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 things done. But a Chromebook touchpad not working can just ruin your day. Fortunately, there are a few things you can try to fix the issue.

Causes of Chromebook Touchpad Not Working

There are a few reasons why your 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 your 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 via Twenty20

A Quick Workaround When Your Chrome Touchpad Won't Work

Right off the bat, there's a good workaround for a malfunctioning touchpad that is also a good diagnostic step. Try using the touchscreen on your Chromebook to navigate (if applicable) or try plugging in an external mouse. If either or both of those work, then you can be sure the problem is specific to the touchpad, and not a bigger problem with the Chromebook itself. Once you've determined that, you can focus your efforts.

How to Fix a Chromebook Touchpad That Is Not Working

Once you've determined you actually do 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 might be on the touchpad. Also, use a can of compressed air to puff out anything that might be 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 any specks of dirt and jostle them out of the way.

  3. Press the Esc key several times. The Esc key stops the loading of 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 your 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 again.

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

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

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

    Touchpad settings on a Chromebook
    Lifewire/Adam Doud 
  8. Delete the problem account. If you have more than one account on a Chromebook, you can try deleting the account that's having the problem. Go to Settings, select the name of the account, select the three dots next to the account you want to delete, then select Remove Account.

    Most Chromebooks work entirely online and in the cloud, but if you have any files saved locally, be sure to back them up before deleting the account.

  9. If none of these options do the trick, it's possible your Chromebook may be damaged. Consult with a repair technician to check the physical components.