Save my trackpad
June 14, 2010 1:14 AM   Subscribe

My trackpad has suddenly, mysteriously and unpredictably started acting weird. So have the mouse and the little rubber point on my laptop. Help?

I use Windows 7 on a Lenovo Thinkpad R61, a year or two out of warranty. This morning I woke up the computer, checked email and was reading the news when the trackpad stopped working.

I can move the cursor. Sometimes I can right click. But I can't click on anything. How it responds is unreliable. Sometimes the cursor recognises links (ie turns into a little hand), but doesn't click. Sometimes it doesn't even do that.

I've tried re-starting a couple of times. I've tried updating the driver (there wasn't a newer one to update to), and rolling it back to an earlier version.

All this also applies to the little rubber pointy thing set in the keyboard and its associated buttons.

I have attached a bluetooth mouse. It works on Opera, which is the first program I tried it on. But it doesn't work on anything else -- not even on the Windows start menu. I am going to restart the computer with the mouse attached but am posting this question first in case the mouse doesn't work afterwards.

I work from home so this laptop is my office. This could be a disaster. I'm backing up as fast as I can, but--

1. Any idea what's wrong and how I can fix the mouse/ trackpad/ rubber thingy issues?

2. Any temporary work-arounds? I'm learning keyboard shortcuts as fast as I can, but would much rather have a pointing device.
posted by tavegyl to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
a stuck shift (or alt or control) key could cause something like this. also a stuck primary mouse button. a blast of compressed air maybe? if liquids were involved placing it keyboard side down on top of some rice overnight might help.
posted by kimyo at 1:58 AM on June 14, 2010

Response by poster: Update - restarting my computer seems to have got my mouse working, but the trackpad buttons are still wonky. I did spill some water near my computer earlier in the morning, but there were only a few drops on the laptop itself, so I had assumed that it was a weird software problem rather than plain old hardware. I'll try drying it as you suggest, kimyo.
posted by tavegyl at 2:06 AM on June 14, 2010

I had a similar problem last year on a Mac laptop.
Removing and reseating the battery fixed it. Likely because the battery is under the trackpad.
YMMV. Good luck.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:25 AM on June 14, 2010

Best answer: Temporary workaround and troubleshooting step: go into the BIOS (F1 before it starts booting into Windows) and turn off the trackpad. If everything works now, your problem is with the trackpad. You need to replace the palmrest (#3 here).

If it is still messed up, try turning the trackpad on, and turn the pointer-stick (forget what they call it) off. If NOW everything is good, then the problem will be fixed by replacing the keyboard.

If it is still messed up, turn them both off. If that works, your problem might be both of them.

(Either job is easy to do, and the parts not terribly expensive.)
posted by gjc at 7:01 AM on June 14, 2010

Response by poster: Drying overnight didn't solve the problem, and it couldn't have been the battery as it's set to the rear of my Thinkpad. Disabling the trackpad as gjc suggested has got the pointer thingy and its buttons working, at least, so I'll replace the palm rest as suggested.

Thank you!
posted by tavegyl at 8:10 AM on June 15, 2010

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