Tom’s Tech Tips

Tom’s Tuesday Tech Tip: Lose Touch With Your Legal Nurse Consulting Touch Pad

A few Tuesday Tech Tips back I mentioned that I routinely disable the touch pad on my laptop. Since then Certified Legal Nurse Consultants have been clamoring to know not just why?, but also how?

Let’s start with the first question first. The why – because I don’t like touch pads. Sorry CLNC® consultant Apple® users, I know touch pads are useful, but on my Windows® machine I’ll be typing away in the middle of a Tech Tip, unknowingly drop my wrist or thumbs (much to the consternation of Mrs. Giles my piano teacher, may she rest in peace) which then come into contact with the touch pad causing my cursor to jump to some other point on the page, all while I keep typing merrily away, in the wrong sentence or paragraph. Believe it or not, I find that frustrating.

To avoid the hated touch pads, I carry a laser mouse (along with my charger and other accessories) in my Codi Mobile-Max rolling computer case. But when I’m working in airplane mode (me, not the laptop) there’s no room on my tray table for a mouse so I’m reduced to using the pointing stick in the center of my keyboard (instead of the touch pad). By disabling the touch pad I eliminate the frustration of messing up my perfectly-composed pages and retyping my perfectly-written prose. I don’t disable the buttons by the touch pad so I can still use them to make left-click/right-click selections; I just disable the touch pad itself. The pointing stick also functions as a left mouse button depending upon the pressure you put on it so tread, or point, lightly.

Now that the first question is answered, let’s work on the second – the how. As with every different computer model, the actual steps may differ; so, my CLNC® amigos, I’ll talk in generalities (this works in both Windows® XP and 7) and hope to lead you to what you’ll need by example. I recommend you only attempt this exercise if you have a mouse plugged into your legal nurse consulting computer in case you mess things up – that way you’ll have a workable way to move your cursor when things go south.

Before plugging in your mouse and making sure it works, confirm you indeed have a pointing stick on your laptop’s keyboard. That’s the little thing that looks like a dirty pencil eraser somewhere in the middle of your keyboard – usually between the “G” and “H” keys for some reason. If you have one, make sure it works by using that pointing stick to mouse over to, and open Start (Pearl button in Win 7), Settings then Control Panel. Once you’ve got the Control Panel open, look for a selection named Mouse and double-click on that. That should open up a box labeled Mouse Properties or something similar. Inside that box look for Device or Device Select, and then Touch Pad and make sure the radio button labeled Disable Device is selected. You can also select Disable Touch Pad/Stick when USB pointing device is present (that will only disable it when a mouse is plugged into the laptop). Then click Apply or OK and before closing out the various windows try the touch pad to make sure it no longer functions. Try the pointing stick to make sure it does function and then unplug the mouse to make sure everything keeps working (pointing stick) and not working (touch pad). If everything is set the way you want it, close out those windows and you’re good to go!

Now not one Certified Legal Nurse Consultant will ever suffer from misplaced cursor while typing again!

Keep on Techin’,

Tom

P.S. Comment and share why you love your infernal touch pad (or not).

One thought on “Tom’s Tuesday Tech Tip: Lose Touch With Your Legal Nurse Consulting Touch Pad

  1. Well, yes PC based touch pads are a pain, I’ve had to redo more paragraphs or papers thanks to the Apple inspired creation. I habitually push the button to disable the thing. Unlike Tom, I prefer a stationary trackball to a laser-based ‘tailless rodent’.

    I remember in the dark, early years of laptop computers something call a ‘thumb ball’. This device, which was simply a track ball sized to easily fit a persons thumbs, did away with airplane hassles. Would that someone would re-introduce those space saving devices?

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