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Ask Bongani: When trackpads stop tracking

Is your trackpad not tracking like it used to? BONGANI SITHOLE outlines solutions to common problems that happen with laptop trackpads

Q: My trackpad doesn’t work. What is a good mouse I can get?

A: Before buying a good mouse for your laptop, here are some troubleshooting steps for your trackpad

  •  Clean the trackpad

Clean the trackpad. In most cases, the problem with the trackpad not responding is due to surface dirt and the inability to record finger movements. Trackpads are more delicate than we realise, so when cleaning it be careful not to damage it. Use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth to clean it. The alcohol should evaporate within a few seconds.

  • Trackpad Driver corrupted

The trackpad driver might be corrupted and you may need to update your trackpad driver. Locate your trackpad’s driver by:

  1. Click the Windows logo in the lower-left corner of the screen. The start menu is displayed.
  2. Click the gear-shaped icon in the lower-left corner of the Start menu. This will open a settings window.
  3. Click Windows Update. You’ll see this in the navigation menu on the left side of the window.
  4. Click Check for updates. It’s at the top of the page. Windows will begin checking for any available updates, including updated drivers.
  • Disable Trackpad lock

Pressing certain key sequences while using your computer can cause the trackpad to lock accidentally. If this happens, you can look for a symbol on your keyboard showing a box with a line through it. Hold down the function key and press this function key, which is usually along the function keys (F1 to F12). The placement of this key may vary by laptop brand.

  • Update computer hardware and BIOS

Update your computer’s hardware and BIOS. Go to the Start menu and search for Windows update. When the Windows update is opened check for updates. If there are updates, download and install them to test trackpad functionality. Check your computer manufacturer’s website for hardware updates, including BIOS updates. Download and install the recommended updates.

  • Check if recently installed software is compatible with the trackpad

Check if the program is compatible with the trackpad. If you recently installed the software for an accessory like a drawing tablet, remove the new hardware and see if it works without a trackpad. In this case, the trackpad is not compatible with what you have installed. That might be the reason your trackpad is not functioning or working well.

If the steps are not able to make your laptop’s trackpad then in that case you might consider having to get a good mouse for your laptop. You need to look at certain specifications when considering getting a new mouse.

A good mouse should have a highly functional scroll wheel that can adjust the accuracy of the user. The user needs line-by-line accuracy when scrolling slowly and the ability to quickly switch between pages. Connectivity options are important so it should offer multiple ways to connect. With new technology, we see lots of mice being wireless and most being able to connect via Bluetooth. The latest wireless mice can generally last upwards of a year from a AA battery. A good mouse also to look at is one that doesn’t make a lot of noise when you work with it.

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