Laptop cursor jumps around screen as I type?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Mary' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

In regard to your previous article 'How can I find the Cursor Position on my Screen?' -- my cursor often wanders around the screen when I'm typing text on my laptop. Sometimes, I end up typing in a new word in the middle of another word somewhere else on the screen. Oftentimes I can't find where my cursor went; once I do find it, I need to make corrections, then point it back to where it needs to be, then resume typing. It's incredibly vexing! Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid this from happening? "

My response:

This is a very common problem. The reason why the cursor jumps around the page when you are typing on your laptop is because you are inadvertently brushing the touchpad as you're typing (oftentimes with your wrist). The touchpad is usually located below the keyboard on a laptop or netbook, and serves the same function as a mouse.

There are a few ways to get around this problem:

1. Disable the touchpad entirely and use a mouse instead. The steps to disable the touchpad is different for each laptop -- but the option is usually accessible via Control Panel -> Mouse (or touchpad). Or, there might be an option for the touchpad in the Tray Bar, next to the clock. There might even be an option on the keyboard to disable the touchpad (usually FCN + some other key).

2. Use a freeware utility to temporarily disable the touchpad as you type. There are a few programs out there that do just that -- one of them is called TouchFreeze. It works by temporarily disabling the touchpad for a number of seconds any time a key is pressed. If no key is pressed after a certain amount of time, then you are able to use the touchpad freely. Another good freeware program is called Touchpad Blocker. It appears to have a few more features than TouchFreeze, and operates in a similar manner.

More suggestions for managing the touchpad?

Do you know of another freeware program that can help manage the touchpad? Feel free to chime in with your suggestion.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)


dan_2160's picture

I do believe that the drivers for many touchpads include a setting to ignore when your wrist touches the touchpad -- or to reduce sensitivity to your wrist touching the touchpad.

NadirZen's picture

I use two screens on my computer running Windows 7.
I chose to enable the "pointer shadows" and "Show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key." options.
This is done via the Control Panel - Mouse
Pointers Tab - Check "Enable pointer shadows"
Pointer Options Tab: Check "Show location..."


Stuart Berg's picture

I agree with Dan 2160's comment above. Most touchpads have an adjustable sensitivity capability which should eliminate accidental touches. I also turn off the tap capability which normally would substitute for a left mouse key press or "Enter" key press because I find that like Russian Roulette when it accidentally happens.

Another similar annoyance with most keyboards is accidentally pressing the "Caps Lock" key while typing. For people that watch the keyboard and not the screen as they type (like me), you find out lines later that the case for all the letters typed is reversed. I use a small program called "SmartCaps" by Phoebus with which I have a set-able delay before activation when pressing the "Caps Lock" key (I chose about 1 second) and it says "Caps on" when set. I have pressing "Caps Lock" to turn it off set to instantaneous and it says "Caps off". That works for me. When you search the Internet for downloading SmartCaps, just make sure you download the latest version which is version 6.0.

paultx2's picture

My wife had this old notebook that started to show this behavior. I tried everything I found on the internet, and that means solutions related to touchpad, drivers, system settings, updating, upgrading, etc. TNA. Then I thought it could be a hardware problem, so I took the device to a friend repair technician, and all he had to do to solve it was wipe the dust and gunk from its innards.

stykman_2422's picture

I have this same issue on a desktop computer running Windows 7 64 bit; no touchpad involved. My cursor often starts dancing erratically around the screen. It usually (but not always) stops doing that if I give the mouse a quick shake and park it to the side. I have a big solid desk and a wireless infrared mouse on a pad; could there be enough vibration to cause this? I don't recall having this issue before installing the Microsoft Mouse Center (my previous mouse was Logitech). It's rather annoying when it happens!

Dennis Faas's picture

A mouse will dance around the screen as you describe if there is dust in the optic lens. If you turn the mouse upside down and take a look, you'll probably see a hair or similar - you can easily blow it out with a breath of air (or compressed air in a can if you have it).

rcprimak's picture

Many touchpad and mouse drivers disable the touchpad automatically when the mouse is active under Windows. All my laptops have been like this. Also, many touchpads have a button which can be pressed to suspend the touchpad while typing. No extra software needed in most cases.