Laptops provide flexibility of interaction, allowing you to control the cursor through either a built-in touchpad or a USB mouse. However, when you have dual inputs to your laptop, or when drivers are incompatible, this can cause issues such as cursor jumping across the screen, selecting options you don’t want and highlighting text. In turn, this causes problems when using laptop programs and results in user frustration, especially when attempting to control precise computer applications. You can troubleshoot this issue by configuring the laptop’s mouse settings and addressing any driver problems on your system.
If you prefer to use a USB mouse over the built-in laptop touchpad, disable the touchpad when using the mouse. While you work on your laptop, you may accidentally touch, press or brush across the touchpad, causing the mouse cursor to react independently of the mouse. Other times, laptops may have issues determining the proper control input if you connect a mouse and leave the touchpad enabled. Some laptops have a button or switch on the touchpad that allows you to quickly disable and enable it when needed. You can also right-click the touchpad software icon on your computer’s task bar to disable it.
If you have your laptop’s touchpad disabled, but still have cursor issues, this may indicate a problem with your mouse. Plug the mouse into an alternate USB port, if one is available, to reestablish a clean connection between the mouse and the laptop. Ensure that both the mouse pad and the bottom of your mouse are clean of any debris that might block the mouse laser. Also clean around your mouse buttons to prevent the buttons from sticking. If you have a different mouse available, use a new mouse to determine if the issue persists with other mice or if it centers on one specific mouse.
Both a laptop touchpad and USB mouse require driver software to work properly with your laptop. While newer laptops will automatically install drivers for input devices, you should also ensure that you have the newest version of the drivers. Navigate to your laptop manufacture’s website to download touchpad drivers or to the mouse manufacture’s website for mouse drivers. After you install new drivers, reboot your laptop, then test to see if updated drivers fix the issue.
Sometimes new hardware and drivers are incompatible with existing input devices on your laptop. If you have installed any new devices or hardware, ensure that the drivers are updated to prevent issues with the mouse or touchpad. Also disconnect all external hardware from your laptop, such as speakers, printers, scanners and other USB devices. If the problem persists, uninstall the new devices or hardware and remove the software associated with it. You can also use the Windows System Restore feature to roll your laptop system files back to a working restore point.
One final thing you can check is your mouse pad. A colorful mouse pad may be nice to look at, but may not be so friendly to your optical mouse laser. If your mouse pad contains bold and contrasting colors, this can confuse your mouse laser as you move it across the colors and cause the laptop cursor to skip across the screen in response. You can troubleshoot this by using a different mouse pad, preferably one that has softer and less contrasting colors.