Cursor jumping around on your Windows laptop? Here’s the fix.

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My favorite kind of computer tips are those that address a particularly common and annoying problem, and solve that problem with a quick solution that’s easy to implement.  And preferably free.  Today is a great example of this kind of computer tip.

laptop touchpad

 

It’s a common complaint among laptop users.  The cursor seems to jump around to random places on the page while you’re typing.  If you happen to not be looking at the screen for a few seconds, you look up and you might see that you have typed a few words or even a whole sentence – in the wrong place.

If you don’t know what’s causing it, this problem can be very frustrating because you also won’t know how to fix it.

Quick fix:
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Having seen this happen many times, I am very familiar with it.  In fact, when a client has a question to ask, and it starts out, “My laptop does the weirdest thing.  I’m just typing along, and all of a sudden…” that’s usually all they have to say because I already know what they are going to tell me.  The cursor moves around the screen to a different spot, seemingly with a mind of its own.

The cause of this issue is the laptop’s touchpad.  That’s the little square under the keyboard with the left and right button.  It’s sort of the “mouse” of a laptop since you can move your finger on it to determine where the cursor is on the screen.

What happens is that while you’re typing, your left hand or your right hand (or both) brushes the touchpad, ever so slightly.  It doesn’t take much at all.  That tells the laptop that you want to move the cursor, so it just does what it’s told to do.  And you end up typing a bunch of text in the wrong place.

There are a few solutions to this:

  • Type more carefully.  Hold your hands up higher so you don’t accidentally touch the touchpad.  This is not really a practical solution.
  • Disable the touchpad and use a regular mouse instead.  This solves the problem, but it’s not really ideal.  If you use a laptop because its portability, you might not always be in a situation where a mouse can be easily used.
  • Connect a separate keyboard and type on that instead of the laptop’s keyboard.  This also solves it, but again can be kind of cumbersome in some situations.

Recently I came across what I think is the best solution.  It’s a little program called TouchFreeze.  You can download it free here.

When I installed it to try it out, I was happy to see that the download and installation was very simple.  There was no attempt to load any junkware – you just download the file, then run it to install the program.

When you run it, you won’t even see anything change on the screen.  It just runs in the background.  What it does is one thing:  it disables the touchpad – temporarily – while you are typing.  Stop typing, and you can move the cursor around with the touchpad all you want.

laptop touchpad

There isn’t even a “Settings” menu to bother with.  The only setting is whether or not you want it to start automatically each time Windows starts up.  Since it does just one job and does it well, you will probably want to run all the time.

After installing it, I played around with it by typing with one hand and deliberately tapping the touchpad with the other – and the cursor didn’t move from where it was supposed to be, not even once.  This program is elegantly simple and just does its job.  Highly recommended for anyone using the keyboard and touchpad on a Windows laptop.

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Peter Darrach
July 7th, 2014

Getting a bit short tempered, at 80, and have been suffering the jumping cursor syndrome on my Windows laptops. late in the evening, tired but trying to tell someone how to solve a problem, of any sort, I frequently quit in frustration. To say that you have made my day is the least of it. Thank you!

Now find a way to have the Gmail spell checker work as well as that of Microsoft Office, especially in Google tablet machines.[Happy Face inserted here, if I could find the icons]

Sincerely,

Peter Darrach
Brockville, ON and Ruskin, FL

Llion Gerallt
July 10th, 2014

I had a similar issue but this time the culprit was the bracelet that the lady was wearing was touching the pad as she was typing and making the cursor jump around.

Carol Fulton
July 12th, 2014

This is better than sliced bread !! Wow I am impressed. Thank you so much. You keep this computer slug (me) less frustrated with my computer. Thanks Scott,
In His Service,
Carol