Monday, November 25, 2013

Dell touch pad freezes on my Latitude Z

I recently started fighting an issue where my mouse pointer will become unresponsive on the screen. The right and left click still work. But the touch pad just stops on me. The only time I have this happen is after I wake my computer up. Not sure if it is from sleep or hibernate.

It is kind of hard to troubleshoot mouse issues when you can't use the mouse to help you. I can reboot the computer, but I would rather not. I am bad about leaving a lot of windows open and I try not to reboot if I can help it.

The strange thing about it was the dell touch pad software in the system tray could see me touching the touch pad. It shows a mini touch pad and it would highlight where my fingers were. The first thing I decided to do was to close that app. I then ran into my first challenge. How do I get focus to the task bar and send the right click command to the app?

I decided it was just easier to fire up powershell and kill the process. That was easy enough to do, but it didn't solve anything.

My next idea was to remove the driver and scan for hardware changes.It was a bit of a challenge using the device manager with out the mouse. I removed every mouse, keyboard, and HID driver I could find. I thought this worked once, but I could not get any results the next few times I tried that.

I then tried something else. I decided to kill every process one at a time on my computer until it either started working or it crashed. I already had powershell open from before. I typed in this command:

Get-Process |  %{$; $_.close(); sleep 3}

It took every process, printed the name, closed it, and then waited for 3 seconds. I did it this way so I could tell what process was closed just before the mouse started working. Best of all, it that it worked. It killed about 8 or so processes before it got to csrss. My mouse sprang back to life and I stopped the script before it killed too many processes on my machine.

I still don't know why that process is a problem. The next time this happens, then this will be the first place I look.

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