How to Fix the Touchpad on a Laptop: 10+ Ways to Make It Work

Author: Dmytro Sywyi

Table Of Contents

  1. Why your touchpad isn’t working: main causes  
  2. How to fix the touchpad on Windows. Step-by-step guide          
    1.  Restart the PC           
    2.  Search for the touchpad buttons       
    3.  Try the “Fn” key combination            
    4.  Check the Touchpad Settings
    5.  Reset the Touchpad Settings
    6.  Disconnect all external devices          
    7.  Check the Mouse Properties
    8.  Check for fresh updates        
    9.  Update the touchpad driver 
    10.  Turn off the Tablet PC Input Service
    11.  Enable the cursor in BIOS    
    12.  Restore Windows   
    13.  Check for defective hardware          
  3. How to fix the trackpad on the laptop with macOS         
  4. Recommendations for the external touchpad and trackpad         
  5. Use an external mouse 
  6. Conclusion: how to fix your touchpad at home

A laptop combines all you need from a computer in one device — it includes a keyboard and a built-in mouse (touchpad or trackpad). But when the touchpad stops moving, the laptop immediately starts to feel like a “brick”.

Buying an external mouse will help you in the short term. But if you forgot it somewhere, it would be hard to operate the system. So it’s better to solve this problem immediately.

In most cases, it is a software-based problem. Hardware-based issues are less than 15-20% of all cases. That means you can fix the laptop mouse button (or as it calls “touchpad”) without the service center’s help. Check out the fullest guide on how to fix the touchpad on a laptop.

Why your touchpad isn’t working: main causes

Here are signs that you need to think about fixing the problem of your laptop touchpad not working:

  • You see cracks or other visible damage on the touchpad. 
  • The cursor freezes. 
  • Your touchpad works only from time to time. 
  • Your touchpad stopped working. 

If you experience any of the above issues, it means that you need to fix your touchpad. The good news is that you can do this at home in less than an hour. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to fix touchpads on Windows-based laptops.

How to fix the touchpad on Windows. Step-by-step guide

Instead of wasting your time googling “How to fix my touchpad on my laptop and save money”, check our instructions. We are gathering 13 ways to solve this issue. Let’s try it one by one before you finally fix it!

1. Restart the PC

It’s the easiest way to fix most of the software issues. A restart of the PC closes all the apps and cleans the RAM (random access memory). If some of the apps or information from RAM interfere with the touchpad, it will solve this problem, too.

Turn down your laptop and let it rest for 2-5 minutes. After this, turn it on. It should help you to fix the cursor on the laptop.

Don’t open all of your previously used apps at the same time. Open them one by one. This will help you find which app causes the touchpad malfunction.

2. Search for the touchpad buttons

Certain laptops have switches that allow them to turn off the touchpad. Check if your computer has buttons or bumps close to the touchpad. If you find them — great! Then press them. It will enable the touchpad if you’ve accidentally turned it off.

Sometimes you can find these buttons on the side of the laptop – near the USB and LAN ports. Check these parts of your laptop too.

3. Try the “Fn” key combination

The Fn key combination

If your laptop doesn’t have the button that turns on and off your touchpad, try the function keys. They are located on the most elevated line of the keyboard. Most of these keys are multifunctional. If you press only the function key, it will do just what is shown on the pictogram. But the combination of the Fn+F key will launch a shortcut that may help you fix the touchpad on a laptop. Here is the short instruction:

  1. Hold the Fn key and press the F-key. There is no universal “touchpad” button — it may vary even inside one laptop series. Check the instructions for your laptop in the “Hotkeys” section. The manufacturer should write this combination there. If you have the instruction near you and don’t know which one of them is responsible for this action, tap all of the F-buttons. Some of them will unlock the touchpad.
  2. Move the cursor to check if the issue is resolved.

If the laptop cursor is not working after this — check out other solutions.

4. Check the Touchpad Settings

Some apps can intentionally turn off the touchpad. It can be games, graphic design apps, or even media players. You can turn it back in the settings. Here is instruction on how to fix the touchpad on a laptop:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select “Devices”.
  3. Find the “Touchpad” and switch it on. Also, you can change the sensitivity of the device: the higher it gets, the faster the cursor will go.

You can also try the following settings:

  1. Go to the Settings
  2. Type in the search bar “Control Panel”.
  3. Select the “Hardware and Sound” block.
  4. Choose “Devices and Printers”, then find the “Mouse” option.
  5. Scroll to the “Hardware” and check the box near “Enable touchpad”.
  6. Apply these changes.
HID mouse settings

If you don’t find the touchpad on the “Properties”, these steps may help you:

  1. Go to the “Mouse Properties” window and open the Hardware tab.
  2. Find an HID-compliant touchpad. If you connect the USB mouse to troubleshoot the trackpad, you will have 2 HID-compliant entries. Find those that don’t have a USB in the “Location” property.
  3. After finding the touchpad with HID, select Properties.
  4. Find device status. It should say, “This device is working properly”. If you see another message — proceed to the next steps of our instructions.

5. Reset the Touchpad Settings

If the cursor still fails to move, reset the touchpad parameters. This also may help you fix the cursor on a laptop.

  • Click on the Windows icon and go to Settings.
  • Type “TouchPad”  in the search bar.
  • Choose “Touch Bar settings”. 
  • Scroll until you see the “Reset the touchpad” line. Click on it and choose Reset.
  • Wait until the system reactivates the device.
  • Test the cursor.

6. Disconnect all external devices

Some external devices may conflict with your touchpad. The fastest way to troubleshoot the not working touchpad on the laptop is to detach all the externals. Shut down your laptop, cut off all the external devices from it, and then turn it on. If it helps to resolve the issue — start reconnecting your externals one by one. That’s how you will find which one of them prevents your touchpad from working correctly.

7. Check the Mouse Properties

Mouse Properties

The trackpad may just be disabled in the Windows settings. Do next to fix the touchpad on the laptop that is not working:

  1. Open the Run App.
  2. Type main.cpl and click OK.  This action will open the “Mouse Properties”.
  3. Open the “Device Settings” tab.
  4. Find your trackpad and choose “Enable”.
  5. Click “Apply” and “OK”.

8. Check for fresh updates

Check for the updates on Windows

Each update installs on its schedule. Some parts of your system may operate on the latest software, while others may continue working on the old software. It leads to conflicts, which may be the reason why your touchpad is not working.

You need to have the latest version of your Windows system with the most recent drivers installed. To check it, click on the Windows icon and choose the Settings gear. Type the “About the System” in the search. You will see the information on the “Specifications” block.

To obtain the latest version of your Windows system, you need to open the “Update and Security” block in the settings. After this, select the Windows Update tab and choose the “Check for updates” button. If there are any updates, you will see the “Download and Install” button. Click on it and follow the instructions. This is one more easy way to fix your cursor on a laptop.

9. Update the touchpad driver

Driver is the software component that regularly optimizes the device. It helps the PC work with the most recent apps, even if the hardware is 5+ years old. If one of the drivers is too old, the computer may encounter some malfunctions. And one of them is that the touchpad on the laptop is not working. You can fix it with the following steps:

  1. Open the Device Manager. There are two ways to do this. 
    1. Right-click the Windows icon and select “Device Manager”. 
    2. Use the search bar. Type “Device” and find the control panel.
  2. Go to the “Pointing Devices”.
  3. Find the touchpad.
  4. Right-click on it and select the “Update Driver”.
The Device Manager

If this still does not help — uninstall the drivers. Don’t be afraid — modern PCs will automatically find them. Open the Device Manager, right-click on the touchpad and select “Uninstall”. Choose the “Scan for hardware changes” — the PC will find the touchpad and install an up-to-date driver. Or you can just restart the system — modern laptops (released after 2015) reinstall the drivers automatically.

Note: Make sure that you are connected to the internet when trying to update drivers. Otherwise, the laptop will not be able to find the update.

Another way to solve the “why the touchpad does not work” issue by updating drivers is to go to the manufacturer’s site and download the software manually. Most tech manufacturers have a software section on their websites. Write your laptop series in it, and you will get the link to the page with the suitable drivers.

10. Turn off the Tablet PC Input Service

If you still think “how to fix my laptop touchpad” while you use the touchscreen, seek the source of the problem in the Tablet PC Input Service. This service shuts down the touchpad.

If you don’t use the stylus, turn it off on the Task Manager. If you use pens, you should change this setting whenever you want to use the touchpad.

Path 1Path 2
Launch the Run app. Press the Win+R combo. Open the Task Manager. Hold the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Also, try the Ctrl+Alt+Delete and then click on the “Task Manager” line.
Type services.msc in the box. 
Click “More Details”. Click “More Details”.
Find the “TabletInputService”. Find the “TabletInputService”.
Right-click and disable or enable this option. Right-click and disable or enable this option.

11. Enable the cursor in BIOS

Review the basic settings. Maybe the problem is hiding there. Do the following to how to fix a not working touchpad in BIOS:

  1. Shut down the laptop.
  2. Turn it up and press the BIOS key while booting. It can be F10, F2, F12, F1, or DEL.  Also, try the Fn + F key combo. 
  3. Go to the hardware settings menu
  4. Find the “Touchpad” line. Enable it.
  5. Restart the PC.

12. Restore Windows

As we said, Windows constantly updates. Some of the updates may create corrupt system files. The easiest way to fix your touchpad is to restore your system from the backup file. All you have to do is to select the restore point on any date before cursor shutdown:

  1. Find the search bar near the Windows and type “Restore”. Or you can go to the settings and type “Restore” there.
  2. Open the “System Protection tab” and choose “System Restore
  3. Find the restore point before the last system update. Select it. Then wait until the system rolls back.

If you know exactly when your touchpad stopped working — click on the Show more restore points. Select the point before this “Day X”.

If you don’t have any restore points — reinstall the system or go to the nearest repair center. They will fix the laptop, mouse, pad, and anything that may interfere with the system.

13. Check for defective hardware

If you have tried everything we said before, but your touchpad is not working, the flawed hardware may be the reason. For those who still have the active laptop warranty — contact the manufacturer. They will change the touchpad for free or at a highly reduced price. Or you can go to some “repair guys”, but be ready to pay the full price.

How to fix the trackpad on the laptop with macOS

Trackpad on the macOS

Sometimes, even Apple laptops have bugs like this. Here is what you can do to fix the problem:

  1. Check for the updates. Go to the System Preferences, open Software Update, and install any updates.
  2. Another way is to open the System Preferences, slide to the “Accessibility” menu and find the Pointer Control line. Modify the speed — slide the arrow to the “Faster” side.
  3. If your trackpad did not respond — detach the mouse. The system decided to work only with the mouse now. Check the settings info. Go to the “Pointer control” and untick the box near, ignoring the built-in trackpad when a mouse is present.

If none of these solutions has helped to fix the not working trackpad — it may be the hardware problem. Go to the official Apple service or buy a mouse.

Recommendations for the external touchpads

  • Check if it is connected to the laptop.  Make sure that both ends are plugged in. If it’s not — reconnect it. Unplug the touchpad, turn it down for 1-2 minutes and connect it again. It may be a minor bug in the hardware, so reconnecting should fix it.
  • Change the batteries. If you have a wireless trackpad or touchpad — set new accumulators, even if you do this a week ago. They may be too weak. Try to change your accumulators for more powerful ones. You can check the battery’s volume and other power settings on its package.
  • Restart Bluetooth. Turn it off in the settings and then turn it on. Click on the Windows icon and go to Settings. Type there “Bluetooth”, and choose “Bluetooth and other devices”. Find the Bluetooth toggle, and switch it on.
  • Reinstall the touchpad. Go to the Bluetooth settings, delete it from the connection list and click on “Add Bluetooth or another device”.

Use an external mouse

Some touchpads are just not long-lasting, and you need to deal with them. If you don’t want to visit the service center to fix the touchpad on a laptop — buy a mouse. It’s a cheap and easy solution. Fixing trackpad costs you $150+, and new laptop prices lay around $800. A fine mouse costs $50-100, but if you need it just for web browsing, you can find a good mouse even for $15-20.

Conclusion: how to fix your touchpad at home  

Check the laptop for damage. Clean it from the dirt as it may be clogged. But if there is no visible damage, you should search for a software problem. Restart your laptop and let the system updates install correctly. If it doesn’t help — check for available software updates. Maybe, some part of the software is outdated, and it leads to system conflicts. So this may be the answer to the question “Why isn’t my touchpad working?”.

Next, try to change the settings of your PC. Externally connected devices might interfere with the built-in touchpad. One of the biggest system conflicts is about damaged files. If you have a backup — roll back to the earlier version. But if you don’t have any backup — consider reinstalling the system.