On a laptop, the mouse and touchpad are crucial, since they allow users to open up files and interact with elements on their computer. Over time, though, the mouse and touchpad can begin to develop problems that can interfere with their usability. In these cases, the problem can be both software and hardware based.
The touchpad relies on contact between your finger and the laptop. If your fingers or touchpad have dirt and grime on them, this can interrupt the connection. Use a moist paper towel or a cloth to wipe down the touchpad.
Similarly, if your hands are wet or dirty, they can also disrupt this connection. Always make sure to clean and dry your hands before using a laptop's touchpad.
If your touchpad fails to operate at all, look for signs of physical damage. Cracks, discoloration or liquid damage can all permanently disable the touchpad. If this happens, you'll have to rely on an external mouse to control the notebook.
Lenovo ThinkPads commonly feature a red nub within the keyboard. This doubles as a secondary mouse and offers a greater degree of control for the user. If this nub is missing or broken, you'll have to rely on the touchpad to use the notebook.
As with any component on a notebook, the touchpad requires drivers to properly communicate with the operating system. If your drivers are outdated, scroll bars and other specific parts of the touchpad may not work properly.