fixing a sticky trackpad
August 4, 2009 5:54 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to de-stick my new laptop's trackpad?

I just bought an HP Pavillion dv4. It's nice enough, but it has a seriously sticky trackpad. HP says it's not a defect.
My finger won't glide over it- the material is something obnoxiously shiny that shouldn't have made it past a prototype. It's sticky to the touch and at the same time, too smooth. Why is that, and now that it's in my hands, can I do anything about it?
(I've seen this but my case is too extreme)
Third party products? Home hacks? It works great when I put something like paper or cloth between my finger and the pad, but that's not viable in the long run. It seems like it needs to be more matte like most trackpads are...could that be accomplished somehow with something abrasive without destroying it? I even know someone with a laser etching machine (yes, mildly crazy, but the alternative is starting my laptop search from scratch).

If there isn't a simple fix, then back in the box it goes for bad design.
posted by slow graffiti to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
This review of the dv4 has this to say:
"The touchpad is an ALPS made model and feels very responsive with little lag. The entire touchpad surface is made up of a high gloss plastic, and hard to use at first. The surface needs to collect some of your finger's natural oils to allow easy sliding around the surface."
posted by oddman at 6:18 PM on August 4, 2009

You just need to get some oil onto it. The iPhone had this problem at first, and after using it for a few days it was fine.

Speed up the process by transferring some oil from your nose if you want. It should improve!
posted by that girl at 6:27 PM on August 4, 2009

If you give it a while and don't get used to it, I suppose you could scuff it up with something like 1000 grit sandpaper. Maybe even a pencil eraser. Or maybe even a piece of paper- it is very slightly abrasive, and might give just enough "patina" to it to make it tolerable.
posted by gjc at 8:04 PM on August 4, 2009

I have a dv6, and noticed the same thing. After a little while, either I am used to it, or as others have posted, the oils collect and it becomes a lot easier to use. It won't take long (at least it didn't for me).
posted by Admira at 9:36 PM on August 4, 2009

In a quick fix for glossy touchpads, a slight dab of baby oil on your fingertips or a paper towel (wiping any excess drips away) then rubbing it around a bit will speed up the process noticeably.

baby oil is also excellent on the plastic surfaces with sticky residue left over if you peel off the stickers they always plaster the damn things with - just damp a paper towel with baby oil, and that sticky crap will rub right off. Don't pour it out directly on the laptop, obviously.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:47 AM on August 5, 2009

Option B - a laptop 'skin'. Here's the one for your model. It's basically anti-scratch plastic sheets you stick on the hard surfaces of your laptop and touchpad (but not the screen) and it protects it against wear and scratches. I've had this stuff on my phone and camera for the last couple of years, and it's fantastic - I keep my phone in my pocket with usb keys and normal keys, and it's completely unscratched. If you strip the paint off your laptop wrist rest with sweat through heavy use, it's great for that too.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:57 AM on August 5, 2009

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