jpgLaptop touchpads can be rather fickle. You may have experienced the frustrating situation where you’re using the laptop and then an unexpected glitch causes the mouse to jump across the screen. This error can actually cause data loss if it happens at the worst possible time, but it’s also just plain unproductive. Here are five troubleshooting tips to keep your touchpad in good working order and prevent this all-too-common issue from happening.

Keep in mind, not all touchpads are created equal – some devices might have better, more calibrated touchpads than others. If yours has always been difficult to use, reach out. We might be able to help.

Be Aware of Your Hand Placement
This issue may be as easy to resolve as resting your hands differently on your laptop. If you’re not careful, it’s easy for your hand to brush the touchpad as you type, causing your cursor to suddenly jump. This can be a challenge if you’ve got large hands, or if you’re sitting in an odd position that causes your hands to type differently than what you’re used to. If you adjust your hand placement accordingly and this issue persists, then continue on to our next tip.

When’s the Last Time You Cleaned Your Touchpad?
You know full well how dirty hands can be. Now, try not to think too hard about how gross your touchpad might be after perhaps years of use. If it’s been awhile since you last cleaned your touchpad, then it’s likely accumulated a shiny layer of skin oil, dirt, and other tiny particles that would make you lose your lunch if you actually knew what they were (fact: keyboards are less sanitary than toilet seats). If your touchpad is too dirty, then it won’t read your fingers correctly. Therefore, give your touchpad a good wiping and see if that works.

Disconnect Other External Input Devices
Sometimes, an external input device like an external mouse, graphics tablet, or keypad may be interfering with your touchpad. It’s difficult to ascertain exactly as to what causes this interference, but it’s been known to happen. In fact, sometimes even having your laptop plugged into an electrical outlet or its docking station will interfere with a touchpad’s performance, depending on the device. Therefore, try unplugging everything from your laptop and see if that makes your touchpad more responsive. At least then, it’s easier to hone in on what the problem actually is.

Update Your Drivers
If you’ve got an older laptop, then perhaps the driver that controls the touchpad interface needs to be updated. Check with your laptop’s manufacturer to find out if your computer has the latest drivers. This can be accomplished by going to their website, calling their support hotline, or by contacting NTConnections at (703) 288-9767.

Replace the Touchpad
If all of these troubleshooting tips don’t work, then it may be that the touchpad hardware has gone bad and needs to be replaced. A procedure like this isn’t something that can be easily done by an amateur; we don’t recommend that you try it. NTConnections’s IT technicians can take care of this for you, as well as troubleshoot other computer-related issues and annoyances that you may be experiencing.

Bonus Tip: Get a Wireless Mouse
Often forgotten as a mobile solution, a simple wireless mouse can be much more effective than a clumsy touchpad. Of course, this is based on your personal preferences, but if your laptop supports Bluetooth, you can pick up a wireless, battery-operated mouse. If your laptop doesn’t support Bluetooth, there are options that include wireless USB dongles.

Is this a common problem that has slowed you down? We hope that these troubleshooting tips will help. For more great technology-related tips and tricks, subscribe to NTConnections’s blog and check back every week!