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Jumping Cursor

By Katie Ellis, Signals Newsletter
December 1, 2010

Have you ever noticed that, when you start to type, your cursor jumps all over the screen even though your hand is nowhere near the touchpad?

The solution for Windows computers is to update the touchpad drivers and make sure the sensitivity settings are not set too low.  

  1.  Go to your computer manufacturer’s website and install the latest drivers for your touchpad. For example, if you have a Dell computer:
  2. Go to http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/ .
  3. Enter your Service Tag number (5-7 letters & numbers, located on sticker on bottom of laptop) or search for your computer model.
  4. Expand the Input Device Drivers section and find the Touchpad driver that is most recent.
  5. Click Download and choose to Save the file to your computer.
  6. Find where you saved it and double click on it to Run the installer.

Follow the on-screen instructions. 

NOTE:  If it tells you to un-install the old touchpad driver, make sure you have a mouse installed first. Then it’s OK to go ahead and un-install the old one through the Add/Remove Programs control panel. You may have to reboot, then complete step 5 above.

  1. Restart the computer. 
  2.  Adjust the sensitivity settings in your touchpad driver:
  3. Open Control Panel in classic or icon view.
  4. Click on the Mouse icon.
  5. Click on the picture on the Dell Touchpad tab to open a new Dell Touchpad window.
  6. Click on Touchpad Settings.
  7. Use the green Test Area arrow to test how hard you have to touch the pad to make it respond.  Under Touch Sensitivity, move the slider towards the Heavy Touch end until it feels good to you. 
  8. Click OK to accept your changed settings, then close the Dell Touchpad window and Control Panel.

Adjusting the Touch Sensitivity solves the problem for many people. In some cases, however, the cursor may still jump occasionally.  In that case, you can also try the optional step below. With this setting, if you have a mouse plugged in then the touchpad will be turned off entirely, but if no mouse is present then the touchpad will function normally. Only you can decide if that is right for how you use your computer.

  • Disable touchpad when mouse is present (optional, may not be available for all touchpads):  
  • Open Control Panel in classic or icon view.
  • Click on the Mouse icon.
  • Click on the picture on the Dell Touchpad tab to open a new Dell Touchpad.
  • Click on Device Select.
  • Under the picture, check the box next to Disable Touchpad / Pointing Stick when external USB mouse is present.
  • Click OK to accept your changed settings, then close the Dell Touchpad window and Control Panel.

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