Troubleshoot Surface Type Cover Touchpad Issues

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Troubleshoot Surface Type Cover Touchpad Issues
We did a post on Keyboard Problems with Surface Tablets a while back but we were focused on the type and touch keyboards as a whole. However, lately, some folks have been reporting problems in various tech forums stating that their keyboard is working fine but the track pad is not.

If you’re having Surface type cover touchpad issues and already tried the steps outlined in the keyboard problems post but the problems persist, this post will help you out. If you haven’t tried the above steps yet, follow the link and try those first.

OK, let’s get to the meat of this post. I’m going to lay out, in order, the steps you should take to identify and correct your Surface touchpad issues.

First Thing to Try: Update and Restart

If you already stepped through the keyboard problems post, you can skip this as it was a step there. However, if you didn’t, simply check for updates then restart your Surface. You’ll be surprised how often that will fix problems.

Second Thing to Try: Check your Touchpad settings

Touchpad glitches could very well be caused by the settings for the touchpad being messed up. If you have a newer Touch Cover (or Power Cover) and a Surface 2/Pro 2 or newer, you can access many of the touchpad settings from the PC settings menu.

Here’s how to change touchpad settings in PC settings:

  • Make sure the cover is attached to your Surface
  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to bring up the Charms Menu and tap Settings
  • Tap Change PC settings
  • Tap or click PC and devices
  • Tap or click Mouse and touchpad

Pay special attention to the two options marked with the arrows. The if the Touchpad is turned off for some reason, it obviously wont work.

The second setting might address a complaint I’ve heard before where the mouse “jiggles” or “jumps” while typing. This can be because the touchpad incorrectly detects a tap. By default the setting is medium delay but you might find that your problem goes away if you set it to Long delay or even Turn off taps.

If you have an older touch or type cover and/or a Surface Pro (original) or Surface RT, you wont be able to access the settings under PC Settings as described above. Instead, you’ll need the Trackpad Settings app from the Windows Store.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite offer the same options as the Mouse and touchpad menu but, at least, it will let you make sure the Trackpad is set to be active. Just make sure the keyboard cover is attached when you try it.


Yes, I know there was a switch in terminology there. Touchpad is the new name, Trackpad is the old name. We’ll go back to Touchpad now.


If you happen to get this error…

…and the corrective action steps the app suggests don’t seem to fix the problem it’s probably because you have a newer Touch or Type Cover. You should try the PC Settings method.

Third Thing to Try: System File Checker and Check Disk

This is another one covered in the keyboard problems post  but, if you’re still having issues, it’s possible that you have a corrupted driver or system file causing your problems.

The good news is that it might be fixable. Just follow the steps we outlined in our post titled Issues with Surface Tablet? Try these fixes… and see if the problem goes away.

Fourth thing to try: Swap Keyboards

Yet another one covered in the keyboard problems post (seeing a pattern yet? :-)) but, if you’re still having problems, it’s possible that you have a damaged keyboard cover.

If you have a friend that has a Surface, see if he/she will allow you to swap keyboards for a while. If the problem moves with the keyboard, it’s probably the touchpad on your keyboard cover that’s at fault.

You can also take your keyboard into your local Microsoft Store (if you have one near you) or Best Buy to try it out on one of their demo machines. It’s probably a good idea to let the sales people know what you’re doing before you’re escorted from the premises for attempted shoplifting. 🙂

If your keyboard touchpad turns out to be bad, you’ll probably have to buy a new keyboard cover as they’re not really designed to be serviced.

Fifth Thing to Try: Refresh your Surface

We’re to the point that there’s a good possibility that something is corrupt in Windows that the System File Checker and Check Disk steps couldn’t fix.

So, the next thing to try (and it is a bit drastic) is a refresh or reset of your Surface tablet. The refresh will try to rebuild Windows without wiping your data but the reset will, essentially, do a wipe and re-install of Windows.

I’ve provided links below to Microsoft’s pages on how to do a reset or restore for both Surface RT/2 and Surface Pro/Pro 2/Pro 3 tablets.

I recommend you try a refresh first and a reset only if a refresh fails.Don’t forget to backup your data to OneDrive or a USB drive before trying either procedure.

Sixth Thing to Try: Contact Microsoft for Service

If you’ve made it to this step then it’s likely that your Surface has suffered some sort of hardware fault.

If that’s the case, hopefully you’re still in the warranty period or you’ve bought an extended service plan. See our post on Getting Support for Your Surface.

I hope this post helped you solve any trackpad issues you may have been dealing with. As usual, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions leave them below.

Tim

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