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Freezing Touch Pad Issue - Is there a Solution out there?


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#1 John M Wilkinson

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 06:42 PM

Touch pad Freezing Review (Updated 30/1/2014)
 
Millions of "Solutions" out there?!
 
Hi! I have posted this on several forums in the hope that someone might have a working solution to this problem? I have given a fairly detailed description of things I have tried, but have not found a solution to the issue with.
 
This is not a new problem! If you search on MS forums/Website (and many others), etc., you find this has been going on for years and the worst part about the problem is so many people have the problem and no solution! The online help techies seem polite but definitely puzzled that Win 7 and 8 computers should be doing this?! They give a typical response (This is, by no means, and exhaustive list of every suggested solution):
 
1. System Reset: Resets the computer by switching off, removing battery, hold down power button for 10 seconds. Re-install battery, switch on and you should be ready to go...?!?!?! This is actually a good solution to some quirky problems, but does not resolve this particular issue.
 
2. Drivers: A second suggestion that techies and others suggest is that the problem is due to drivers?! Corrupted drivers, outdated drivers - like update your drivers using Win Update?! I (and a good number of others) have tried this "solution" by updating drivers, uninstalling and re-installing drivers in a number of different ways, deleting drivers and installing older drivers such as using a Vista driver on compatibility mode for video which actually worked resolving this problem on my own computer (see procedure below). BUT, this still has not provided a working solution for the Touch pad pointer freezing problem after many frustrated attempts with this or that solution - like I said, millions of them out there!
 
For such a fix to work, it would be necessary to uninstall the Windows OS default mouse driver in case it is corrupted, but that only seems to be possible re-installing the OS which I did and the problem remains. Besides which, finding an HID compliant mouse driver out there without it turning out to be a virus is, at the very least, difficult.
 
I found someone else on the internet that mentioned finding "extra" drivers in places they shouldn't be in Device Manager? However, my drivers seem to be all there with no extras.
 
There seems to be a common link between this problem and people whose touch pad uses Synaptic's touch pad driver. However, although the Synaptic's driver can complicate the problem even more it certainly is not the problem because the touch pad pointer freezes even when this driver is uninstalled, deleted, etc. It even freezes on a "clean installation" of Win OS without installing anything except the OS, as we shall see later.
 
3. Function key: Another typical "solution" from many is Fn key + ??? Some say Fn+F1, others Fn+f5, others Fn+F7, etc. (depending on system and computer) This is supposed to be a shortcut for switching on and off the Touch pad. I tried every Fn+F? button combination and none of them switched both on and off my touch pad. However, my Touch pad pointer did freeze when I tried Fn+F7-F10. Click as I might, none of these buttons could unfreeze it, but a 10 second wait did and also sometimes Alt-Tab (which some suggest, but is not a solution, although it is a very common factor), hitting B repeatedly and some other keys. I did find a key that works 100% of the time to cause my mouse to freeze: Try the letter "O" to see if it works on your computer. However, the letter "O" only causes it to freeze and does not unfreeze the Touch pad pointer no matter how much you hit the button?!
 
4. Touch pad Config: Another suggestion was from some guy who did a video on You Tube: () This guy's idea was to switch off the Synaptic's Touch pad config for accidental palm touching. I don't have the same version of Synaptic's driver that he has although mine is up-to-date! I disabled TouchCheck on touch pad settings which did seem to help some for a short period, i.e. reduced frequency of freezes, but my touch pad still freezes!
 
5. USB: Someone else suggests switching off the option "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" on the USB Root Hubs located on Device Manager. Go to Device Manager, scroll down the list of Devices to Universal Serial Bus Controllers, open it and locate the USB Root Hub entries, right-click each one in turn (around 6-8 of them) and select the Properties option, then select the Power Management Tab, then uncheck the check-box for the allowing your computer to turn off this device to save power option. This really has nothing to do with the touch pad as it controls externally connected USB devices. Needless to say, the "solution" doesn't work.
 
6. Boot: I have also tried doing a "clean boot" as suggested by an online techie, but this did not resolve anything. I also tried starting up in Diagnostic mode, nothing! I tried starting up in Safe Mode but was able to cause the touch pad pointer to freeze in Safe Mode hitting the "O" key?!?!?!
 
7. Operating System: There are many other "solutions" out there and I have tried many of them without any success including Linux live USB, etc. The next thing I'm going to try is to install Win 7 on another partition and see if the problem occurs without installing any further drivers or programs, i.e. just using the basic default Windows OS drivers installed with the OS plus nothing and see if the problem still exists?! Nope, this one doesn't work either?!?!?!
 
Would you believe that I even had the touch pad pointer freeze during the Setup/installation process of Win 7. Not only that but I could even make the touch pad pointer freeze by hitting the "O" key which is 100% successful in causing a freeze both with Win 7 up and running or during Setup/installation?!?!?! Just in case some techie thinks my touch pad or keyboard may be the problem, why are so many people on so many different brands of computer, both old and new systems, having the same problem and why do they all report touch pad/mouse freezing related to keyboard use?!?!?! What's next?
 
After formatting the partition, I installed Windows Vista, the original system OS. But, with just the "bare bones" Vista installation, i.e. no drivers, software, etc., the freezing problem remains!
 
Back to drivers syndrome: My last resort is to flash the BIOS with an updated version (my BIOS already is the latest-A15) just in case this might prove to be a "BIOS virus"?!?!?! Maybe doing a system reset first, removing the battery, etc. Done and no solution! Using the keyboard in Notepad (very light on resources) with or without touching the "O" key causes freezing! Memory is obviously not the problem nor heavy system load as freezing occurs at 27%!
 
My next "last resort" was to try other operating systems and Ubuntu seemed a good option as it can be installed on a thumb drive/flash drive and run in a similar way to a live Cd, i.e. without installation. This cuts out a number of possible sources for the freezing problem, i.e. it's probably not located on the HD or any system partition unless communication between memory and HD managed to infect some part of the HD? Running directly off the thumb/flash drive means that all that's probably being used is BIOS and memory(???). Things looked promising until I was able to cause freezing again inside Ubuntu using the, by now, famous "O" key on the keyboard?!?!?! Unless there is a virus hiding (i.e. resident) somewhere in hardware such as keyboard or touch pad related, I really don't know what else to try? But this does seem to eliminate a lot of possible causes like HD resident virus, etc. So, even formatting the HD, shredding, etc., will not resolve the problem. I can live with the problem, but it would be nice to get it fixed!
 
I tried PC-BSD which can also be burned to a thumb/flash drive and is supposed to be very stable and not require so much attention as regards viruses? However, unlike Ubuntu, this one needs to be installed. I ran the OS from the thumb/flash drive, but have not as yet managed to get to a point, during the boot, where I can install it. I think I've given up on that one. I did, however, try Linux Mint 16 on thumb/flash drive and although the OS is attractive and seems fairly stable, the freezing problem could be recreated using, guess what, the "O" button!
 
I also did the test installing my son's Win 8 (and subsequently uninstalled) just to see if there would be any joy on that system, but all to no gain!
 
(See also Hardware section below).
 
8. Freeze Factors: So far, buttons or combinations that definitely cause freezing are "O" and Fn+F7-F10. The buttons which "seem" to help to unfreeze are B repeatedly, Alt-Tab sometimes, left touch pad button repeatedly OR just wait (the buttons do not always unfreeze)! Someone suggested Log off and log on again. I tried this and the touch pad pointer froze on the log off screen (ironic :-) - count to 10! However, even without touching the keyboard the touch pad pointer freezes randomly just using the touch pad itself, i.e. navigating on internet. Browsers are also not the problem because, obviously, the many thousands who face this problem use a great variety of browsers and I have used several myself!
 
9. Touch pad/Keyboard link: After so many years of obvious problems linking drivers, touch pad and keyboard, it seems strange that online techies seem bewildered! The touch pad/keyboard link is very definitely a MAJOR factor (indicating the cause and not the problem itself) as almost everyone (forums included) who has the problem finds some link between using the keyboard and touch pad pointer freezing!!!
 
10. Obsolete system syndrome: I was beginning to think that installing Win 7 on a Dell xps M1330, upgraded to 4Gb RAM, 1.5 Ghz, which originally came with that problem (sorry program ;-) called Vista, might be causing the problem (tech-noia?). But, then I found people with new PC's that are having the same problem with both Win 7 and 8 OS systems!!!
 
11. Flickering/flashing screen: I was also having the flickering/flashing screen problem which one online techie said was a screen refresh rate problem. Change the refresh rate and "you're ready to go, right?!" Wrong!? You navigate to do so and find that the refresh rate is a fixed value of 60mhz?!?!?! Funnily enough, I tried something different which has definitely fixed this problem. I force-installed my older Vista video driver using compatibility mode on Win 7 (right-click driver and select troubleshoot compatibility and  follow onscreen instructions, i.e. Start Program Using recommended settings).
 
The only negative is that you then can't update that driver because after the newer driver installs the problem returns! So you need to remember that when doing automatic driver updates. I really wonder if this isn't a case of a newer driver that "overclocks" hardware and causes problems, but this shouldn't be the case for those who have brand new systems? I just wish I could find a solution like this one for this freezing cold Touch pad pointer problem!
 
Another similar problem is the "audio bug" which raises or lowers, maintains volume on full or switches off or even gets you chasing the volume control up and down the scale - must be very amusing for whoever created it. Solution - download a clean copy of driver (or use driver disk supplied with system), uninstall driver in Device Manager and manually re-install the clean version, i.e. Click Update on driver properties, then instead of automatically updating the driver use the option to manually search for a driver and install your clean version. This has resolved the same problem a couple of times for me. I recently found out that the O and L keys seem to be responsible for causing the audio to gradually lower or switch off. However, I have had a bug in the past that used to do it automatically!
 
12. No solution syndrome: Going back to the REAL PROBLEM, this problem with the touch pad pointer freezing issue is not new (at least since 2009)!!! It would really be great if somebody could DO SOMETHING like come up with this SOLUTION (I prefer the term FIX) because it really is not limited to just a few isolated cases! These are OLD bugs and yet are affecting even the latest innovation, YES Windows 8 users are also looking for a solution to the same touch pad freezing issue even on systems only a few weeks old!!!
 
13. Windows Fix: Tweaking.com has a nice little program with all kinds of automatic fixes to restore Windows OS to original factory condition without re-installing (at least the author is working towards that dream). It has a helpful tabbed interface taking you through pre-fix procedures. I used both Malwarebytes and SuperAntispyware (updated) to scan in safe mode, no malware, viruses, nothing! I went through the whole thing finally using the fixes which are done automatically after you create a restore point and backup Win registry, nice! The program really does restore Windows files to original state! BUT, the problem is more stubborn than than the solutions I have found so far! Oh well! Take a breather after that!
 
14. Hardware (conflicts, resident virus, etc.): One last thing I forgot. Most people seem to find that using an external mouse resolves the problem. And, it does resolve the problem whilst using the external mouse (you may want to activate/check the option for the touch pad to be switched off when external mouse is detected which helps when typing. This is available in Symantec config), BUT, it doesn't fix the issue! SO, until someone comes up with the real culprit and a real fix...waiting...please don't switch off...zzzz!!!
 
Under this section heading, I decided to try at least one hardware possibility (i.e. resident virus). I remembered that I still had the original memory cards after upgrading to 4GB. So, I switched off, did a system reset, switched the memory cards and booted off the Linux Mint thumb/flash drive...WAITING...Sorry, this one didn't work either! Outside switching the HD, the mother board, etc. (rather ironic) I really can't think of much else to try?
 
For resident viruses, as already mentioned, I have scanned with a number of different antivirus/anti-malware programs and have come up with zero infections?!?!?! Doing this in safe mode has not detected anything either.
 
If those online techies are bewildered (imagine us!!!) that  this is happening or can even be happening with the latest and greatest, it would be very informative to try searching solutions for touch pad freezing and they will also see that there are thousands of people out there asking the same question, how to fix Windows 7 and 8 touch pad freezing!!!
 
This is not an "outdated hardware problem" because people with BRAND NEW COMPUTERS running Win 8 are having the same problem! The particular brand of computer is not to blame either because the same problem happens on DELL, Toshiba, etc. It is not a driver problem (unless there is some conflict between MS default drivers installed with OS) because no matter what you do with the drivers or hardware (I admit I haven't yet substituted all hardware to check where the problem resides) the problem stubbornly remains. It is neither the computer nor the user that is the problem! The problem may be some hardware resident virus or some other bug??? Solutions anybody???
 
John M Wilkinson
 
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#2 SpywareDoctor

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 05:18 AM

Same problem when running from a Live CD/USB?

A Live CD/DVD or USB flash drive contains a complete bootable computer operating system (OS). When you boot a computer from it, the OS loads into, and then runs from memory instead of a hard drive. This allows you to run an OS without installing it or making any changes to a computer's current configuration.

To create one, download an ISO file containing the OS you want to use, (such as Ubuntu, Slax or Zorin), then use something like ISO Recorder to burn it to a CD/DVD or USB key.

Now boot your computer from this disc/key and your computer will be running that OS instead of the one on its hard drive.

When you're done, simply reboot your PC from the hard drive.


If the problem persists even when running a different OS, then the issue is probably hardware related.

 



#3 mavengroup

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 06:46 AM

I have run into this issue before with the touchpad as well.

 

I have to concur with SpywareDoctor on his use of a LiveCD.  Use this for some time to duplicate the issue and/or possibly rule out hardware.

 

In all cases, I have had it has been driver related and remedied with removal and cleanup.

 

Here is what I have done.... 

1. Find where the drivers are located on your computer (directory or driver name - i.e. something.dll) - you will need this later.

2. Use a remove tool like REVO Uninstaller to remove the tool and then scan for left-overs.

3. Manually search the registry for what you found in #1 above removing everything you find related to synaptics, etc. (I would suggest a registry backup before you do this - just in case) (also have a USB mouse plugged in as your pad may stop working).

 

4. You may want to do this before you start (optional).  You may have to try both of these, starting from #1 again.  Go to your manufacturers website (DELL in your case) and download the driver.  Also visit the OEM manufacturers site (ALP or Synaptics - in your case) and download that version.  Put these on your desktop so they are handy.

 

5. After #1-3 reboot and perhaps run a CCleaner registry cleanup (not sure if this did anything - but it did find stuff related to synaptics when I did it - and it made me feel good.

 

Now flip a quarter and install one of the drivers you downloaded.  Reboot.

Go into the mouse settings and set your configuration and TURN OFF anything you don't use (gestures, auto-update, etc.).

Test

 

(I would also make sure you clean you pad (I had one user that had some sort of almost invisible "gook" on the pad which caused all sorts of issue).  Cleaned up with some light use of rubbing alcohol and problem went away.

 

This has worked for me (we do a lot of DELL Latitude and Precision machines).  I have not seen this problem lately (past 6-12 months - meaning in newer machines) but use to run into this quite a bit with older machines.

 

I hope this helps.  Would love to know if you find something else that works for you.


Thank You,

John Dubinsky
www.mavengroup.net

#4 John M Wilkinson

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 08:13 PM

Hi Spyware Doctor and John Dubinsky,

 

Thank you both for your help! I just remembered a simple test which I hadn't done yet. You may be interested in seeing the results below. John, I tried cleaning the touch pad with alcohol, but there didn't seem to be much of anything to remove, i.e. very little dirt, gunk, etc.

 

External keyboard and mouse tests:

 

1. Touch pad and built-in keyboard: Check the touch pad to see if this freezes it? YES, using the keyboard freezes the touch pad pointer!

2. Touch pad and USB keyboard: Check to see if the same problem with touch pad freezing exists when using an external USB keyboard? No, the touch pad pointer does not freeze even when using the "O" key. Does it freeze with the USB keyboard plugged in and using the built-in keyboard? Yes, using the "O" key.

3. USB mouse: With the Synaptics config to disable touch pad when external mouse is detected, the touch pad is disabled, but the external USB mouse is not affected by any amount of keyboarding - i.e. the external mouse does not freeze. Test with touch pad activated at the same time as external mouse (Synaptics config): Using the external mouse has no influence on the touch pad - i.e. touch pad does not freeze. However, using built-in keyboard with USB mouse connected causes touch pad pointer to freeze which indicates that the something between the built-in keyboard and touch pad is causing the problem.

4. USB mouse and keyboard: Test to check for freezing using external mouse and keyboard? No freezing! Test built-in keyboard and touch pad with external USB mouse and keyboard connected? The letter "O" test freezes the touch pad when pressing the key repeatedly, but not when the key is held down for a few moments and released?! Test built-in keyboard to check other keys which cause freezing:

- yjbm all cause freezing when pressed repeatedly but not when held down.

- uikl all cause freezing both pressing repeatedly and holding the key down

- n causes freezing sometimes when pressing repeatedly but not when holding down

- qwertopasdfghzxcv cause no effect whatsoever.

The probable conclusion of this test is that the keyboard is starting to have problems and is causing the touch pad freezing problem. Why there would be any connection whatsoever between the keyboard and touch pad pointer freezing remains a mystery. 

But, when the external USB keyboard is used, the touch pad pointer functions normally! Using the external USB mouse also presents no problems. Using the external USB (or PS/2) keyboard with no problems indicates that the built-in keyboard is faulty especially because there are several keys which cause the problem. This test indicates the same result as changing the built-in keyboard, i.e. substitution. Using the external USB mouse indicates the same in relation to the built-in touch pad. 

But, while using the external USB keyboard the touch pad presented no problems. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the problem is not software related (i.e. drivers, etc.) a nor is it a problem related to hardware such as the motherboard or any keyboard/touch pad related hardware, because when the external keyboard or mouse are used the touch pad presents no problem. 

Also, the use of an external keyboard uses the same hardware as the built-in keyboard, but did not present any problem. It would probably be safe to say that substituting the built-in keyboard would resolve its problem and probably the touch pad freezing problem as well!

Regards,

John.



#5 John M Wilkinson

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 12:04 PM

Hi all, I can't remember right now on which forum it was that someone said they had resolved their problem with keyboard/touch pad freezing issue? Quite simply, the person said that he removed his keyboard, gave it a blast with the aerosol kind of compressed air, and it was as simple as that! I was a little skeptical  but anything's worth a try! So, I removed my keyboard and lacking the aerosol which couldn't find anywhere, used my own breath to blow the thing out getting rid of accumulated dust which also causes heat accumulation (another suggested cause). I wasn't in the mood for trying to dismantle the keyboard as it is a sealed unit, but guess what. When I re-installed the keyboard I tried everything I could without success to make the touch pad freeze and up to now it will not freeze no matter what I do (i.e. hitting the O key always made it freeze before 100% of the time even without actually typing)! The keyboard really seems to have been the problem, because it was becoming harder to type with keys I hit not responding the first time, fast repetition sometimes worked and sometimes just dragged along often having to hit the key repeatedly to move one letter at a time, using the keyboard was also altering the volume and causing my CD/DVD drive to eject nothing?! Anyway, to cut a long story short, after removing, blowing the dust out and re-installing my keyboard, I seem to be up and running with the keyboard working the way it used to before the problems appeared, fast typing, fast repeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat, etc. I'm not sure how much blowing the dust out helped, but maybe the flat cable of the keyboard had somehow dislodged itself and was causing the problem which after re-installing was re-seated??? Anyway, whatever helped it seems to be working fine now! Thanks for all your help! Regards, John.



#6 SpywareDoctor

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 01:24 PM

Excellent! :)

 

BTW, many brand new laptop replacement keyboards run less than $20. Think I paid $13.50 or so, including shipping, for the last one I ordered for a Acer Aspire laptop.



#7 MakeItBetter

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:25 PM

Thanks for the keyboard tip ... I have a usb keyboard plugged into my Acer because the laptop keyboard doesn't seem to work...OTOH ... the machine IS about 5 years old ... who knows what a cleaning might accomplish?

 

Thanks for the head's up, will definitely have to try this out when I get a chance!!!



#8 SpywareDoctor

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:35 AM

You're welcome.






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