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Can I Disable My Laptop’s Touchpad?

Heather Alderson from Prince George, BC, Canada writes:

I use a laptop but I have not yet mastered the built internal mouse pad, consequently I use a cordless mouse.  When typing I have many times hit the mouse pad or rested on it, which of course causes my cursor to change position on the screen and I am finding this really frustrating. My question: is there anyway I can disconnect the internal mouse pad on my laptop?

Why yes there is, and it’s pretty simple too! Turning off your laptop’s touchpad can be helpful in other situations as well, such as when using a USB or wireless mouse for playing computer games. If you find you accidentally tap the pad and move the mouse pointer, turning off the touchpad entirely only takes a few clicks – and maybe even less.

The easiest method is to use a keyboard shortcut, as many laptops come pre-loaded with a key combination for just this issue. The shortcut is frequently “FN” and “F9,” but the specific key combination can change with different laptop models. If tapping “FN” and “F9” doesn’t disable your laptop, check out your computer manufacturer’s support website to find the correct combination.

Besides using a shortcut, you can also access the touchpad settings menu by clicking the arrow icon in the notification area at the bottom-right corner of the screen. Right-click the touchpad’s icon and select “Touchpad Property.”

Touchpad Icon

Navigate to the tab with the name of your touchpad, which will vary between laptops (mine is listed as “ELAN Pointing Device”). The tab should be at the far right side, just to the right of the “Hardware” tab. Click the touchpad’s entry in the list of devices and then select “Stop Device” to turn off the touchpad. When you need to turn it back on, simply return to the window and click the “Enable Device” button.

Touchpad Tab

In some cases the touchpad option may not appear in the notification area. In this instance, open the Start menu and navigate to the “Control Panel.” Click the green link named “Hardware and Sound” in the list of options.

Hardware and Sound

Click the “Mouse” link listed underneath the “Devices and Printers” heading to bring up the touchpad menu.

Mouse Link

Navigate to the touchpad’s tab and click “Disable Device” as described above to turn off the touchpad.

~ Ty Arthur