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How to fix touchpad click not working on Windows 10

Laptops all come with touchpads. These input devices have improved over the years. Touchpads from a decade ago were functional in that you could use them as well as a mouse. Touchpads today are precision touchpads that are capable of recognizing gestures; swipes, two finger swipes, three finger swipes, two finger taps, three finger taps, etc. 

Touchpad click not working

Fix Touchpad click not working

Touchpads used to have right and left click buttons. Since precision touchpads have become common, these buttons have been removed. Instead, a touchpad either has a ‘clickable’ area, or clicks are executed by gestures. 

If you’re unable to click with a touchpad, try these basic checks first;

  • Connect a mouse and click with it. Determine if clicking is working on the system as at all. If not, your problem isn’t with the touchpad but with input.
  • Try to click inside different apps, and on the desktop. Some apps, particularly older ones, may not be able to recognize a click from the touchpad.

If you’re unable to click with the touchpad, try the fixes below.

1. Check clickable region

Make sure you’re clicking the right area on the touchpad. The entire touchpad may not register a click regardless if you’s using the correct gesture. The easiest way to determine this is to check the manual for your laptop. It should highlight the clickable areas.

2. Check click gesture

A touchpad must execute a left click and a right click. In the absence of buttons, this is left to gestures. Make sure you know the correct gesture for clicking. The gesture may differ from system to system. If you have a touchpad management tool installed, check its settings for the click gestures.

3. Uninstall gesture/click modifying apps

If you’ve installed a third-party app that adds additional gestures or that remaps gestures or click actions, uninstall them. They may be interfering with the standard function of the touchpad.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Programs>Uninstall a program.
  3. Select the app that modifies gestures and click Uninstall at the top.
  4. Restart the system after the app has been uninstalled.

4. Check Touchpad click settings

Touchpad clicks are execute via gestures and in order for the touchpad to differentiate between gestures e.g. a double-tap, it looks at how quickly the taps were executed. This interval can be customized so that it’s longer or shorter. Try changing it and see if you’re able to click.

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Devices.
  3. Select the Touchpad tab.
  4. Open the Touchpad sensitivity dropdown and select a different sensitivity. 

Touchpad click settings

5. Uninstall and reinstall Touchpad driver

The touchpad works via drivers and these drivers are different from the drivers that a mouse uses. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the touchpad driver. Make sure you have a wired or wireless mouse on hand before you proceed with these steps.

  1. Connect the mouse and allow it to be set up. Make sure that it is working.
  2. Open Device Manager.
  3. Expand Mouse and other pointing devices (or try Human Interface Devices).
  4. Right-click the touchpad and select Uninstall device.
  5. Confirm you want to uninstall the device (use the mouse).
  6. Restart the system.
  7. Open Device Manager.
  8. Click Scan for hardware changes.
  9. Windows 10 will install drivers for the touchpad.

6. Run the hardware troubleshooter

Run the build-in hardware troubleshooter on Windows 10. It can often identify and fix problems with the hardware that would otherwise be difficult to find and fix for a user.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and tap the Enter key.
  3. Run the troubleshooter and apply all fixes that it recommends.

7. Change registry settings

The touchpad click gestures have settings stored in the registry. Try changing them to get the click gesture to work.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter regedit and tap the Enter key.
  3. Go to this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Synaptics/SynTP/Install.
  4. Double-click DeleteUserSettingsOnUpgrade and set it to 0.
  5. Restart the system.

Note: the DeleteUserSettingsOnUpgrade may not be present. If it isn’t, you can create it. 

8. Reset or restore system

If all else fails, you have two options. You can reset Windows 10. This will remove all apps from the OS and give you a fresh OS to work with. Alternatively, you can restore the system to a previous point where the touchpad click was working. This method relies on the fact that you already have a restore point set up.

To restore the system;

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Paste this  explorer shell:::{BB06C0E4-D293-4f75-8A90-CB05B6477EEE} in the location bar and tap enter.
  3. Click Advanced system settings in the column on the left.
  4. Go to the System Protection tab.
  5. Click the System Restore button.
  6. Click Next and select a restore point.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions.

To reset the system;

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Update and Security.
  3. Select Recovery.
  4. Click the Get started under Reset this PC.
  5. Select the option to keep your files.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to reset Windows 10.

Conclusion

Windows 10 installs generic touchpad drivers when you first boot to a fresh installation. It will, over time, update those drivers so that you can use gestures on a precision touchpad. If you’ve installed Windows 10 fresh, install all updates that are available and restart the system as needed. 

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