Most laptop users tend to take for granted the convenience of the scroll on their touchpad. But when it stops working, things as simple as scrolling through files and web pages can become quite a task. Here are some things you can do to try to fix this problem.
There’s nothing quite as convenient as a laptop for the corporate gypsies of today. Browsing through long presentations, surfing the Internet, or just flipping through photographs, is a breeze on the modern laptops, all thanks to a very humble, little square snugly fit at the bottom of your keyboard. In the earlier laptops, there used to be dedicated physical buttons just by the side and the bottom of the touchpad to help with scrolling. The latest models totally do away with the physical scroll, and now you can do the scrolling with some rather intuitive finger gestures on your trackpad. This touchpad or trackpad eliminates the need for an external mouse altogether. But nothing would irk you more when it suddenly stops working, and no amount of ‘nudging’ or poking helps!
There’s little that you can do by yourself if there is a problem with the actual physical touchpad, but more often than not, most of these problems are software-related, and can be fixed quite easily. So just before you break a sweat thinking about the huge repair costs (or get the heavy machinery out to take your laptop apart!), you might want to look into these common problems and their solutions.
Probable Issues and their Possible Solutions
✘ As mentioned earlier, most of the problems with the touchpad are software-related. There could be instances where the touchpad drivers are either outdated, or some files have been corrupted because of a possible virus attack. Also, if you have upgraded your computer’s operating system recently (especially on upgrading to Windows 7), the existing drivers might not work properly.
✔ To resolve all these issues, you need to install the latest drivers for your touchpad. These drivers are usually available on the official website of the laptop manufacturer. You could also download these drivers from the website of the trackpad manufacturer, which in most cases is Synaptics. Be well-advised though, it is always recommended to download the drivers from the laptop manufacturer’s website for your specific laptop, as the specifications of each model are bound to differ. Downloading generic drivers from Synaptics might not quite give you complete functionality of your touchpad. Once the drivers are in place, your touchpad should be as good as new.
✘ At times you could accidentally disable or lock the scrolling on your trackpad.
✔ While there is no one method to lock or unlock the scrolling, you could try double-tapping on the top-left corner of the touchpad (but this is ideally if you happened to disable the entire touchpad). Alternatively, you could also hold down the ‘Fn’ + ‘F7’ keys to resolve this issue. Do keep in mind though this may not work on all laptops.
✘ In case there seems to be an issue with the sensitivity of your trackpad, and you often need to press hard on the surface to register a touch, you might need to calibrate your touchpad’s sensitivity.
✔ For most laptops, with Synaptic touchpads, the settings can be changed from its easy-to-access system tray icon (the icon just to the left of the time and sound icons at the bottom-right corner of the screen). This icon looks like a small trackpad (a large rectangle with two smaller rectangles at the bottom), or a red square with a white swirl. Right click or double click on this icon, and follow the path mentioned below.
Pointing Device Properties > Pointer Options > Motion > (change the sensitivity level to best suit you) > Apply > OK
Alternatively, if this doesn’t fix your touchpad, or if your touchpad is of some other make, you could try following this path.
Start > Control Panel > Hardware > Mouse > Pointing Device Properties > Device Settings > (check all the boxes) > Scrolling Region > (choose the area for virtual scrolling) > OK
This should take care of the scrolling issues.
If none of these methods work, you could either spend a few bucks to get the touchpad fixed (although it’ll take a LOT more than just a few bucks!), or you could always carry a wireless mouse around wherever you go. Often, just restarting your computer can solve a lot of issues (or at least take care of them for a bit), although ideally most of the ‘touchy’ issues of your laptop should be taken care of with the solutions mentioned above.