The touchpad is the standardized alternative to a mouse on your laptop. Therefore, when it stops working, you cannot move the cursor on your laptop, and without this functionality, there isn’t much you can do with your laptop. You cannot control the cursor nor scroll through any app or website on your laptop.
There are different reasons your laptop’s touchpad might stop working, from missing to outdated drivers. When the touchpad is not working on your laptop, you can try various troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue. Let’s look at how you can fix the touchpad not working on your laptop.
Check whether your laptop is frozen
Before concluding that your laptop’s touchpad is not working, you should first check whether your laptop is frozen. When your laptop is frozen, the touchpad and the keyboard will not work. You can check whether nothing is working on Windows by pressing the Windows Key to see whether the Start Menu opens up. On Mac, you can try pressing Cmd + Space to open Spotlight. If nothing happens, your laptop is frozen. You can force restart your computer by pressing and holding the power button until it reboots. If the touchpad is still not working, you can try the following troubleshooting tips.
1. Ensure the touchpad isn’t disabled by a Function Key
Many laptops come with a function key, Fn, which combines with an F-key (F1, f2…) to perform various operations. This includes a combination that toggles the touchpad on and off. When you accidentally press this key when using nearby function keys, you’ll disable the touchpad. This is one of the most common causes of the touchpad not working on your laptop.
You can enable the touchpad by pressing Function + the F-key. In some laptops, it could be the F5 key, but this varies with your laptop model. It would help if you looked for an F-key with a square trackpad-looking icon or sometimes with an X on it. Pressing this function key combination should have your laptop’s touchpad working again.
2. Disconnect any other external devices or accessories
If the touchpad is not working and you have other devices connected to your laptop, they could be causing the problem. This is especially when you have a Bluetooth mouse, external touchpad, or gamepad connected to your laptop. Your system might automatically disable the built-in touchpad when connecting your laptop to an external mouse or device. It is advisable to unplug any USB devices and disable Bluetooth to ensure that any devices connected to your laptop are disconnected.
How to turn off Bluetooth on Windows
You can turn off Bluetooth on Windows by:
Step 1: Click on Start
Step 2: Then click on Settings
Step 3: Select Bluetooth & Devices
Step 4: Toggle Bluetooth off
Turn off Bluetooth on a Mac laptop
Step 1: Click the Apple icon in the menu bar
Step 2: Click on System Preferences
Step 3: Select Bluetooth
Step 4: Turn Bluetooth off.
3. Enable the touchpad
You should review your laptop’s mouse and touchpad settings to check whether the touchpad was disabled in settings. If your touchpad is disabled, you can enable it through the touchpad settings.
How to enable the touchpad on Windows
To check the touchpad settings on Windows:
Step 1: Click Start
Step 2: Click on Settings
Step 3: Select Bluetooth & Devices
Step 4: Click on Touchpad
Step 5: Click on Additional Settings
Alternatively, you can press the Windows key, type Touchpad in the search bar then select Touchpad Settings. You should ensure that the Touchpad is turned on by tapping the Space key. If it’s still behaving strangely, you can explore the other touchpad settings to ensure that it is correctly configured. Manually adjust the other trackpad or touchpad settings to get the trackpad working again. To navigate through the different options, you can press Shift + Tab. Then press Enter to select the option.
How to enable the trackpad on Mac
If the trackpad on your MacBook is disabled, you can enable it by checking the trackpad settings. To do this:
Step 1: Open System Preferences
Step 2: Select Accessibility
Step 3: Select Mouse & Trackpad from the left menu
Step 4: Ensure that you deselect. Ignore the built-in trackpad when a mouse or wireless trackpad is a present checkbox.
4. Update touchpad drivers
The touchpad might not work on your laptop because of missing or outdated drivers. You can update or reinstall your touchpad drivers to solve this problem. This can be done in Device Manager. Device Manager gives you a detailed overview of hardware issues on your laptop.
Update Touchpad Drivers on Windows
Step 1: Press pressing Win + X
Step 2: Then select Device Manager
Step 3: To find touchpad drivers, select Human Interface Devices or Mice and other pointing devices.
Step 4: Right-click on your touchpad drivers
Step 5: Select Update Driver
Step 6: Choose Search automatically for drivers
Step 7: Follow onscreen instructions to update the touchpad drivers.
You can also uninstall the driver by selecting Uninstall Device instead of the Update driver option. When you restart your laptop, Windows will try to install new drivers.
Update Drivers on Mac
If you are using MacBook, you can update drivers by:
Step 1: Click the Apple icon
Step 2: Select System Preferences
Step 3: Click on Software Update and let the update install on your device.
5. Check BIOS setup
On some occasions, your laptop’s touchpad could be disabled in the BIOS setup. This can happen in the event of a firmware update. If your touchpad is disabled in the BIOS, your operating system cannot access it. To solve this problem, you can re-enable your touchpad by entering the BIOS setup of your laptop. This varies depending on your laptop model. To enter your PC’s BIOs and re-enable your laptop’s touchpad:
Step 1: Press F2, Del, or a similar key during startup
Step 2: Look for an entry with Internal Pointing Device, Touchpad, Trackpad, or similar
Step 3: You could find it under Advanced
You should ensure that it is not disabled so that Windows can recognize it.
6. Check for dirt
Laptops are convenient devices that you can carry around with you. However, as you continue using your laptop, dust, dirt, food, and other substances might accumulate around your touchpad, causing problems. Therefore, you should regularly clean your laptop with a small amount of alcohol, microfiber cloth, and compressed air. Avoid using liquid substances around your laptop as they could seriously damage your laptop’s components.
7. Defective hardware
Even after trying all the above methods and your laptop touchpad is not working, it might be defective. A cable could be damaged, or the touchpad is worn out. You can contact your laptop manufacturer or reach out to a computer repair shop. Your touchpad could be replaced or the defective hardware repaired. If your laptop touchpad is irreparable, you can opt for an external mouse.
It is very frustrating to use a laptop when the touchpad is not working. Whether you have an unresponsive, jittery, or completely dead touchpad, you can try any troubleshooting tips above to fix a problem. You can use the keyboard or the track point to move the cursor. Alternatively, you can press Shift + Tab to navigate on your computer if you cannot access an external mouse to help you perform the troubleshooting steps discussed.