My laptop is poltergeisting.
January 12, 2020 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Why is my laptop suddenly going berserk and suddenly loading every box it can for five minutes and I can't stop it?

Anything I run on the left hand side of the laptop screen (at this point I'm running one browser on one side and another on the other) is suddenly going crazy. I lose control of the mousepad, the cursor disappears for a few minutes, a bunch of little circles start showing up all over the left hand far side of the screen and EVERY single window the laptop can try to open, opens, everything on the browser is clicked on into god knows what, it goes berserk. (Meanwhile, the browser I have open on the right hand side is fine. I'm reduced to running Chrome on the right and Edge on the left side.)

I've already had issues with the laptop keyboard a few years ago when two keys stopped working and I had to get the entire thing replaced. Guess what, the exact same two have stopped working again within the last few months. Now I'm wondering if the mousepad going berserk (or whatever this is) is related to that.

What I'm asking is, does this sound like a "if I get the keyboard replaced, this will be fixed?" or a "The entire laptop is broken and you should get a new one because nobody can fix screen glitches like that?" issue? It's around four years old, so for all I know it's hitting the end of its life. It's already a little glitchy as is graphicwise (Chrome tends to crash a bit when it wakes up and not respond/go black for a few minutes and then it's fine) but I assume nobody's able to fix that one.
posted by jenfullmoon to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
 
Is this a touchscreen? Two of my coworkers' Lenovo Yogas did the circles thing - ghost touches - and it required some kind of repair/replacement. I could see how a touchpad error might do the same, register taps that aren't actually happening.

It's definitely fixable, but at four years out it likely won't be for free (it never hurts to ask, though! it might be a recall situation they'll still honor). You don't mention the make and model, or where you bought it, all of which might affect the likelihood of decent assistance. It might be worth checking youtube for your exact make and model and see if there's a DIY solution you could try if your only other option is giving up.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:32 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


If you're comfortable with this kind of work, you might consider - if, as Lyn Never suggests, it's a touch screen - opening up Device Manager, figuring out which device is the touchscreen thing and disabling it.

That might help the screen-taps-going-insane thing, but I have to admit that some other stuff you're describing does kinda sound like you're getting close to the end of this machine's life.
posted by mhoye at 5:49 PM on January 12


Yeah, I came back to correct my forecast to "probably repairable" because companies just don't keep replacement parts around for long anymore like they used to, in order to basically force you into buying a new one.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:57 PM on January 12


I had a laptop where the cursor kept jumping all over the screen. Finally, I realized I kept hitting the touch screen with my thumb while I was touch typing. I taped on one end an index card over the touch screen. My thumb stopped from making the the cursor randomly jump all over the place. When I needed the touchscreen, I could flip up the card and use it. Not pretty but useful.
posted by tmdonahue at 6:00 PM on January 12


Does this happen only when plugged into a power adapter?
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:10 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


I had a laptop where the cursor kept jumping all over the screen. Finally, I realized I kept hitting the touch screen with my thumb while I was touch typing. I taped on one end an index card over the touch screen. My thumb stopped from making the the cursor randomly jump all over the place. When I needed the touchscreen, I could flip up the card and use it. Not pretty but useful.

I assume you mean touchpad not touchscreen?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:36 AM on January 13


Seconding JoeZydeco, in a more general sense-- seems like any peripheral can cause this these days, owing to electromagnetic something or other. If you use any, disconnect them for a bit and see if it helps.
posted by queen anne's remorse at 10:24 AM on January 14


Well, l went to the repair place and he said it was the touchscreen. He disabled it (I never used it much anyway), so so far it hasn't acted up in the last hour. However, the rest of the keyboard issues can't be fixed because no more replacement keyboards exist. Grrrrr. As Lyn Never said, I probably just have to get a new laptop at some point. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:31 PM on January 21


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