Odd behavior when typing on laptop
June 22, 2005 6:14 PM   Subscribe

When typing on my Sony laptop, the text-entry cursor jumps around unpredictably. Sometimes, the Find box opens (as though I'd hit Ctrl-F), and what I'm typing goes into the Find box.

It's a Sony PCG-FRV25, running Windows XP Home Sp2. The cursor jump is really unpredictable - sometimes it doesn't happen at all, other times it happens every couple of lines of text. At first, I thought I was accidentally hitting the buttons on the wrist-support area at the bottom of the keyboard, but I'm not.

Has anyone else had this problem, and what's going on?
posted by Kirth Gerson to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
That happens on my Powerbook all the time, because the sides of my thumbs constantly brush against the touchpad. My answer is probably too obvious to be right, but meh...
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:22 PM on June 22, 2005

This happened to my dad on a Dell Laptop too and it was symptomatic of a dying keyboard. Sounds very similar to the issues he was having, but I agree it might be the touchpad if you aren't used to them.
posted by jduckles at 6:32 PM on June 22, 2005

My Compaq laptop does this regularly. It's the touchpad. I know that because if i turn off the "tap-to-click" function it doesn't happen. On my laptop, at least, you don't even have to touch the pad - just hovering close enough to it seems to stimulate it. I'm not sure whether it's static electricity or body heat or just moving the air that's touching the pad - but the thing is awfully sensitive. You might try just turning down the sensitivity of the pad if that's an option.
posted by muddylemon at 6:34 PM on June 22, 2005

Money is on "seizetheday"--it drove me nuts for months until I googled it and saw a pattern of comments---even the slightest brush (or in some cases near brush) of the touchpad is the cause--once I started attending to it, it stopped--don't minimize near brushes or ones that are feather light--good luck
posted by rmhsinc at 6:39 PM on June 22, 2005

Response by poster: I am pretty sure I'm not doing this by brushing the touchpad. I've watched for that, and at least some of the time, it jumps when I'm nowhere near the pad. That said, where do I turn off "tap to click," or turn down the sensitivity? I cannot find any acknowledgement in any of the control panels that the thing even has a touchpad.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:35 PM on June 22, 2005

Response by poster: It looks like I have to disable the touchpad when I'm using a mouse. From the MS Help & Support center:
This problem occurs because wheel mouse devices may be incompatible with some laptops, unless the laptop has special hardware to handle them. The wheel mouse transmits in 4-byte packets, while the internal touch pad transmits in 3-byte sequences. PS/2 devices are designed in such a way that the operating system may not be aware of an additional pointing device, nor of what the packet boundaries are between the different devices.

If the operating system interprets the packet alignment incorrectly, it may misinterpret data, thus causing erratic movements and clicks.
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To work around this problem, create a hardware profile in which the mouse is enabled and the touchpad is disabled.

Or maybe I use the pad, and lose the mouse.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:49 PM on June 22, 2005

Best answer: How to disable the touchpad tapping feature on your Sony laptop. [Flash demo]

Sony also provides a handy troubleshooting procedure for this very problem on its support site.

To wit:
* This issue may be caused by an installed printer that is not physically attached and powered on. Attach and power on the printer and then start the notebook.
* Touchpad driver updates may be found by going to the Sony® eSupport web site at http://esupport.sony.com.

1. Disable the tapping feature of the touchpad.
2. Ensure the touchpad is not accidentally being touched while using the keyboard.
3. Slow down the speed of the pointer and the double-click speed.
4. Reinstall the touchpad drivers.

If the issue is still unresolved after completing all of the troubleshooting steps, service will be required.
</ex-Sony tech support rep>
posted by skoosh at 9:48 PM on June 22, 2005

11-10-05 I stumbled on this site today. My Sony laptop cursor was jumping all over the place. I turned off the touch pad and so far it's working great. I was about to pay $30 for a commercial diagnosis.
posted by DOM1 at 12:30 PM on November 10, 2005

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