The cursor and the PC have gone hand in hand for decades, so when the former stops working it can be incredibly frustrating.
Unless you have an external mouse on hand, it restricts navigating around your PC to keyboard shortcuts. Having a touchscreen device might help the situation, but avoiding cursor-based navigation is often far from intuitive.
This is one issue where the classic 'turn it off and on again' isn't likely to help. You'll instead need to find a way of re-enabling the trackpad, which is annoyingly easy to disable unintentionally.
Most laptops let you do this in some way, whether it's using a dedicated button, key combination or through the BIOS. In this article, we'll run through these three potential solutions.
Look for a Touchpad switch on the keyboard
The first thing to do is check for any button on your keyboard which has an icon that looks like a touchpad with a line through it. Press it and see if the cursor starts moving again.
If not, check your row of function keys at the top of the keyboard. Many will have icons so again look for one that could be a trackpad – typically F7, but we’ve also seen laptops that use F5 and F9.
Pressing this key alone is unlikely to work, although it has been known to on certain devices. In most cases, you’ll need to press and hold the Fn key and then press the relevant function key to bring your cursor back to life.
Check your Windows settings
To check if your trackpad has been disabled in Windows, click the Start button, type ‘mouse’ in the search field, and then select Mouse (or Mouse settings) from the search results.
In Windows 10, just type straight into the search box on the Taskbar.
In the window that appears, click 'Additional mouse settings' under 'Related settings'
The Mouse Properties screen should now come up. Click the 'Hardware' tab and ensure the touchpad is highlighted. Then select 'Properties' above the OK button and another window will open.
Now, under the 'General' tab, choose 'Change settings', where you might have to enter your login password.
It might not look like anything has happened, but under the 'Driver' tab there should now be an option to 'Enable Device'. If you only see 'Disable Device', try clicking that an then re-enabling once more.
It's a more complicated procedure on Windows 10 than in previous versions, but the menus you go through should look something like below:
LED on touchpad?
Some HP laptops have an LED in the top-left corner. If yours is lit, it means the touchpad is disabled. Just tap twice on (a quick double-tap) to re-enable the pad.
With the help of these steps, hopefully the problem is now solved. Got problems with your keyboard? Check out our guide on how to fix a laptop keyboard.