When your laptop touchpad stops working, it’s easy to go into a panic. If you can’t move your mouse cursor, it’s hard to get much done on your computer.
But don’t fret. Chances are that when your laptop mouse pad is not working, the fix is fairly simple. We’ll walk you through common troubleshooting steps to fix a trackpad that’s not functional.
Is Your Whole Computer Frozen?
This sounds a bit silly, but it’s worth double-checking. If your touchpad stops working as a one-off occurrence, your computer could be totally locked up. In that case, neither the touchpad nor the keyboard will work at all.
To test this, hit the Windows key to open the Start Menu, then try Ctrl + Alt + Delete to open the Security screen. If neither of these has any result, give your computer a few moments to process whatever it’s doing. After several minutes, if it’s still frozen, you’ll need to press and hold the physical Power button to power it down.
Hopefully, this is a one-time issue. Review common reasons Windows becomes unresponsive if you need to diagnose a deeper problem.
Check Your Keyboard’s Touchpad Key
One of the most common causes of a laptop touchpad not working is that you’ve accidentally disabled it with a key combination. Most laptops have a Fn key that combines with the F keys to perform special operations.
Many of these, like changing the brightness or disabling wireless functionality, are useful. However, one of these key combinations will disable the laptop touchpad. Since it’s easy to hit by mistake, you might think it’s broken if you toggle this.
The exact key depends on your laptop model (this will differ among Asus, HP, Lenovo, and other models), but it usually has a square trackpad-looking icon, sometimes with an X next to it. Some keyboards show a light on this key to let you know the mouse pad is turned off.
Below, you can see the F5 key on an HP Elitebook, which turns the mouse pad off when combined with Fn.
Try pressing this key combo again and see if your trackpad comes back to life.
Remove External Mice
Moving on, another simple but important troubleshooting step to try is unplugging any USB mice you have connected to your laptop. You should also disconnect any Bluetooth mice you might use.
The reason for this is that some laptops have a feature that automatically disables the touchpad when you connect an external mouse. This could be why your mouse pad stops working. For best results, shut down your system, unplug all non-essential devices, and boot back up.
If you reboot and your touchpad works, you’ve found your issue. You might be able to tweak this setting to keep your trackpad active even with a mouse plugged in (see below for more on this).
Review Mouse Settings in Windows
You should review the mouse settings in Windows, in case something got messed up there. Head to Settings > Devices > Touchpad first.
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 we mentioned above. While you’re here, take a look at the other touchpad options to make sure you get the most out of your touchpad and that it 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. Open the Control Panel by searching for it via the Start Menu, then change the View by category to Small icons or Large icons. Select the Mouse entry here and a new window will open.
On the far-right side of this window, you should see a tab labeled Device Settings, TouchPad, or something similar. You can enable or disable the touchpad here, so you might find that it’s disabled if it wasn’t working before.
Dig Into the Device Manager
If your laptop mouse pad is still not working, you’ll have to jump into some deeper troubleshooting. Press Win + X to open the Power User menu and select Device Manager.
Here, expand the Mice and other pointing devices category. You’ll see multiple entries here if you’ve connected other mice too. Double-click on one and look under Location to figure out what it is. If this says On USB Input Device or similar, it’s not your touchpad.
If you see any devices in this header that have a yellow exclamation point or red X by them, this indicates a driver issue.
Try right-clicking and choosing Disable device, then Enable device again. Next, right-click 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.
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 clear up your issues.
Do a Google search for your laptop name and look for a Downloads or Updates section on the device’s page. You may want to right-click the affected entry in the device manager and hit Uninstall device before installing a new driver.
Look for Touchpad Settings in the BIOS
Your computer’s BIOS or UEFI controls many settings independent of any operating system. It’s possible that your touchpad is disabled in the BIOS, altogether preventing Windows from accessing it.
You’ll need to enter your PC’s BIOS by pressing F2, Del, or a similar key as soon as you turn it on. From there, look for an entry called Internal Pointing Device, Touchpad, Trackpad, or similar. This may be under an Advanced heading. Make sure it’s not disabled.
Disable Tablet PC Services
Windows 10 devices that have a touchscreen, such as 2-in-1 hybrids, have a special service called Tablet PC Input Service. This controls the touch functionality; part of that is disabling your trackpad when you’re in tablet mode.
There’s a small chance this could interfere with your trackpad in normal use. It’s worth looking at if nothing else has helped to this point. Type services into the Start Menu and launch the Services utility. Here, scroll to Tablet PC Input Service, right-click it, and choose Stop.
If your touchpad works after you do this, you’ve found your issue.
Mac Mousepad Not Working?
We’ve looked at troubleshooting Windows trackpad issues, but MacBook trackpads can run into trouble too. Thankfully, we have a full guide to troubleshooting MacBook trackpad problems, so take a look at that if you’re a Mac user.
If All Else Fails, You May Have a Hardware Problem
The above steps should cover the majority of trackpad problems. However, there’s a chance your mousepad is still not working.
In that case, you likely have a hardware issue. Perhaps a cable is damaged or the touchpad has worn out. In those instances, you should take your computer to a repair shop and get a professional opinion—or just start using an external mouse.
Have a look at the most important aspects of buying a mouse to make sure you get a good one.