Take Control of a Netbook or Laptop Touchpad while Typing

If you’re a Netbook owner, you may have noticed how annoying it is when you’re typing something and the mouse cursor starts moving all over the screen. Here we take a look at a few ways to alleviate this problem.

It’s extremely annoying when you’re working on a document on a Netbook or Laptop and you accidentally hit the touchpad and the cursor jumps across the screen. What’s worse is when the cursor flies across the screen and launches an application that you didn’t want opened. Or even worse, it it jumps to a different location and tries to delete what you’re working on, or closes a window you were reading to get research done.

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Here are a couple of easy to use freeware apps that do a good job of combating the annoyance by disabling the touchpad while you’re typing.

Touchpad Pal

One free app that will help you out is Touchpad Pal (link below). Just download and install it following the defaults in the wizard.

We tested this out on an HP-Mini 311 Netbook which has an Alps touchpad.

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TouchpadPal lives in your Taskbar and runs quietly in the background when needed.

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We opened up Notepad to put it to the test, and while typing a short message, it blocked the touchpad 4 times.

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It pops up a notification balloon letting you know it blocked a touchpad click.

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If you want to see how many times it worked just open it from the Taskbar to see the results. You might be surprised how many times it has blocked the touchpad if you’re doing a lot of typing during the day.

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TouchFreeze

Another free utility you can download from Google Code is TouchFreeze (link below). It works essentially the same way by running from the Taskbar and disables the touchpad automatically while you’re typing. We also ran this on our HP Mini Netbook.

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Like Touchpad Pal, it lives in the Taskbar and runs quietly in the background.

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Here we tested it out using WordPad on our Netbook and it seemed to do a good job. It won’t pop up a notification when it blocks the touchpad, and you can’t get a tally of how many times it worked. It just simply does it’s job, and we found it to work well while using a text editor or typing online.

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Adjust Touchpad Sensitivity

There are many things that can go wrong, not only while typing, but you can accidentally open wrong directories, launch unneeded apps, hit a wrong link…the problem is extremely annoying. Especially if you’re trying to get work done quickly. Each touchpad is different depending on the computer you have so changing the properties will vary.

If you don’t see a place to change the touchpad’s properties you can download the driver from the vendor’s site.

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By tweaking the sensitivity hopefully you can get a configuration you’re happy with.

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Disable Touchpad & Use a Mouse

If you can’t get the settings of you touchpad set to where it is useable, another option you have is to just disable it and use a mouse. To disable the touchpad go into the touchpad software, where you should see an option to disable it.

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There are a lot of different types of travel mouse options available out there from various manufacturers like Microsoft or Logitech. If you’re going to choose this option you’ll probably want to go to a computer store so you can at least try a few out before buying. If you want to go the wireless route (and who doesn’t want less cables!) Microsoft makes some really nice ones that are sturdy and responsive. Of course they’re smaller which is nice for transporting it around.

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They include a USB receiver that you plug into a USB port and the mouse runs on one or two AA batteries. The Microsoft travel mouse comes with software you can use to customize it as well. If you’re in a pinch you can always plug in any wired USB mouse for easier navigation versus the touchpad.

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If you’re tired of battling the touchpad on your laptop or netbook, these tips should definitely help you out. If you’re experiencing problems with your Dell Synaptics touchpad, The Geek as a good article on fixing Firefox scrolling problems.

What is your take? What methods do you use to alleviate the annoyance of the cursor jumping all over the place? Leave a comment and let us know.

Download Touchpad Pal

Download TouchFreeze

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+