How to Fix It When Your Chromebook Touchpad Is Not Working

Troubleshooting this common Chrome OS laptop issue

Chromebooks are great devices for staying connected and getting tasks done. But a Chromebook touchpad not working can ruin your day. It might even make you think you have issues with a frozen Chromebook. There are a few things you can try to fix the issue.

Causes of Chromebook Touchpad Not Working

There are a few reasons why a Chromebook touchpad may stop working. Dirt and dust on or under the touchpad can interfere with the physical operation of the touchpad. Frozen or malfunctioning software can cause the cursor to stop moving. Some Chromebooks have a key combination that allows you to turn off the touchpad.

Someone using the touchpad on a Chromebook.
bjjohnson714 / Twenty20

A Quick Workaround When a Chrome Touchpad Won't Work

There's a good workaround for a malfunctioning touchpad that is also a good diagnostic step. Use the touchscreen on your Chromebook to navigate (if applicable) or plug in an external mouse. If either or both of those work, then the problem is specific to the touchpad and not a bigger problem with the Chromebook.

How to Fix a Chromebook Touchpad That Is Not Working

After you determine you have a touchpad problem, and not something larger going on with your Chromebook, then you can start troubleshooting the problem. Here are some potential fixes you can try:

  1. Make sure there is no dust or dirt on the touchpad. A good cleaning may be in order. Use a soft cloth to wipe away any dust or dirt that's on the touchpad. Also, use a can of compressed air to puff out anything that's in the cracks or under the touchpad.

  2. Drumroll your fingers on the touchpad for ten seconds. Drumming your fingers on the touchpad causes vibration, which can loosen specks of dirt and jostle the debris out of the way.

  3. Press the Esc key several times. The Esc key stops loading the current page. If something on the page is causing your computer to malfunction or freeze, pressing Esc a few times can interrupt the process and get things back to normal.

  4. Turn the Chromebook off, then back on again. There's a reason why everyone in tech support says to restart your computer. It often works. Press and hold the Power button until the Chromebook turns off, give it a full minute, then turn it back on.

  5. Perform a hard reset. A hard reset of your Chromebook doesn't affect any files on the computer, but it can resolve several problems. Hold the Power button until the Chromebook turns off, then press the Power and Refresh buttons at the same time to reboot and reset the computer.

  6. Check the Chromebook manual. Some Chromebooks have function keys that can turn off the touchpad. You may have inadvertently turned off the touchpad, and if that's the case, all you need to do is turn it back on.

  7. Change how the touchpad works. Go to Settings > TouchPad and turn off features like tap-to-click, touchpad acceleration, and touchpad speed. Changing that behavior might get the touchpad working again.

  8. Delete the problem account. If you have more than one account on a Chromebook, delete the account that's having the problem or switch to a different account to see if that alleviates the issue.

    Most Chromebooks work entirely online and in the cloud. If you saved files locally, back up those files before deleting the account.

  9. Consult with a repair technician. Have a professional check the physical components. If none of these options do the trick, your Chromebook may be damaged.