A touchpad can be extremely useful for most people, but there are times when it is little more than an irritation, so how do you permanently disable a touchpad if you do not want or need it? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answers to help a frustrated reader.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

Photo courtesy of Anonymous Account (Flickr).

The Question

SuperUser reader toriloukas wants to know how to permanently disable the touchpad on a laptop:

I own a Dell Inspiron N5050 laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium installed on it and have been trying to permanently disable the touchpad. I installed the appropriate driver in order to manage my touchpad preferences and successfully disabled it, but once the machine was rebooted, the touchpad was active once again. I really do not care if I need to keep disabling it each time I restart my laptop, but does anyone know of a way to permanently disable it?

What is the best (or easiest) way to permanently disable the touchpad on a laptop?

The Answer

SuperUser contributors Steven and Scott have the answer for us. First up, Steven:

Approach 1 – BIOS

The touchpad can often be disabled in BIOS. On my Dell Latitude E6430s, the option is POST Behavior > Mouse/Touchpad. There is even an option to disable the touchpad only if an external mouse is attached.

Approach 2 – Device Manager

Open the Control Panel, then go to System > Device Manager. Navigate to the Mouse Option, right click on it, and click Disable.

Approach 3 – Physically Disconnect

According to a disassembly video (link shown below), it appears that you can unplug the touchpad by removing the keyboard (at 3:45) and removing the small ribbon cable near the touchpad.

Disassembling the Dell Inspiron N5050 [YouTube]

Followed by the answer from Scott:

The keyboard shortcut Win + X will open the Windows Mobility Center. On my Dell Inspiron (with Windows 7 installed on it), it looks like this:

I disabled my touchpad there and it has remained disabled through many reboots.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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