Techniques to Disable Touchpad – Why would you want to?
Want to know how to Disable the Touchpad on your laptop? There are many reasons to want to turn off or disable touchpads. I know it frustrates me greatly when the bottom of my palms brush the touchpad. The character I was typing suddenly quits appearing, and the random mouse and keyboard effects that happen next cause me no end of grief. Occasionally, I will run across a touchpad that is malfunctioning and is causing random effects without being touched, and there is good reason to want to disable it for this as well.
Disable Touchpad – What are the options?
Unfortunately, there is no global solution. There are a number of different possibilities that may or may not work depending on your laptop manufacturer, and what version of Windows you run. I have listed everything I have found as a possibility, more or less in the order they should be tried. This may vary depending upon what resources the laptop owner has access to in the way of tech skills and equipment.
Disable Touchpad Option #1 – Avoiding the Problem with a USB Keyboard
The ONLY solution I have found that works on every laptop is not a solution to disable the touchpad at all. It is a workaround that avoids the problem without having to. Plugging an inexpensive USB keyboard into the laptop to type on completely avoids the issue. Sudden typing errors due to touchpad interference disappear when you are using an external keyboard. Believe it or not, many people do not know that this is an option for their laptop.
Disable Touchpad Option #2 – Auto Turn Off of the Touchpad with a USB Mouse
There are a few laptops I have found that will automatically disable touchpad when a USB mouse is plugged in. If you have not tried this, it is worth a try to see if it works on your model. The one or two models I have seen that do this do not even prompt you, they just shut it off.
Disable Touchpad Option #3 – In Control Panel, The Synaptics Driver
Many laptop touchpads use the Synaptics driver. This driver has a ‘disable’ option to turn off or disable the touchpad. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as a function key on the keyboard. There are several ways to get to the dialog with the disable button. The most elementary is to open Control Panel and choose the ‘Mouse’ applet. Another includes accessing it via a right-click if there is a Synaptics icon in the task tray. This applet can also be accessed by using the Run command on the word ‘Mouse’. Once this dialog is open, you select the touchpad in the Device list, and click the ‘Disable’ button.
Disable Touchpad Option #4 – The Touchpad Toggle Function Key
Many newer brands of laptops have a function key that is supposed to toggle the touchpad on and off, which effectively works to disable the touchpad. The features of the Function keys are normally access by pressing the FN (located on the lower left of the keyboard) and one of the keys across the top labeled F1 through F12. Exactly which key is the touchpad toggle differs depending on the model. Unfortunately, the last time I was on a laptop with this key, it DIDN’T work. Good idea, though.
Disable Touchpad Option #5 – Update the BIOS
There are some laptop models that will let you disable or turn off touchpad in the BIOS. This is the hardware setup screen that you can get in when the laptop boots. Personally, I find this option rarely used. First of all, there are not many laptops that have a touchpad option in the BIOS. Secondly, most computer users should stay out of the BIOS, as you can really shoot yourself in the foot making changes there. Although, for those who are careful, and have the option in the BIOS, this option is viable.
Disable Touchpad Option #6 – Installation of a utility program
There are a few programs available for touchpad control that will allow you to disable the touchpad. Some of them are available for free. One of them that I have seen, but have not yet tried, is named Touchpadpal.
Disable Touchpad Option #7 – Device Manager
The Device Manager usually has a separate entry for the touchpad. It can be accessed via Control Panel. In Windows 7 and Vista, it is in the Device Manager applet. In Windows XP, it is in the System Applet, on the hardware tab, the Device Manager Button. Once you are in the Device Manager, look through the list for ‘Mice and other pointing devices’ and expand it. Find the entry for the touchpad, then right-click it and choose ‘Disable’ to disable the touchpad. The same process, and choosing ‘Enable’ will reverse the process.
In summary, there are many reasons to want to ‘Disable Touchpad‘ on your laptop. The puzzle is finding the one that works on your particular model of laptop or netbook. I’ll be adding more options as time passes, so check back if you didn’t find one that works to disable YOUR touchpad.
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