How to disable or enable the touchpad on a laptop

Updated: 10/11/2021 by Computer Hope
Laptop touchpad

The touchpad on a laptop is a convenient way to add the functionality of a mouse without needing an extra peripheral. When the touchpad is enabled or unlocked, the touchpad has the same functionality as an external mouse. When the touchpad is disabled or locked, the touchpad doesn't work, preventing the mouse cursor's accidental movement with your palm while typing. When disabled, the need for an external mouse is required.

The exact steps to enable or disable the touchpad may differ slightly, depending on the laptop's manufacturer, so you may need to use some intuition to achieve your desired outcome.

Note

If your laptop's touchpad does not work after trying to enable it using the steps below, see: Why is my laptop mouse touchpad not working?

Steps to try first

TouchPad Button: Some laptops have a button near the top of the touchpad that allows you to quickly enable and disable the touchpad. You can toggle the touchpad off and on with that button.

TouchPad Fn keys: Some laptops have an Fn key that, in combination with one of the F1 - F12 function keys, can enable and disable the touchpad. To toggle the touchpad off and on, press both of these shortcut keys at the same time.

Tip

The icon associated with toggling the touchpad is often indicated by a rectangle with a line under it. It may also have a pointing finger or a circle near or over a rectangle.

How to disable the touchpad in Windows 8 and 10

Using a mouse and keyboard

  1. Press the Windows key, type touchpad, and press Enter.

    Or, press Windows key+I to open Settings and choose Devices, then Touchpad.
  2. In the Touchpad Settings window, click the Touchpad toggle switch to the Off position.

Disable touchpad in Windows 10

Note

Once the touchpad is disabled, you need an external mouse to navigate in Windows, or you can use your keyboard to navigate in Windows. See: How to navigate Windows using a keyboard.

Using a keyboard only

  1. Press the Windows key, type touchpad, and press Enter.

    Or, press Windows key+I to open Settings and use the Tab, arrow keys, and Enter to choose Devices, then Touchpad.
  2. In the Touchpad settings window, press Tab until the Touchpad toggle switch is selected.
  3. Press the spacebar to change the toggle switch to the Off position.

Disable touchpad in Windows 10 using keyboard

How to disable the touchpad in Windows 7 and earlier

Using a mouse and keyboard

  1. Press the Windows key, type Control Panel, and then press Enter.
  2. Select Hardware and Sound.
  3. Under Devices and Printers, select Mouse.
  4. In the Mouse Properties window, select the tab labeled TouchPad, ClickPad, Device Settings, or something similar.
  5. There should be an option for enabling and disabling the TouchPad. It may be a button or a checkbox. Select the Disable option and click OK.
Note

If there are several devices listed in the Device Settings tab, you need to select the touchpad in the device list and then click the Disable button.

Note

Once the touchpad is disabled, you need an external mouse to navigate in Windows, or you can use your keyboard to navigate in Windows. See: How to navigate Windows using a keyboard.

Using a keyboard only

  1. Press the Windows key, type Control Panel, and press Enter.
  2. Use your keyboard to navigate to Hardware and Sound, and press Enter.
  3. Use your keyboard to navigate to Mouse (located under the Devices and Printers section) and press Enter.
  4. Use the keyboard combination Ctrl+Tab to move to the TouchPad, ClickPad, Device Settings, or similar tab, and press Enter.
  5. Use your keyboard to navigate to the checkbox that allows you to enable or disable the touchpad. Press the spacebar to toggle to the off position.
Note

If using the Device Settings tab, press Tab until the Synaptics Touchpad or similar touchpad device name is highlighted. If multiple devices are listed, you may need to press the up or down arrow to select the touchpad device in the list. Press Tab again until the Disable button is selected, then press Enter.

  1. Tab down and select Apply, then OK.

How to disable the touchpad in macOS

With macOS, you cannot disable the MacBook trackpad until an external mouse is plugged in or connected via Bluetooth. Once you have a mouse connected, follow the instructions below.

  1. In the menu bar, click the Apple icon.
  2. Select System Preferences in the Apple menu.

System Preferences selector in macOS.

  1. Scroll down to select the Pointer Control panel.
  2. Check the box for the Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present option.
Note

When your external mouse is unplugged or otherwise disconnected, the trackpad is automatically enabled again.

How to disable the touchpad on a Chromebook

Disable touchpad tap-to-click functionality

The tap-to-click functionality for a Chromebook touchpad can be turned off while still allowing you to use the touchpad to move the mouse cursor. The steps below show you how to disable tap-to-click.

  1. Using the touchpad or a mouse, click the bottom-right corner of the Chromebook screen, where the time and battery icon are located.
  2. In the window that pops up, click the gear icon , usually located near the top-right or bottom-left corner, to access the Chromebook settings.
  3. In the Settings window, in the left navigation menu, click the Device option.
  4. Scroll down to the Touchpad section. To the right of the Enable tap-to-click option, click the toggle to the off Tap-to-click disabled position.

Disable all touchpad functionality

To completely disable the Chromebook touchpad, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Chrome browser.
  2. In the address bar at the top of the browser window, type chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts and press Enter.
  3. A list of Chrome OS settings is displayed. The top setting should be Debugging keyboard shortcuts and highlighted in yellow. To the right of that setting, click the drop-down menu and select Enabled.
  4. Click the Restart button that appears in the bottom-right corner of the Chrome browser window.
  5. After the Chromebook restarts, press the Search key+Shift+P keyboard shortcut to disable the touchpad.
Note

Once the touchpad is disabled, you need an external mouse to navigate on the Chromebook.

How to enable the touchpad in Windows 8 and 10

Using a mouse and keyboard

  1. Press the Windows key, type touchpad, and press Enter.

    Or, press Windows key+I to open Settings and choose Devices, then Touchpad.
  2. In the Touchpad settings window, click the Touchpad toggle switch to the On position.

Enable touchpad in Windows 10

Using a keyboard only

  1. Press the Windows key, type touchpad, and press Enter.

    Or, press Windows key+I to open Settings and use the Tab key, arrow keys, and Enter key to choose Devices, then Touchpad.
  2. In the Touchpad Settings window, press Tab until the Touchpad toggle switch is selected.
  3. Press the spacebar to change the toggle switch to the On position.

Enable touchpad in Windows 10 using keyboard

How to enable the touchpad in Windows 7 and earlier

Using a mouse and keyboard

  1. Press the Windows key, type Control Panel, and press Enter.
  2. Select Hardware and Sound.
  3. Under Devices and Printers, select Mouse.
  4. In the Mouse Properties window, select the tab labeled TouchPad, ClickPad, Device Settings, or something similar.
  5. There should be an option for enabling and disabling the TouchPad. It may be a button or a checkbox. Select the Enable option and click OK.
Note

If there are multiple devices listed in the Device Settings tab, you need to select the touchpad in the device list and then click the Enable button.

Using the keyboard only

  1. Press the Windows key, type Control Panel, and press Enter.
  2. Use your keyboard to navigate to Hardware and Sound, and press Enter.
  3. Use your keyboard to navigate to Mouse (located under the Devices and Printers section) and press Enter.
  4. Use the keyboard combination Ctrl+Tab to move to the TouchPad, ClickPad, Device Settings, or the similar option tab, and press Enter.
  5. Use your keyboard to navigate to the checkbox that allows you to enable or disable the touchpad. Press the spacebar to toggle it on or off.
Note

If using the Device Settings tab, press Tab until the Synaptics Touchpad or similar touchpad device name is highlighted. If multiple devices are listed, you may need to press the up or down arrow to select the touchpad device in the list. Press Tab again until the Enable button is selected, then press Enter.

  1. Tab down and select Apply, then OK.

How to enable the touchpad in macOS

In macOS, the touchpad cannot be disabled entirely, but it can be temporarily disabled if a mouse is connected. If you have a mouse connected, disconnect the mouse and verify the touchpad is enabled and working again.

If you want the touchpad enabled even when a mouse is connected, follow the instructions below.

  1. In the menu bar, click the Apple icon.
  2. Select System Preferences in the Apple menu.

System Preferences selector in macOS.

  1. Scroll down to select the Pointer Control panel.
  2. Uncheck the box for the Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present option.
Note

When your external mouse is unplugged or otherwise disconnected, the trackpad is automatically enabled again.

How to enable the touchpad on a Chromebook

Enable touchpad tap-to-click functionality

If the tap-to-click functionality for the Chromebook touchpad is disabled, follow the steps below to turn it back on.

  1. Using a mouse, click the bottom-right corner of the Chromebook screen, where the time and battery icon are located.
  2. In the window that pops up, click the gear icon , usually located near the top-right or bottom-left corner, to access the Chromebook settings.
  3. In the Settings window, in the left navigation menu, click the Device option.
  4. Scroll down to the Touchpad section. To the right of the Enable tap-to-click option, click the toggle to the on Tap-to-click enabled position.

Enable all touchpad functionality

To enable the touchpad, press the Search key+Shift+P keyboard shortcut.

If pressing the keyboard shortcut does not enable the touchpad, the advanced keyboard shortcuts are likely disabled. To enable those shortcuts, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Chrome browser.
  2. In the address bar at the top of the browser window, type chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts and press Enter.
  3. A list of Chrome OS settings is displayed. The top setting should be Debugging keyboard shortcuts and highlighted in yellow. To the right of that setting, click the drop-down menu and select Enabled.
  4. Click the Restart button that appears in the bottom-right corner of the Chrome browser window to restart the Chromebook.

After the Chromebook restarts, try pressing the Search key+Shift+P keyboard shortcut again. If the touchpad still is not enabled and working, the touchpad may be defective and need to be replaced.