protip: fixing your stupid synaptics touchpad

I have a Asus Eee PC netbook. It’s not perfect, but I like it. One of the things I don’t like so much about it is that sometimes the trackpad gets all wonky and doesn’t quite work. Specifically, only a vertical strip down the center will function, and that too requiring undue force. Inputs on all other parts of the trackpad basically don’t work, so using it is nearly impossible. Moreover, tapping on the trackpad, which normally does a regular left-click, produces all kinds of other inputs that are not a left-click, such as a right-click or a middle-click.

So, what to do about this? I thought it might be a Windows 8 problem, because I got this around the time the Win8 developer preview was out and installed it directly, so I asked around at work. I actually got a very good tip that’s worth sharing, because I haven’t seen it written anywhere else.

If your trackpad gets into this situation, unplug the laptop from AC power, then place your palm flat on it for 10 sec, then remove your palm for 10 sec. This recalibrates the trackpad’s ground noise levels, which I guess are what were getting out of wack. The trackpad should function normally now. I’ve done this several times since receiving the suggestion, and it works like a charm. I hope it helps someone else out there. Protip indeed.


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