Strange erratic behavior of laptop touchpad

Laptop: Toshiba Satellite C50/D-B-10x
OS: Windows 10

I got this laptop from a dear friend a few days ago. It was used, but only for about 3 years and is in top condition. I wiped the hard drive and did a clean install of Win 10, and everything went smooth and worked well. After first install only the Windows standard driver for the touchpad was installed, but since I wanted to use extended features like scrolling etc., I let Windows update the driver in hardware manager. This installed the Synaptic touchpad driver v. 17.x. It worked for a while, but out of the blue, it became wonky. So I searched on the Synaptics website for the latest driver which was v. 19.x, but after a while the erratic behavior continued. I finally tried it once more with the recommended touchpad driver version for this special laptop, which was v. 18.x, but nothing changed.

It’s always the same behavior: after boot up, the touchpad works perfectly well for a time (maybe one or two hours), then out of the blue it slowly starts to malfunction, beginning with missing taps and lagging mouse pointer which gets worse and worse, with finally reversing right/left click order and the touchpad becoming more and more unresponsive. Logging out/logging back in doesn’t help, only restarting the system, but then the spiel starts again.

Today I noticed a strange thing: I was finally frustrated enough to plug in a mouse and work around the problem; the mouse worked fine all the time, but when I retried the touchpad in the same session after using the mouse for a while, the touchpad suddenly worked again, at least for a while. This behavior remained consistent.

I can rule out a thermal problem, the machine usually operates under 10% load, the coolers are not even running and the case doesn’t get hot in any way. The rest of the hardware works like a charm, and the laptop and the touchpad itself are perfectly clean.

I’m at my wits’ end, so I’ll throw my problem here. Maybe some fellow IT doper has an idea.

Check your audio drivers… My Mom’s laptop was having issues with her mouse flickering between apps and “dislodging” her cursor when working in Word, turned out it was a bug with the audio software.

Does this happen when charging and/or when the battery is low?

No, the laptop is always plugged into an outlet.

I searched in device manager for audio driver updates, but they were all up-to-date, so I don’t think this is the culprit.

my laptop is toshiba-satellite … i utilize usb-mouse rather than the synaptics-device. in my research … i found other program*(s)* were stealing focus of the pointing-device (trackpad, mouse, etc.). tried a small steal-focus app from the internet, but that failed to even capture the thief.

eventually … i stopped all apps from “phoning home” (updating) and stopped a couple other services as well. since that intervention … i have no more lost-focus issues. sorry i cannot be more helpful … but the culprit may have been synaptics phoning home … or, perhaps, it had been one of the others.

oh … win-8*(oem)* upgraded to win-10au*(home ed)* … 64bit … and i utilize “classic-shell”.

Don’t try to fix it. Just shut it off and use your mouse.

Does the same problem occur when charger is unplugged?

This is an interesting question. Long ago and far away, I inherited an old Dell laptop with no charger, so I eBayed a “knock off” Chinese special brick. The trackpad was sketchy as hell as long as I had that charger plugged in. (Jiggly, inaccurate, moved the mouse pointer around spontaneously with no interaction.) The trackpad worked fine when I didn’t have the charger connected.

When I broke down and eBayed a no-kidding Dell charger brick (for triple the cost :rolleyes:), the trackpad behaved well even when plugged in.

I can only speculate why it made a difference, but it really did. Of course, this may be Dell being Dell. YMMV.

Yes, it doesn’t make a difference.

ETA: just saw gnoitall’s post: it’s an original charger, so it shouldn’t make a difference anyway.

Of course that’d be my last resort, but the touchpad functionality is an integral part for operating a laptop, and there are sometimes circumstances and locations where I cannot use a mouse.