My laptop mouse touchpad is not working

Laptop touchpadThis page covers the most common ways to resolve a non-functioning laptop touchpad. If you are unable to resolve the issue for your laptop's touchpad after trying the solutions on this page, the touchpad is likely non-functional due to a less common cause. In this case, we recommend taking the laptop to a computer repair shop for further analysis.

Operating system not responding

The first thing to check is whether the computer and the operating system is not responding as well. It could be that the computer is frozen, meaning it is not responding to any commands you give it. In this case, the touchpad would also not be working.

To check this, try pressing the Num Lock or Scroll Lock keys on the keyboard to see if any lights on the keyboard turn on. Many keyboards have little lights to indicate when Num Lock and Scroll Lock are activated. If your keyboard has this feature and the lights turn on and off when you press the Num Lock and Scroll Lock keys, then the computer is not frozen. If the lights remain on or off after pressing the keys several times, then the computer is likely frozen. Restart the computer to see if this resolves the problem and results in the touchpad working again.

Tip: You can also press the Windows key to see if the Start Menu appears on Windows computers.

Touchpad button

Some laptops have either a button above or around the touchpad or a Fn key combo to enable and disable the touchpad. If your laptop has this feature, try pressing the button or keys to turn on the touchpad before following any of the steps below.

External device

Some USB and PS/2 input devices automatically disable the touchpad when connected. As a troubleshooting step, turn off the computer, disconnect all external devices, then start the computer again to ensure one of them has not turned off the touchpad. If this fixes your problem, you can reconnect the mouse to continue troubleshooting or changing settings discussed in the next sections.

Check mouse settings

Note: We recommend that you connect an external mouse, either PS/2 or USB, or use the laptop's TrackPoint (if available) to perform the troubleshooting steps on this page. If you cannot get an external mouse to function, see our navigating Windows with the keyboard page.

As we mentioned in the previous section, it is important to have a look at your mouse/touchpad settings, as they may keep your touchpad from working in certain circumstances. To access the mouse settings, follow the steps below.

Windows users

  1. Navigate to the Start Menu or press the Windows Key and type change mouse settings in the Search field, then press Enter.
  2. In the Mouse Properties window that opens, locate your touchpad settings. They are usually under the far right tab next to Hardware (the name of the tab varies from manufacturer to manufacturer).
  3. Ensure there is a check in the box next to Enable touchpad.
  4. Adjust any other settings to your liking, then click Apply, then OK.
  5. Test your touchpad.

Mac OS users

  1. For Max OS X, access the System Preferences in the Apple menu at the top of the desktop screen. For MacBook Pro, click on the System Preferences icon at the bottom of the desktop screen.
  2. In the System Preferences window, click on the Trackpad icon to open the Trackpad settings.
  3. Adjust any trackpad settings you prefer to change.
  4. Test the trackpad to see if it works.

Checking Device Manager and updating drivers

If the touchpad still isn't working, the Windows Device Manager can tell you detailed information about hardware issues and help you update drivers. For example, if a device has a yellow exclamation mark or red X next to it, this is an indicator of hardware or software issues. To locate the touchpad in Device Manager, follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to the Start Screen or press the Windows Key and type device manager, then press Enter.
  2. Under Your PC, double-click Mice and other pointing devices.
  3. Locate your touchpad and right-click the icon and select Update Driver Software...
  4. Click Search automatically for updated driver software and follow the steps (if the drivers are out of date).

Tip: Right-clicking the touchpad icon gives you the option to either enable or disable it, depending on the device's status. If disabled, re-enable and test the touchpad. If it is already enabled, change it to disabled, then re-enable it. Sometimes toggling this setting "reboots" and fixes the touchpad.

Check CMOS (BIOS) setup

Make sure the touchpad has not been disabled in the CMOS (BIOS) setup. Once you have entered BIOS or CMOS setup, check the hardware device settings and if the touchpad is disabled, re-enable it and restart the laptop to test the touchpad.

Corrupt operating system files

Another possible cause for a malfunctioning touchpad is corrupt operating system files. While typically you would notice other issues as well due to corrupt system files, this could result in the touchpad not working.

Fixing this requires you to either activate a restore point at a date prior to when the touchpad stopped working, or you may need to perform an operating system repair installation. The repair installation will require you to access a restore partition on the hard drive or use an operating system install disc.

Defective hardware

Finally, if the touchpad still is not working correctly or at all, it may be defective. Contact the computer manufacturer for further suggestions or take the laptop to a computer repair shop. It could require replacement of the touchpad itself or another hardware component. If the touchpad cannot be fixed, you could connect and use an external mouse as a workaround.

Additional information

  • See our touchpad definition for further information and related links.