Laptop Cursor Activating Itself

I’ve had this experience with a couple of different laptops. At seemmingly random intervals, the mouse cursor will suddenly activate itself whereever it happens to be located. Which means if I’m typing in one place and the mouse cursor floating somewhere else, the letters will begin to be typed in the place that the cursor is. Or if it’s above a clickable item, it will click on it and activate it.

The thing is that it never happens when I use the same laptop at a docking station.

I imagine it must be some setting. How do I correct for this?

Most likely your sleeve is occasionally brushing your touchpad as you type. I recommend you deactivate the touchpad (probably via an icon in your system tray, or maybe via control panel) and use a plug in mouse. It might be enough just to turn off the tap-to-click ability of the touchpad, or (if it will let you) turn down its sensitivity.

Are you using a mouse or the pointing device on the keyboard? On mine I’m able to turn off the pointing device when the mouse is plugged in, and I never have this problem. But I’m sure every pointing device driver allows this.

Brushing the touchpad could move the mouse cursor location, but would not activate it. You would need to click on something for that to happen, and brushing with a sleeve wouldn’t do it.

Without a separate plug-in mouse (or pointing device). Just the laptop itself.

Disable the touchpad and also the point stick if you have one (the little rubbery thingy between the G, H, and B keys). I have mine set to disable automatically if a mouse is plugged in.

I’m currently having this problem with an old MacBook Pro of mine (“old” here meaning “over six years old”.) Even if I don’t touch the trackpad, there’s enough gunk & grime in there that a firm press on the laptop case next to the button can actuate the trackpad button. I squirted some compressed air into the spots where I could do so, which ameliorated the problem but didn’t cure it. Opening up the case and blowing out the trackpad more directly would probably cause additional improvement—at least in my case—but the “quick fix” is good enough for me for now.

Beyond that, I also plug in a mouse when I can. I also try to position the laptop in such a way that the weight of my arm isn’t resting on the laptop case, to lower the chances of momentarily applying extra force to the case. For example, I’ll position the laptop several inches from the edge of a table, so that my forearm rests on the table edge, rather than putting the laptop right at the edge of the table, so that my arms are largely supported on the heels of my hands (which are resting on the laptop case.)

If you have a Windows machine, you might be interested in TouchFreeze, a utility that disables a touchpad when a user begins typing.

You are mistaken. It absolutely can happen (it has happened to me) if your touchpad is set to treat a tap on the pad as a click (as most are by default). This is by far the most likely explanation for your problem as you described it. I once had just the same problem, until I figured out what was causing it and took the steps I have suggested.

This happens to me a few times a month, and although I’m using a laptop, it also happens when the laptop is docked and I’m typing on the keyboard.

I’ll be typing away, only to look up and discover the text is randomly inserted into some other location.

Since I got my new Dell laptop, this happens to me much more frequently than a few times a month - more like a few times an hour, when I’m typing. It’s not my sleeve but my hand (the base of my thumb) that touches the touchpad and moves the insertion point to wherever the mouse cursor happens to be.

I wear short sleeved shirts 99.9999% of the time, and this still happens to me, so much that it is actually difficult to write or post anything. It is grinding on my last nerve and I have not been able to find a fix for it. One detail I’ve noticed is that whenever I start typing, the I-beam marker stays where it is while the actual typing cursor moves as I type. As a result it frequently happens that the whole area between the I-beam and the cursor is selected, and then deleted at the typing of the first character thereafter. Or else it just does what the OP describes. This can’t be right, can it?

If you do de-activate the touchpad via the control panel, then how can you get it back easily? This machine doesn’t have an obvious function key combination that will toggle this behavior.

I’ve had this problem before, and I often still have it when I use a laptop I’m unfamiliar with. The only explanation I’ve been able to come up with is that I’ve touching, or almost touching, the touchpad. It doesn’t feel like I’ve touched it, but the fact that when I got used to this laptop it stopped happening, and that it does happen on laptops I’m not used to, but not for normal user, suggests to me that it can’t be anything else.

This. A quick tap of most touchpads acts the same as a left-mouse-button click. You can either disable that completely in the settings, or possibly decrease the sensitivity of that tap-to-click feature, if the settings include that option.