Fixing mouse drift on a Dell Latitude C600 with a Sledgehammer

Read these updates, then read the post, then read all the comments. Then do it and/or comment. :-)
Update 2006-10-15: For reasons discussed below and in the comments, I am no longer allowing comments which say “I installed such-and-such-a-driver and it fixed it”. Thanks.
Update 2006-05-19: OK, will people please stop posting comments that say “on Windows you can just use the Synaptics drivers” or similar? Yes, I’m sure it’s true, but no, it’s not very interesting, since this post is about how to fix the problem if you’re not running Windows. Thanks. :-)
Update 2006-03-03/2007-02-27: someone has just added a comment pointing to these instructions which claim to fix the problem without cutting the cable. Instead, they involve inserting a small piece of plastic shielding (but see comment #92 for a warning why not to use an anti-static bag for this purpose). I haven’t tried this out (and can’t any more!) but if anyone comes here looking for a solution, and tries this out, I’d love to know if it worked or not. Also, I’ll keep a local copy of that page in case it ever goes away – again, if it does, please let me know and I’ll publish the instructions here instead. Thanks!
As reported previously, I now use a Dell C600 laptop for most of my computing. I’m running FreeBSD and it’s been a very agreeable experience. There has, however, been one fly in the ointment. It started small – one day I was typing and the mouse pointer started slowly drifting to the corner of the screen. Odd. I pulled it out, and carried on with my day. Then it started happening more frequently… In my first lecture of the year, it went completely doolally, rushing up into the top-right corner and refusing to come out. Since then, every now and then it’s been doing this intermittently, sometimes just a little, sometimes so much that the pointer is unusable. I’ve managed quite well for two months, because I use the mouse as little as possible. I do most of my work at the command line or in emacs, and only really need the pointer for web browsing, chat, drawing and painting. Yesterday, however, I snapped. It was too much – the pointer dancing all over the screen like a drunken hillbilly, my blood pressure rising, clearly something had to be done… I’d done my research. Googling for “dell mouse drift” and “dell pointer drift” and the like had led me to a number of pages with the following theories:
  1. It’s a software problem, update your drivers.
  2. It’s a firmware problem, update your bios.
  3. It’s a hardware problem, replace your keyboard.
  4. It’s a hardware problem, cut the cable from the trackpoint if you don’t use it.
Theory 1 was clearly out, as it was written by Windows users. I use FreeBSD and I’m seeing the same problem – definitely not an O/S issue unless you have a foolhardy confidence in the significance of co-incidences (on subject of which, I saw I Heart Huckabees last night and really enjoyed it – Isabelle Huppert, mmmmmm). Theory 2 is also a non-starter, in as much as I’m at the latest version for this box. Theory 3: this is doable, but unappealing. I have the Dell Latitude C600 repair manual (and BTW I have a local copy in case that link every goes away and anyone needs it) and I’ve already replaced my screen backing so I know this would be a doddle. But I don’t really want to pay for a new keyboard – especially if the problem is going to come back later. Theory 4… Theory 4… This theory states that all of the mouse drift is caused by the trackpoint (the little thumby nubbin in the middle of the keyboard), which I never use. Disconnect the trackpoint from its world and the drifting stops, so they say. The catch: you can’t disconnect it, you have to cut the cord. No going back. Sounds like the permanent solution I was looking for, right? Well, yes, except I was worried that I would somehow manage to screw the trackpad too (which I do use). So I held off doing this until my rage became uncontrollable. Also, I couldn’t find the right screwdriver. Yesterday I took the plunge. It was an absolute piece of cake and has (so far at least) completely cured the problem without any undesirable side effects. I’ve clearly been worrying over this subconsciously, because last night I dreamt the drift was back, but I woke up this morning to find my dreams untrue. Here, then, is a summary of how to fix the mouse drift on your Dell C600, by cutting the trackpoint cable:
  1. Turn off the laptop. :)
  2. Remove the hard drive. It’s in a slot on the left when you’re using the laptop. You have to unscrew one screw and then slide the whole thing out. Easy.
  3. Unscrew the 5 screws marked “K” on the bottom of the laptop.
  4. Turn it over again and open the lid.
  5. Prise up the “centre control cover” (surrounds the power button and has the word “LATITUDE” on the left, on mine at least), at its right-hand end. It should just snap out fairly easily (and back in when needed).
  6. Prise up the keyboard assembley at the blank space to the right of the up arrow (bottom right). With some gentle wiggling the whole thing will come up. It is connected to the main body of the laptop by a ribbon cable umbilical cord.
  7. Turn the keyboard over, and you’ll see two ribbon cables: a wide one connecting the keyboard to the main board, and a narrow one connecting to the trackpoint (in the middle of the keyboard).
  8. Cut the trackpoint cable.
  9. Reassemble (the reverse of the above).
Happy snipping!

280 Responses to “Fixing mouse drift on a Dell Latitude C600 with a Sledgehammer”

  1. seymansey
    November 12th, 2005 | 6:56 pm

    You might recall my knackered bell laptop doing this, or at least having a mind of it’s own when in use. It’s an earthing problem apparently due to a well used trackpad. Happily though, i can disconnect my trackpad rather than irreplaceably chop it off ;)

  2. November 13th, 2005 | 3:30 pm

    When you say “trackpad”, do you mean “trackpoint”? I chopped out the trackpoint but the trackpad I can’t do without. :)

  3. seymansey
    November 14th, 2005 | 6:42 pm

    Ah yes, I remember now. You have one of those all in one jobs. Yes, kill the track point. Kill it dead. I hate the dam things.

  4. Darrell Young
    November 22nd, 2005 | 8:23 pm

    There are actually three flat cables in that assembly. One is the track pad, the other is the track ball (knob) and the third controls the entire mouse. I missed the third cable (smallest one) and sliced the wrong one. Now, I’m dead with no mouse control whatsoever. I recall thinking to myself, how stupid this feels to be cutting cables with scissors. Now I know why I felt that way…

  5. November 23rd, 2005 | 1:52 pm

    Three cables? Really? I only remember seeing two, and what I saw matched the picture in the repair manual – I think. Hmmm, maybe I’m misremembering and I got lucky… I don’t think I’l disassemble the laptop again just to check. ;-) Sorry to hear about your trouble, and yes, I know what you mean about the clunkiness of using a blade for this…

  6. Sparkes
    November 28th, 2005 | 1:12 am

    As the scissors were cutting through a big gold cable in the innards of my laptop, I thought to myself, “hmmmm…perhaps I should have checked at least one other website, just to make sure this isn’t a joke.” Glad it isn’t. With a $5 investment in tiny screwdrivers and 10 minutes of time, the mouse drift that had rendered my Dell Latitude nearly useless is, thankfully, gone. Thank you for your help. [PS - I only had two wires coming off the keyboard, and it was very clear which was going to the mouse; perhaps seymansey has a different model?]

  7. November 28th, 2005 | 9:46 am

    Hi Sparkes

    Glad it worked out well for you! It’s interesting to hear that you had the same (2 cable) experience as me – I wasn’t just imagining it! I presume Darrell (not seymensay) either had a slightly different model laptop, or there were differences in the production run. If it’s the latter that’s a little worrying, however, because the service manual I have doesn’t seem to account for this!

    In the interests of encouraging any further readers that yes, this really is a genuine tip and not a cunning ruse to make you destroy your laptop, here are other people saying this is a good idea (and telling you how to do a similar fix for the Inspiron 8600 as well).

  8. JC
    December 12th, 2005 | 6:53 pm

    Gimbo, I just wanted to say that I have been looking for this fix for about a year now. Like yourself, it has been driving me up the wall! I feel like I have a brand new laptop, now. Thanks again for this site.

  9. JJ
    December 28th, 2005 | 2:49 pm

    Thank you Gimbo!!! I have had this issue on my Dell laptop for awhile and this morning I was about ready to drop kick the thing across the parking lot. I searched and found your suggestion, went to Dell’s site to see how to take apart my Dell Latitude C800 and then after some internal debate if I should cut the ribbon or not. I decided to and now I too feel like I have a new laptop.
    Also I had 2 ribbons as well. Wide gold one running back under keyboard and thin silver one angling towards the trackpoint.
    Thanks again for this suggestion, blood pressure can return to normal when working on my laptop.


  10. john
    December 29th, 2005 | 5:20 pm

    Hello, I just wanted to say I like this idea, but I use both, because it’s easy to play video games using the point, do u recon there’d b a way to install some sort of switch without to much trouble – do u know how many wires r in the cable, etc?

  11. December 29th, 2005 | 7:29 pm

    Hi John,

    I have no idea if it would be possible to install a switch on the ribbon but my instinct is that it would be extremely tricky, and quite probably not possible at all. On the other hand, I’m no hardware hacker. I’d say that if you were competent enough to do the job, you probably wouldn’t need to ask me how many wires were in the cable, you’d just look yourself, get on with it, and report the results here. :-)

    If you do decide to do it, good luck!

  12. tony
    January 2nd, 2006 | 2:36 pm

    Hi, gimbo . Had mouse drift problem with my Dell C600. Was getting worse over time. Was going to bite the bullet today by cutting the trackpoint cord as you did but decided to have one more look around on the web.
    I found a software solution. I installed synaptics touchpad driver from :

    After installation i disable the trackpoint in the device settings. No more problems !
    The synaptics software also enable more control for the touchpad aswell

  13. PeterW
    January 9th, 2006 | 4:11 am

    This contribution to humanity should be honoured along with Schindler, Mother Teresa etc.

    For the benefit of others: takes 10 mins, works instantly and perfectly. If you don’t like cutting cables do what I did – use a soldering iron and tape up the free ends.

    Peter W. Melbourne, Aus.

  14. jake
    January 9th, 2006 | 8:50 pm

    I found a way to disconnect the trackpad without destroying any cables, you simply open up the keyboard and disconnecting the cable from the motherboard, then open the connector that holds the cable to the keyboard and trackpad and remove the trackpad cable from the connector or whatever it is called, isolate it for safety reasons so it wont shortcut anything useful. Hope you understand.

  15. January 24th, 2006 | 11:01 pm

    I had the same problem. Fortunately for me I detest the trackpad as well, so it was an easy enough solution: disable the entire onboard mouse affair.

    I’m thinking about a new laptop actually, because hardly any of my C600′s hardware still works.

  16. John Greystrong
    January 31st, 2006 | 10:07 am

    Searching for ‘mouse drifting laptop dell’ found your page first. 5 minutes work with screwdriver and scissors and I’ve got a useable laptop again.


  17. Lodge
    January 31st, 2006 | 5:00 pm

    Hi all,

    if you experience this problem and you use windows, then it may be easier to download the synaptics mouse driver from the dell website. Once installed, this gives you the option of turning off the trackstick and using just the touchpad.

    Of course, if the laptop is still witihin warranty then dell *should* replace the keyboard for you. You could always buy another one on eBay and replace it – they only cost around $20 / £30 (people in the UK tend to get screwed for these :-( ).


  18. Glenn
    February 7th, 2006 | 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve got the ‘updated’ dull latitude d600 which suffers the very same problem. It’s been driving me to distraction and im on my 2nd hard drive thru thumping the stupid thing trying to stop the mouse wandering. Its a very similar fix except you only need to take off the keyboard from the top (1 plastic cover and 2 screws) and slice the smaller blue cable leading to the little noddle type mouse in the middle of the keyboard and its fixed. Obviously the noddle doesnt work anymore but the pad does and its a small price to pay…..Thanks again1

  19. Wilhelm
    February 16th, 2006 | 1:16 am

    Violent… But VERY SATISFYING!

    Works like a dream now!


  20. seth
    February 20th, 2006 | 9:59 pm

    thanks for the tip worked great. i have a new problem though. my computer won’t acknowledge my power pack, the promblem is not with the pack, it’s the port at the back but i’m unsure of the best way of getting in there to look. it seemed from the manual i’d have to take the screen off which is something i’d rather not do as i’d never touched a screw on any computer before today. any help would be very much appreciated!

  21. bob
    February 28th, 2006 | 5:36 pm

    Good Stuff! i think you can be less violent and disable the trackerpad in the BIOS, press F2 when its loading up after you turn it on, and its on on of the pages. you can disable it and select SERIAL (for serial mouse use only)

  22. Mark Hill
    March 3rd, 2006 | 2:38 am

    here for the Dell C600 and C610 Mouse Fix answer to this whole discussion. These guys specialize in refurbishing used laptops so they’ve got the most complete and correct details I’ve ever seen on how to fix this particular issue.

  23. Dominique
    March 5th, 2006 | 3:14 pm

    Hi all,
    OK Im stamping this out on a clay tablet and flinging it at the screen – that’s the kind of user I am. Im still looking for the very small, flat people in my Dell C600 screen. Nevertheless. Here’s kind of, how I seem to have dissuaded my mouse from drifting: 1)sacrifice of e-cheese to the mouse gods 2) I just screwed around with it til it stopped – multiple times went to “disable mouse” in hardware of control panel (mouse icon), plugged in an external mouse, slowed down mouse and pointer, and finally toted my pc to somebody else’s house for a power point tutelage, and…it stopped. Mouse is as steady and reliable as a drafthorse. Maybe it was the brand of electricity at my friend’s house – don’t know – but no cables cut, and bad juju apparently lifted. For now.

  24. Tryax
    March 5th, 2006 | 4:38 pm

    Hey all. I have the synaptics driver installed on my laptop, and after reading the suggestion of cutting the cable leading to the trackpoint, which I was about to try, it occurred to me that I can disable the trackpoint without cutting the cable. I have done this and so far so good.

  25. March 5th, 2006 | 6:51 pm

    Hi all,

    Wow, lots of activity here – this is easily the busiest of my blog posts!

    There’ve been quite a few comments along the lines of “I didn’t need to hack it, I fixed it in the driver” or similar. I’d just like to say, again, that yes that can work, but only under Windows. If you want to run Linux or FreeBSD or whatever on your C600, that’s simply not an option. But if you run Windows, yes, that’s probably a better idea. :-)

  26. Al
    March 30th, 2006 | 4:36 pm

    I fixed a friend’s Dell Latitude D810 (XP Pro) with the same problem. It was so bad that the pointer would drift into the corner as soon as you started the machine. I followed Tryax’s advice and installed the Synaptics driver. (I couldn’t find a driver at Dell)
    That did the trick and I didn’t have to disable the stick. Both the trackpad and stick work fine.

    Thanks for the advice.

    I’ll stick to my macs :-)

  27. April 2nd, 2006 | 1:10 pm

    I fixed this issue on a Dell latitude C840 with a antistatic bag according to the article of It’s a quite a lot of work since you have to open up your whole laptop and disassemble nearly everything. The service manual at Dell’s website has been a great help with this. (
    I could have used a driver update since i run XP, but since static electricity causes the problem, it gives me a better feeling to fix it by isolating the right parts.

  28. chris h
    April 11th, 2006 | 2:39 pm

    Synaptics pointer driver is a memory hog and also eats CPU power. Cutting the cable is the best solution here.

  29. matt
    April 20th, 2006 | 6:27 pm


    Forgive me for asking the obvious – but in the synaptics mouse software. what or which bit do you have to disable to stop the mouse drift.


  30. April 20th, 2006 | 8:18 pm

    No idea, Matt. I’ve never used it, and try not to use Windows if I can help it. I certainly wouldn’t sully my laptop with it… :-)

  31. April 22nd, 2006 | 12:08 pm

    In Windows XP, Go to Control Panel, Click on Mouse, and then click on “Device Settings” tab.
    Then check the radio botton which says “Disable Point Stick”. And then the mouse drifting problem goes away. So if you are using Windows, get the Synaptics driver and disable the “point stick” mouse. No need to open the laptop and cut the cable.


  32. Christoph
    April 25th, 2006 | 10:28 pm

    Hi all,

    i just did it!
    Works like… like “whoa”…
    And just two screws left :)


  33. John
    May 1st, 2006 | 8:29 am

    Hi there, regards to the Dell C600, how do you adjust the Screen Size as mine cannot be change at 640X480.

    Im using FreeBSD 6.0 with KDE 3.4 any help apreciate.

  34. May 1st, 2006 | 11:28 am

    Hi John,

    Here is my xorg.conf for my C600, giving a resolution of 1024×768. Hope this helps!


  35. Simon
    May 1st, 2006 | 12:29 pm

    Has anyone else experienced this problem on
    a Precision M20? Have you fixed it?
    Started about a week ago, and its beginning to drive me nuts. Seems to be slightly temperature related, ie gets really bad as things heat up.

  36. John
    May 1st, 2006 | 2:44 pm

    Hi Andy, your xorg.conf works for the resolution to view at 1024×768 but, it disable my mouse. Why is that so? and how do I make sure that the ps2 mouse/pad work as before.

    Thank you

  37. May 2nd, 2006 | 10:07 am

    John: In the “mouse0″ section (one of the “InputDevice” sections), there are lines which specify the driver, the protocol, and the device. These are possibly all different under KDE — you should keep the settings which worked for you here. That file probably contains other things you don’t want (such as a lot of FontPath lines). Don’t use it blindly: use it as a basis for constructing your own version which works for you. :-)

    Hope this helps!

  38. Marc
    May 6th, 2006 | 6:59 pm

    I tried to follow PeterW’s advice for disconnecting the trackpoing cable from the connector, but could not figure out how to open the connector. I came up with an easier, also non-destructive fix. When you disconnect the cable connector from the motherboard, just put a tiny piece of electrical tape in the motherboard side slot that accepts the connector. As long as the tape keeps the trackpoint wires from connecting, the trackpoint is disabled.

  39. laurence Fox
    May 19th, 2006 | 3:10 am

    Thank you, I cut the cable and my mouse works after months!

  40. Tahir Azhar
    May 19th, 2006 | 4:09 pm

    As mentioned above, I can confirm that disabling the track point using the driver interface fixes the problem as well. No need to cut wires. You will have to find the right utility for your distro.

    Windows ONLY drivers:

  41. Maximill
    May 25th, 2006 | 5:44 am

    Yo, I’ve had this dead Dell laptop for almost a year until I found so many of us with the same problem. ‘ghosting pointer’. Thanks a million, but please add to instructions to remove the keyboard only! not the whole top, which I almost tried to do… again, thanks for making my dell operable!

  42. lyle
    June 2nd, 2006 | 10:51 am

    I just did the fix with the anti-static bag. Works perfectly! Took an hour or so to figure out how to disassemble it without instructions. I should have checked the Dell website- they have a service manual online. If you are adept with a screwdriver, this fix is the way to go.

  43. JB500
    June 2nd, 2006 | 2:32 pm

    Wait, I don’t think you have to cut the ribbon cable!!!!
    On my C600, where the smaller ribbon cable connects to the motherboard, on the side of the connector that the cable disappears into there is a dark grey piece with flanges, slide this piece out (towards the ribbon cable, left when looking down on it) and the cable releases and slides right out. It works like a clamp. To re-connect, just make sure that piece with flange (which also has the slot for the cable at the bottom) is slide out towards where the cable goes in (left), slide the cable in (takes a little wiggling to get it in all the way), then push in that piece (to the right when looking down on it), and it clamps the ribbon cable back into the connector. Simple, enjoy!

  44. char
    June 3rd, 2006 | 10:37 am

    hello! just to say thank you very much. mouse drift was driving me insane, and i know nothing about taking computers apart, but i did what you said and it now works perfectly. brilliant!

  45. JB500
    June 9th, 2006 | 8:23 pm

    Regarding my post above, I realized afterward I was working on a Latitude CPx instead of the C600. So note, if you have a CPx, you can easily disconnect the mouse stick cable without cutting it, as I described above.

  46. The Doctor
    July 9th, 2006 | 10:32 pm

    You guys rock, the instruction to stop the mouse drifting worked like a charm. The instructions were easy to follow.

    Thank A Million

  47. July 13th, 2006 | 4:36 am

    Thanks for this info! I actually fixed the problem with a good slap. So far, so good, but I am definitely bookmarking this page!

    All the best to you and thanks again!

    D* Goddess

  48. Sabrina
    July 21st, 2006 | 1:40 am

    After wasting hours attempting to find a Dell customer service representative, finallly getting one via IM, and then having them tell me that my drifting cursor was a software problem (!!!) I found this site. I can’t thank you enough!

    I followed your procedures with my Latitude D800–since I couldn’t find any screws marked “k” I visited the Dell site to see how to snap off my keyboard. Now my computer no longer appears as if it’s been posessed by the devil. Thank you again!

  49. Paul
    August 6th, 2006 | 2:21 pm

    I’m on my 6th laptop with the DELL C610 as my latest. My last machine, a C600 had a terribly drifty mouse. I removed the keyboard, WASHED it through with Contact Cleaner and the drifter never returned. The machine served 4 hard years in an Aviation Mfg plant and now two at home with family and no more drift.
    Regard, Paul.

  50. Jake
    August 7th, 2006 | 10:34 pm

    Pradep: Thanks for sending me to the control panel and to the mouse menu to disconnect the stick. You have restored sanity to our laptop, which is an Dell inspiron 8200 with Windows xp home edition.
    3 Cheers for Pradep!

  51. JJ
    August 11th, 2006 | 3:58 am

    I was just about to put the hammer to my dell laptop with perpetual stick point drift when i googled something that lead me here. 10 minutes and a cut cord later the laptop is back in busines. thanks for the tip!

  52. dtw
    August 17th, 2006 | 6:22 pm

    I’m afraid some of you may have been a bit hasty!

    Many people have said that the trackpoint, and only the trackpoint, can be disabled in windows, leaving touchpad working fine. I was therefore convinced that this would be possible in Linux.

    A quick look through man synpatics and I found this:

    GuestMouseOff (Bool)
    Switch on/off guest mouse (often a stick).

    I came home, checked the symptoms on my machine, pressing around the touchpad and was getting crazy mouse movement – it was especially bad when I pressed the trackpad buttons.

    So, convinced I had the same problem as everyone else I applied my fix.

    I immediately discovered that it disabled the trackpoint successfully and heartened I started X without the PS2 mouse I have been using for nearly a year connected.

    I was able to use the touchpad perfectly and no matter how hard I press around the touchpad I cannot replicate a single pointer wiggle.

    Maybe this won’t work for everyone but it’s gotta be worth a try before vasectomising your trackpoint! It could also be a recent feature.

    Good luck! I can finally use my laptop on the road again! Fingers crossed at least!

  53. Chris Schindler
    August 21st, 2006 | 3:17 am

    Well, I had the same problem on an inspiron 8200, and I found a way to disable the trackpoint without cutting the cable. On this model, the trackpoint and keyboard use the same connector, and if you pull the connector from the board, you can use a small straight bit, and pull the connector apart, releasing the trackpoint cable. You put the keyboard cable back in the connector, and you have disabled the trackpoint without cutting the cable.

  54. jimiG
    August 30th, 2006 | 7:36 pm

    WOW! Ten weeks of laptop hell fixed in ten minutes! Thanks to your sage advice, the senseless bludgeoning of my laptop was avoided! Well done!

  55. mikko
    September 8th, 2006 | 6:08 pm

    cursor drift fixed!

    i just downloaded a driver that conveniently has a window for disabling the nipple and the nipple buttons (fun to type) – so put away the sledgehammers and the scissors


  56. September 8th, 2006 | 6:51 pm

    No mikko, I will not put away the sledgehammer and the scissors because — get this! — I DON’T RUN WINDOWS!!!

    Geez, how many times do I have to say this? Can’t you people read? It’s, like, the first paragraph of this post: “I don’t use Windows, don’t tell us about Windows drivers on this page, thanks”.

    From now on, any comments which say “Hey guys! You can fix this on Windows by installing this driver!” will be deleted, not posted. Fair warning.

    Sorry to be snitty, but it’s just dull and a waste of my time. Learn to read. (Also, mikko, you might like to learn to use capital letters properly too while you’re at it — when you write like that, you look like a child.) Thanks.

  57. alastair
    September 11th, 2006 | 11:57 am

    ok, here a a few solutions we used to use at my previous job in tech support for this problem.

    firstly, tighten up all screws on the laptop and ensure non are loose, as uneven pressure can cause this.

    secoundly go into the bios as select PS/2 mouse in the bios’s mouse options. This option means that when an external mouse is plugged in the internal one will be disabled(but will otherwise work normally), For some reason selecting it seems to solve alot of the mouse drift problems with Dells. Alternatively depending on you model you may be able to disable the trackpoint in the bios and use only the touchpad.

    generally this is a problem with all track point mouses, they occasisionally recalibrate. the best thing to do is leave them for ten secound and it usually stops. However from you description you are having a more regular problem, which suggests an error.

  58. Eddie Smith
    September 13th, 2006 | 4:23 pm

    The shielding solution from Laptopsunlimited worked like a dream on my C610.

    I also found some synaptics drivers for Linux, but since my symptoms were exactly as described in the laptopsunlimited page, I knew a hardware fix was necessary.

    It was a very fiddly job, even for a tinkerer like me, but the combination of the laptopsunlimited explanation and the online service manual helped a lot. No screws left over at the end!

  59. amused
    September 23rd, 2006 | 8:43 pm

    just starting to have the problem.. they guy who sold this comp to me had this synaptics pointing device thing installed so i can switch it off simply… – IS IT ME, or DOES USING THE THING TOO MUCH MAKE YOUR MIDDLE FINGER BEND BACKWARDS?(permanantly)
    a place to get a good trackball would make a nice addition :P
    or an eyetap for that matter

  60. Bryan
    September 25th, 2006 | 1:07 am

    Snipping the cable finally solved two months of frustration and head banging with my mouse drifting Inspiron 8200. It was easy and the cutting itself was curiously satisfying.

  61. Andie
    September 25th, 2006 | 1:35 pm

    I remember having this problem with a number of Latitudes where I used to work. I had forgotten about the problem (and how I fixed it) until I bought myself a second hand C610 which had this problem.

    My solution was similar to yours, but I hate cutting cables I cannot replace, so what I had done was to stick a piece of thin adhesive tape to prevent the conductors from making contact. This had solved the issue. I will give it a go on my new C610 and will let you know how it goes.

  62. Jonas
    September 26th, 2006 | 2:35 pm

    I tried the shielding solution and now my laptop works as it should, with all functions intact!

    “…and the online service manual helped a lot. No screws left over at the end!”

    I really should have lookeds for a service manual. I was pretty convinced that I would never get the thing back together again, but I managed without any parts left over. Quite an adventure :)

  63. Guy
    September 30th, 2006 | 6:13 am

    OMG it worked! I was very sceptic, but because my D800 lattitude was next to useless and the fact that I don’t use the trackpoint thing anyway I didn’t mind giving it a go. I wanted to go for the less destructive instructions but to get to the touchpad is much harder than the back of the keyboard. There were two ribbon cables like Gimbo said. The narrow blue one had 4 wires in it.

    It does feel – as people are saying here – like a new laptop.

    Thanks Gimbo.

  64. Eli
    October 6th, 2006 | 3:13 pm

    I hated cutting the cable as was very skeptical, but amazingly it worked. Thanks for the info.

  65. bob loblaw
    October 7th, 2006 | 9:47 pm

    Too much work for me to disassemble the entire laptop for the shield solution, so I just removed the keyboard assembly. It appears the trackpoint cable is detachable, for me anyways. The ribbon cables all connect to a plug in socket marked “LCD” on the top. I removed that plug, and pried off the hooks on each side of the jack. The trackpoint ribbon cable just came loose at that point and I was able impermenantly disable it.

  66. R Sweet
    October 9th, 2006 | 3:01 pm

    Just cut the cable this morning for my pointer stick on my Latititude D800. Took 5 minutes and ended months on frustration with a drifting mouse. Thanks is not enough. I owe you !!!!!!!

  67. A Cooke
    October 19th, 2006 | 2:30 pm

    This worked on my Inspiron 4100. Thanks very much!

  68. Will Muenchow
    October 20th, 2006 | 10:20 pm

    Cut the cable on a D800 and the drifting has gone away. Question though, in cutting this cable, did it also disable the touchpad from working? I know for a fact that the pointer does not work now, but is the touchpad not suppose to work?

    Answer from Gimbo: I don’t know about the D800; I only know the C600. On the C600, if you cut the right cable, it disables the trackpoint but the touchpad still works.

  69. Rick Forsee
    October 31st, 2006 | 6:32 pm

    I have a Dell D800. Pry up the center control cover on top, remove two screws at top of keyboard, look for blue ribbin that goes to the center of the keyboard, cut it, put it back together, turn on. Works great!!!!!! thank you!!

  70. Hugh
    October 31st, 2006 | 6:39 pm

    Happy Halloween! Woohoo!!!

    Just violently massacred the cable(s) on my 3 year old inspiron 8500. Using hedge clippers and a ballaclava I made it a bit more fun! heheh.

    Take it from the experienced people on this page:


    I had fixed the problem somehow before but couldn’t remember how and the problem just came back out of the blue!
    I have advised many people not to buy dHell cause there is a problem with the batteries, the adapter (which actually has its own driver (that you can’t even access or update!)), the track stick or wotever it’s called, etc. etc.
    Seems dHell just can’t get it right or intentionally sabotage their systems.
    Who ever uses or used the stupid track stick anyway? it’s such a fiddle!
    Anyway, problem solved, moving on to find a way to recalibrate the battery – only lasts about 5 minutes when i pull the plug – any ideas greatly appreciated!
    Happy Halloween everyone! And Dell… go to Hell!

  71. LMo
    November 2nd, 2006 | 10:23 am

    This sure does work…After searching for months through google and yahoo links, i stumbled across this page. Having 2 Dell latitude C610′s here at home (one mine, the other my girlfriends) we frequently had this problem…Anyway, i read some of the positive feedback in the comments (after reading the page and thinking “Nahuh, no way am i doing that, this must be a sick prank”) and decided to go ahead and try it on my C610 before i try it on my girls, and amazingly, after doing as told, the problem stopped with no repercussions!

    I then proceeded to do it to my girls.

    We are both now very happy with our laptops and touchpads, we never used the stick anyway…

    Thanks much for the procedure, it works perfectly!

    -LMo + Vampsy

  72. pointerstickmaniac
    November 4th, 2006 | 4:53 am

    Holy Smokes!!! I just want to say that “MIKKO” (above) is a GENIUS! His posted driver link worked like a charm. It corrected the problem on my D600 almost effortlessly. THANKS.

  73. November 7th, 2006 | 7:34 pm

    Shielding the Bar under the touchpad worked great for me. Now both the button and the touchpad work fine! It was definitly a mechanical problem! Thanks! Oh by the way you can lift up the cover enough just using the P screws, without removing the display cover!

  74. Cam
    November 13th, 2006 | 7:36 pm

    Thanks alot for the fix, the dell c600 is a good laptop and this was my only problem, but now its fixed :) thanks.

  75. Dennis Lew
    November 17th, 2006 | 1:57 am

    I previously tried putting the anti-static material and it worked for a few months, however the problem re-surfaced and again the MOVING POINTER…but then I tried the download of the driver and sofar it has corrected the problem. So easy! Thanks for the tips!

  76. Sanka
    November 24th, 2006 | 4:11 pm

    Hi all, just read all of your comments. Thanks, because I’ll use the “driver” solution asap (Ive got Bills software running). The only problem is that my wife just called me in panic (She’s in Spain today, I’m in Holland) and didn’t know how to continue on our Lattitude C610… Because to get the download you would have to go on the net, and try to do that with only your keyboard… Therefore, a new question: Anybody got some success or experience with turning on and off the pc several times, so the drifting will (at least for some while) stop? That way, I can help my wife by getting the driver in place… Thnks.

  77. acme031
    November 27th, 2006 | 2:00 pm

    I had a diffrent experience all together! I was going crazy with my Inspiron 4000. The pointer was shooting all over the place. Finally I slapped it so hard I broke some keys and gave up and bought a new keyboard, thinking that it was a trackpoint problem. Well, no such luck. After about a week, the demon pointer was back! One day during a particularly violent bashing, I noticed that hitting the top 2 buttons (the clicks you would use if you where a trackpoint user) made it stop. I pried the button off the left clicker and have never had the problem again. It looks a bit funny, but it works a treat!! Hope this might help someone out there.

  78. ruck
    November 29th, 2006 | 6:09 pm

    I understand that gimbo is no longer allowing comments which say “I installed such-and-such-a-driver and it fixed it”.

    FWIW, even for Windows, updated driver (allowing one to disable touchstick) is *not* a perfect solution because the activation of the disabling occurs not at boot but during user login, when touchpad tray icon appears. In other words, touchstick is enabled during boot, and sometimes will interfere with Windows startup. You see blue background, but hear ding-ding-ding-ding… and login panel never shows up.
    (this observed in Windows 2000 Professional)

  79. tomp
    January 23rd, 2007 | 1:04 pm

    It is not so much a ‘shielding’ issue, but rather a ground loop issue. Immediately after I placed insulating plastic and a cloth tape over the small bar under the trackpoint, the bugger worked perfect. I think that even a thin strip of duct tape would even do the trick. Getting to that spot was the real task! Thanks for the great link and tips!!

  80. terry
    January 26th, 2007 | 1:00 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to add to the comments by Tony beelow to be even a bit more specific,

    Tony’s comments copied:

    Hi, gimbo . Had mouse drift problem with my Dell C600. Was getting worse over time. Was going to bite the bullet today by cutting the trackpoint cord as you did but decided to have one more look around on the web.
    I found a software solution. I installed synaptics touchpad driver from :
    After installation i disable the trackpoint in the device settings. No more problems !
    The synaptics software also enable more control for the touchpad aswell”

    Added info from me Terry:

    I have a Latitude c600 with windows xp Professional. Make sure once on the above mentioned site or link for correction you download the windows xp version that also says windows 2000 unless you definetly have the xp version 64.
    Once you download the file and open it you have to click on the setup icon that looks like a “blank rectangle with knobs or dots above.” Double click it, then click run when it asks you if your sure you want to run it. After it installs the new pointing device drivers and after re-starting your computer, it automatically brings up a screen that gives you the option to “Go to the device settings.” Choose it then poroceed to the ‘Device Settings tab in the open window. Select (left click) ‘Yes Pointing Stick—-Ps2′ in the upper open window. After it is obviosly selected (turns dark blue), then select the ‘Disable’ button, then OK to exit.

    No cutting or snipping a clean deal!!

    Blessings, Terry O

  81. JCP
    January 27th, 2007 | 6:46 pm

    Just worked the trackpad fix as described…awesome!

  82. Cronela
    February 2nd, 2007 | 2:15 pm

    Great, saved me from buying a new laptop!!!

  83. Jason
    February 5th, 2007 | 3:47 am

    This worked great and easy to do… I was skeptical and thought it was a joke.. I was going to get a new computer… but no need now.. Thanks.

  84. February 6th, 2007 | 7:04 pm

    Same problem here….
    Will operate tommorrow….drivers won’t help if you run FreeBSD and Linux… :)


  85. Puzhitao
    February 10th, 2007 | 8:55 am

    Many thnaks to Gimbo and all that have posted their comments. i cut it and it works like a dream. just wanted to add a comment. For those that uses synaptics software to solve the problem let it be known that i too solve this using synaptics the first time it occurs. after abt a year, the problem came back, no software can help me this time. luckily i found this web page and the rest is history.

  86. sachibu abdulai
    February 11th, 2007 | 3:14 pm

    i own a dell latitude c600 laptop which experiences mouse driffting when typing at word, it also drifts after booting the system, pse advice on how to solve
    the problem.


  87. February 11th, 2007 | 5:19 pm

    Um… Not sure what to say, Sachibu. Perhaps read the post and the comments and follow the advice contained therein? I personally found the cable-snipping method worked well, though if you’re only using Windows it sounds like the Synaptics drivers might be worth seeking out. But seriously, all of the answers lie above, I think. Good luck!

  88. ryan
    February 11th, 2007 | 9:23 pm

    Does anyone know how to fix a keyboard problem on the C600? My bottom row only works after the computer warms up–I changed keyboards 3 times with BRAND-NEW boards, but the fix only lasts for about a month.

    Thank you also for this forum–I used the snip-snip method to fix my drift problem on the first board (the new boards do not have this problem).

  89. February 13th, 2007 | 4:38 pm

    I was given a Dell C800 (although I think it has a new motherboard from a different model). The mouse would drift, and some keys stopped working. A diagonal line of keys passing through the trackpoint, and once I removed the keyboard the bottom line of keys stopped working.
    I cut the small ribbon to stop the mouse drifting, but it never helped the dead keys. I realised that if I moved the cable I could get the keys to work, so after experimenting I discovered that if I jammed a piece of folded cardboard between the plug for the keyboard and the plug for the trackpad it solved the problem and all the keys are working.

  90. Johannes
    February 14th, 2007 | 12:37 am


    I have had the same problem with keyboard, bought a new old c610 and now the problem is reemerging. Together with the mouse drift.
    I have the feeling that they are have common cause. I am about to try the fix described in Post 22 –

    Good luck

  91. Exo
    February 14th, 2007 | 2:41 pm

    The instructions given on (which shows how to overcome the hardware glitch by inserting the sheilding) has made both my touchpad and nipple work perfectly together!

    I must insist that anyone with this problem should follow those instructions. I literally used a plastic CD wallet for the anti-static sheilding and mine has worked perfect for over a month now.

    Thanks for making this webpage, I wouldn’t have found that link if it weren’t for this page. It’s VERY MUCH appreciated.

  92. kamakazi
    February 27th, 2007 | 5:46 am

    OK, I have to comment at this point. People keep throwing around the words “shielding” and “antistatic” when discussing the laptopsunlimited solution. If the problem is actually mechanical (pressure on the bottom of the pad) then the padding is simply distributing the load more evenly. The problem can’t be static electricity on the metal bridge, because static only collects on an insulator, not a conductor. And finally, DON’T use antistatic material as an electrical insulator! It is designed to conduct electricity, that is how it works. Stuffing chunks of antistatic plastic where they could come in contact with electrical connections, like the bottom of a circuit board, is probably going to cause erratic failures at best. Nitpicking aside, thanks, you guys definitely shortened my investigative work on a possessed latitude C840.

  93. Richard
    March 4th, 2007 | 10:09 pm

    The laptopsunlimited solution worked a treat on my Inspiron 4100, using a piece cut from a plastic carrier bag to make the padding.

    Note for Windows users – I did try the Synaptics driver, but although disabling the touchstick in that way does prevent the drift, the touchpad was still really jittery and unresponsive. Reverting to the standard PS/2 mouse driver and going with the padding has made things as good as new!

  94. March 5th, 2007 | 5:49 pm

    Dude, you, in a word, rule. I’ve been pulling my hair out and almost throwing the damn laptop across the room. My wife even gave it to me and bought a brand new laptop because of it. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  95. Akshay
    March 9th, 2007 | 11:34 am

    Hi, was having the same problems/frustrations with my inspiron 8500. I read through this page, and then spent quite some time on the dell website to try and find a driver for my touchpad so I could disable the track stick. Finally found the Alps driver for my touchpad, installed and disabled the track stick. So far it’s seems to have worked a treat.

    Thanks to everyone for their help!

  96. leecee
    March 9th, 2007 | 4:55 pm

    Wow! Thank you to all of you that have contributed to this long list of ways to fix the crazy cursor! I finally, after weeks of frustration, took apart my latitude c600 and got my handy scissors out and snipped the gold ribbon that goes to the trackpoint.

    I debated whether to do this or not. I tried downloads (several) and none of them were fixing the problem. I took out the handy scissors and in fact, if you cut the gold ribbon that is in the center of the keyboard you will still have a full functioning keyboard and internal touchpad that works.

    You all have been lifesavers and computersavers!

  97. Bob
    March 13th, 2007 | 6:19 pm

    I reinstalled the Dell restore disk to my D800 and the pointer was out of control.
    I guess the previous owner had disabled the track point.
    I cut the cable with 4 wires and all is now back to normal.
    What would we do without the Internet. Thanks guys.

  98. Jeff
    March 14th, 2007 | 1:59 pm

    I wished I would have seen your blog on this before I got so mad I ripped the keybord out and crunched it like a tin can:(

  99. Jim Nigra
    March 17th, 2007 | 11:35 pm

    I just performed the instructions linked in “Update 2006-03-03/2007-02-27″ and it worked perfectly. I agree that antistatic bag is NOT the material to use. I was able to slip a piece of paper in after removing the bottom screws and disk drive only. Prob seems completely corrected. I even tried flexing the laptop.

  100. ab
    March 29th, 2007 | 2:52 am

    thank you, thank you, thank you. IT WORKED

  101. Brian In Minnesota
    April 2nd, 2007 | 10:49 pm

    Ok, I am by no means a computer tech. But my Dell 510/610 Windows 2000 systems has been driving me nuts with the “drifting pointer.” THANK YOU! Literally, it took 10 minutes (if that!) to open the laptop up, clip the ribbon on the trackpoint and save my laptop! Like others have said, it is like a new laptop. You have to try it to believe it. Who would have thought that a computer issue could be resolved so easy. BTW. It felt great to cut that cable! I booted it up…and it works perfectly. Don’t bother searching for drivers! Just cut the darn ribbon! Thanks so much!

  102. Gary
    April 4th, 2007 | 10:55 pm

    The connector, at least on my C840, is two sided. Just unplug the connector and put a small piece of paper on the side associated with the 3-wire connector going to the trackpoint. Works like a charm and the keyboard and pad are unaffected. If I ever decide to try something else I can just pull that small piece of paper out and I’m good to go.

  103. April 12th, 2007 | 5:26 pm

    I used the trick with the antistatic bag on my Dell C600 and IT WORKED.
    Tried before to software disable the trackpoint, but the problem soon reapeared.
    About cutting the ribbon…oh well, that was too radical for me.

  104. April 13th, 2007 | 9:35 pm

    About the antistatic bag: I read comment nr92 and got really concerned about the posibility of breaking my laptop; so, I took the rest of the bag and measured its electrical resistance using my multimeter. The verdict: it does not conduct electricity on either side, and it is without any doubt antistatic material (it came with my motherboard and it’s labeled as antistatic)
    So, it should be safe to use in my opinion, at least this kind of material.

  105. James
    April 23rd, 2007 | 5:22 am

    I just wanted to thank Tony(post 12) and Terry (post 80)for their workaround. It’s working AWESOME for me and didn’t require opening of the case. Try this first. If it doesn’t work, try the other..

  106. Nathan
    April 25th, 2007 | 12:45 am

    Every dell laptop I have ever used has this problem. I am so glad to have solved it. Both of them that I dissembled had 4 wires, but I just cut them all off. This worked on a Latitude D610 and another Dell as well.

  107. Brian
    April 26th, 2007 | 10:13 pm

    Comment 92 needs to be omitted from this site forever! As a computer engineer who did use a anti-static bag to fix this horrible affliction, I can tell you that it should be obvious to the most casual of observers that if #92 were true, we would not be putting electrostatic devices in them to PROTECT them from static discharge in the first place. Comment 104 is right on!!!

  108. April 29th, 2007 | 12:03 pm

    A way to fix this problem *without* installing drivers AND *without* opening up your case BUT it means your trackpad is not usable.

    Go to the BIOS -> Change mouse type to SERIAL/disable mouse/use whatever option you find here. -> Ensure USB is still enabled. -> Plug in your USB mouse. -> Bingo

  109. Witchaven
    May 2nd, 2007 | 12:51 am

    Just fixed this problem on my borthers C600. It’s not neccessary to actually cut the cable. You can do the following instead:

    - unplug the connector (that the two ribbon cables connect to) from the motherboard
    - open up the connector (clips on each end of the plug) and remove the smaller ribbon cable from the plug
    - re-assemble the plug so that only the large ribbon cable is inserted
    - plug the connector back to the motherboard

    Although this involves a few additional steps, it does mean you can undo the job if it turns out the trackpoint was not the cause of the problem, e.g. if it was the touchpad instead.

  110. Casey
    May 9th, 2007 | 12:39 am

    Thank you!! Thank you!!! I have been searching everywhere and thought it was a software issue. I went and bought an external drive to back up everything and a copy of xp because I was going to just wipe out everything. Luckily I found your post…Worked like a charm and super EASY!!!!

  111. Aniruddha
    May 9th, 2007 | 7:16 am

    I agree with Witchhaven. I have done the same thing. Only instead of opening up the connector I used ‘brute force’ to pull the small ribbon cable out.

  112. Colin
    May 19th, 2007 | 6:13 pm

    Damn it Gimbo, you’re a genius. I too thought about disassembling the connector but hadn’t read the most recent posts about it. In any event the rush I got cutting that gold flex cable was worth it!! :-)

    Works like a dream and the piece of snipped flex cable is now hanging on the wall as a memory of all the bad times….

    One of my colleagues suffered the same problem and it cost him £140 for a new keyboard (/me smirks!)

    May 26th, 2007 | 7:04 pm

    Its GRE8T, Its resolve my prob too. But no need 2 cut the cable just pull the connector and detach the Trackpoint cable.

  114. gldearman
    June 6th, 2007 | 10:19 pm

    Thanks a ton — not only for providing a solution, but not being a Windows user. It’s tough finding help troubleshooting when everyone just says, “Install the new XP drivers.”
    I got a used C810 at auction, tried to use it with Puppy Linux, and the spooky pointer was driving me nuts — and rendering the computer unusable. Then, I found this page. I’m not a sledgehammer kind of guy, so I followed dtw’s advice (reply #52). I put the following line in my xorg.conf file, under the section in Input Devices for the touchpad (“Synaptics Mouse”):

    Option “GuestMouseOff” “true”

    It didn’t work — at first. Then, I realized that there was another input device, Mouse0, listed above the touchpad in the file. So, I inserted the following line into the section for the touchpad:

    Option “CorePointer”

    Since then, the touchpoint doesn’t work, the touchpad does, and no spooky pointer. Couldn’t have done it without this page! Thanks!

  115. malouin
    June 11th, 2007 | 9:09 pm

    Thanks very much! My mouse doesn’t drift anymore with the cable cut on my old C600. And my keyboard is working perfectly again. A litlle clean up is alwalys helpful…

  116. tim
    June 14th, 2007 | 10:14 pm

    No drift, touchpad works fine – thanks.

    Running Ubuntu 6.06LTS

  117. Nicole
    June 20th, 2007 | 3:08 am

    I have a Dell Inspiron 8500 which I use heavily for work – both at the office and on the road – and have been dogged by this same drifting cursor issue for over two years. When this computer was under Dell’s Gold Warranty program, their techical folks helped me disable the eraserhead mouse (aka “trackpoint mouse”). They also worked with me to reinstall the mouse drivers . Though this helped with the problem, it never totally went away and recently the problem has become completely disabling – that cursor will just drift and will start selecting from various menus (largely associated with the lower lefthand or upper righthand corner)with any pressure on the keyboard. Yesterday I was convinced that the best use of my computer would be as a frisbee or perhaps a hockey puck. The computer has also been thoroughly cleaned of viruses, spyware, trojans, etc.

    Knowing that the fix to this problem was going to be rather complicated and perhaps not logical, I tried working through our company help desk and then independent service techniciens in my area. But in each case it was pretty clear that none had an adequate grasp of the root of this problem to deal with it properly. Frustrated and ready to punt and buy a new computer, I searched around the web for some last straw and found your posting that suggested cutting or disabling the trackpoint cable. Given my experience with this secondary mouse control earlier, it made perfect sense to me to go this route.

    I engaged my mechanical engineer husband and his handy set of tiny screw drivers earlier this evening. Though not a computer geek, his computer expertise derives directly from disassembling his toys as a child – pretty handy stuff really. Though getting behind the keyboard on my computer proved a bit more complicated, we eventually found our way there. The narrower (and in my case blue) ribbon was found and just disconnected – we just pulled it from the connector that attaches the keyboard ribbons to the main computer frame.

    I am so thrilled to report that this fix appears perfect, stable, and bomb proof. It certainly saved us a good chunk of money and perhaps even the cost of buying a new computer. Thanks for this GREAT advice!!

  118. June 21st, 2007 | 9:06 pm

    Hi there,

    I’ve fixed in a different way, no software, no cutting.

    1. Remove battery for safety
    2. Remove 5 K screws and push keyboard out (keep hard disk, keep centre control cover)
    3. You’ll see the double flat-cable for keyboard and track stick: don’t cut it, disconnect it from the base
    4. The female connector in the base have two sides, one big (keyboard) and three small (stick in the centre, two unused)
    5. Put a small isolation tape covering the small centred (five pins) connector.
    6. Connect the cable again, close the laptop and happy padding.

  119. Bob Creacy
    July 1st, 2007 | 3:47 am

    Thanks guys,
    Nothing else I found on the web even addressed this issue on my C610__it was so very bad that i nearly threw the laptop across the library several times. The original onslaught began when I loaded XP in place of the original W2K Pro installation 6 months ago.

    Switching to a PsP2 optical mouse I had laying about ‘solved’ the problem. THEN i got a legitimate XP Pro SP2 o/s, and it all started again WITH the same mouse!! I have been reading your site and am not doing the cable nip bit YET, but will try the drivers first. Will fill you in later!!
    Thanks again,
    Bob Creacy

  120. Kristian Glass
    July 1st, 2007 | 8:26 pm

    Just to add, another success story (though I desoldered the cable, just in case, and wrapped in insulating tape).

    Many thanks

  121. Debora
    July 5th, 2007 | 6:07 pm

    I am so glad to have found this page. I LOVE my dell, but this drifting cursor problem has been driving me nuts. I had originally thought it might be a virus. I also worried that my constant pounding of the laptop on a hard surface (a fix that was working with decreasing effectiveness) would eventually damage something vital. I cart my laptop around in a padded case quite a bit and had noticed that the float always seemed to happen (and was most severe) after the laptop had spent some time in a non-horizontal position. Then I realized that it was occuring after the laptop got “flexed” in any fashion. It became clear that it had to do with the trackpoint (eraser mouse control) but I still didn’t know how to resolve. Since I have XP, I am going to try the driver fix first, but if that doesn’t work, I’m scheduling my laptop for “surgery”.

  122. Eric
    July 21st, 2007 | 11:20 am

    I have found a software solution to disabled TrackPoint (not the touchpad). If trackpoint is disabled, the mouse not drift.

    I have a D800 latitude but i think it is the same problem for others (kernel linux 2.6.21).
    I see that the /dev/input/mice is use for trackpoint and other mice (like USB mice).
    The trackpoint device is (for my computer) /dev/input/mouse1 (only trackpoint)
    The USB mouse is /dev/input/mouse3
    So in the Xorg.conf file i just replace /dev/input/mice by /dev/input/mouse3 in core pointer section (Mouse0).

    I hope this solution can be help you.

    Extract of my xorg.conf file :

    Section "ServerLayout"
    	Identifier     "single head configuration"
    	Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    	InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    #	InputDevice    "TrackPoint" "AlwaysCore" #disable Trackpoint
    	InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    	InputDevice    "TouchPad" "AlwaysCore"
    Section "InputDevice"
    	Identifier  "Mouse0"
    	Driver      "mouse"
    	Option	    "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
    	Option	    "Device" "/dev/input/mouse3"
    	Option	    "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
    	Option	    "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
    Section "InputDevice"
    	Identifier  "TrackPoint"
    	Driver      "mouse"
    	Option	    "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
    	Option	    "Device" "/dev/input/mouse1"
    	Option	    "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
    	Option	    "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
    Section "InputDevice"
    	Identifier  "TouchPad"
    	Driver      "synaptics"
    	Option	    "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    	Option	    "SHMConfig" "on"
    	Option	    "SendCoreEvents" "false"
    	Option	    "GuestMouseOff" "True"
    	Option	    "Protocol" "auto-dev"
    	Option	    "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
    	Option	    "LeftEdge" "120"
    	Option	    "RightEdge" "830"
    	Option	    "TopEdge" "120"
    	Option	    "BottomEdge" "650"
    	Option	    "FingerLow" "14"
    	Option	    "FingerHigh" "15"
    	Option	    "MaxTapMove" "110"
    	Option	    "VertScrollDelta" "20"
    	Option	    "HorizScrollDelta" "20"
    	Option	    "MinSpeed" "0.3"
    	Option	    "MaxSpeed" "0.75"
  123. July 27th, 2007 | 2:46 pm

    i had the ecact same problem and i fixed it by doing this: when the dell loades up on start press f2 and that should take you to setup press alt+p untill you see something to do with a mouse (cant remember what it said) the only way round this is to use a plug and play mouse so select that from the options you have (if it doesnt work the first time you try go back and choose another one (there should be 3 choices)) and if you picked the corrct one your mouse should stop drifing away but you will have to use the mouse you instred because the touchpad and the purple thing in the middle are disabled

  124. July 27th, 2007 | 2:49 pm

    oh and i do use windows xp sp2

  125. linque
    August 2nd, 2007 | 12:30 am

    I was in the same boat. I’m running Ubuntu 7.04, and probably could have disabled it in Xorg.conf (reading posts from above), but I had already taken the keyboard off, and since it was malfunctioning anyway I figured I would fix it permanently. I have a Latitude C810 which has one main ribbon cable that plugs into the main board, and a smaller silver ribbon cable that plugs into the main cable. After straining by eyes, I realized that the main connector (the black piece that plugs into the mainboard) could be taken apart, and the smaller ribbon cable could be easily pulled out without cutting. There are two pull-back tabs on each of the narrow sides of the main connector. If you have a small optical screwdriver or something similar, stick it between the tab and the connector block and you should see how it comes apart. Do the same on the other side, and the small ribon cable can be removed.

    Put it all back together, and you’ll have a non-functioning pointer stick (trackpoint), but a fully funtional touchpad(mouse buttons too)!

    Thank you Gimbo, and fellow posters for helping me!

  126. Bryan
    August 7th, 2007 | 8:56 pm

    What more can I say? Everything has already been said. Ran into this article well over a year ago. Didn’t take the time to fix it as I got another laptop pushed my way. Used the old one just for audio streaming, so I rarely had to touch it.

    Today I fixed it, not using the scissor but unplugging the cable from the connector, as others before me. Working on the laptop now and it is a kind of spooky, eerie. I am expecting the mouse to drift any moment now, but it simply won’t!

    And yes, I got a new laptop in say, under 7 minutes of fixing. God, I love it. Running several flavours of Linux btw. To think that this could have been fixed over a year ago…

    Thanks, thanks, a thousand times thanks

  127. August 15th, 2007 | 10:32 pm

    well i dont run linux but my c610 has exhibited the same symptoms for over a year now, i found a replacement palmrest with trackpad on ebay and used the links in you article to get the repair manual. thanks 2000lbs (a ton) i am now drift free weeeeeeeee.

  128. Lennart
    August 19th, 2007 | 9:58 am

    Just fixed it like described in +109, worked like a charm. I had some problems loosing the screws, since they where screwed in quite tight. Anyway, unglugged the connector, removed the ribbon cable from the trackpoint and reassembled the connector. I taped off the Trackpoint connector to prevent shorts and reassembled the keyboard and HDD. Thank you very much, now I can run Gentoo without that fucking drift. :)

  129. rev_neil
    September 3rd, 2007 | 1:35 am

    “It’s a hardware problem, cut the cable from the trackpoint if you don’t use it” your a @#%@%%! Legend. this has Pissed me off for Ages and took 5 min..


  130. September 10th, 2007 | 12:48 am

    Just got this used laptop and installed Ubuntu. This fixed the wonky mouse! Thanks!

  131. Peach
    September 12th, 2007 | 1:30 pm

    That works really well – I knew it was the trackpoint, but couldn’t work out how to remove the keyboard.

    It’s been driving me NUTS over the last year or so!

  132. Randal
    September 18th, 2007 | 12:01 am

    THANK YOU TONY!!! Tony posted, on January 2nd, a way to download something to fix this problem with the drifting mouse instead of cutting cables and it worked like a charm. I am so relieved that I can type papers now and not have to constantly look at the screen wondering where my mouse had moved to. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  133. Peter
    September 20th, 2007 | 7:06 pm

    Wow, it feels so wierd typing on my computer and not having the mouse start freaking out. great! thanks for the fix

  134. September 22nd, 2007 | 3:12 pm

    Thanks Gimbo for your trick; it’s a bit of “brute force” but in this case it was ok. I have a Dell D800 and suffered the same drift trackpoint problem; I’m using Ubuntu Linux so I’m not aware of any solution for just disabling the trackpoint as in Windows with Synaptic drivers.

    I followed your suggestions, together with the on-line service manual of D800, and cut the trackpoint flat cable. Now my laptop is back to normal life… :-)

  135. matty
    September 26th, 2007 | 2:24 pm

    Just had to say THANK YOU Gimbo for saving my laptop from the dreaded Wandering Cursor Syndrome! I bought my laptop for £50 and it was working great apart from the WCS which nearly drove me into the loony bin. Found your site and got the scissors out and now all is well in my world and it made my wife think I was proper important and knowledgeable doing “stuff” to the inside of the laptop, which by the way I claimed to have figured out myself :) Thanks again and I’m bookmarking your site for further useful stuff.

  136. Michelle
    September 26th, 2007 | 5:17 pm

    Fab!!! Worked like a dream, much thanks, can return to normality again. Just bought my laptop for £190 and Matty you got a bargin at £50, but I aint complaining just got a cheesy smile on my face – a bit of face glide/drift, I look a bit like the ‘Joker’. Again THANK YOU!

  137. Dan
    September 28th, 2007 | 12:29 am

    Nicolle #117 was right on – no need to snip a cable – I have a Dell inspiron 8200 – just remove the “K’ screws from the bottom which will release the keyboard and you will see 2 ribbon cables – one fat about 1 inch and another very slim about 1/4 inch (mine is blue) Just disconnect the whole connector and only replace the fat ribbon cable. Put tape over the blue connector and reassemble. No need to snip – you may need tweezers and another set of hands – took me about 10 minutes.

  138. Phil
    October 1st, 2007 | 5:21 am

    Great resource! I’m running Gutsy Gibbon beta on a C600 and the mouse drift was TERRIBLE! I had it fixed when the last owner had it in windows using the driver, but I knew there had to be something in Linux….guess qsynaptics needs a new option….I broke down tonight and pulled the machine apart. Since I didn’t want to cut the cable, I used a small plastic cutout and put it between the metal bridge and touchpad board. Voila! No more drift! This is much better than using my trackball and disabling the touchpad. Or trying to figure out what option needs to be enabled in xorg.conf (Nothing suggested here worked, by the way). This is a permanent fix that will last in any OS I install. Not that hard of a fix, I just had to remember what screws went where and how I took it apart in the first place. Now everything’s working the way it’s supposed to be! Great leads from everyone!

  139. Lee Raven
    October 3rd, 2007 | 9:24 pm

    Yep, I was ready to bin my C610 with the drifting pointer, followed the instructions, (disconnecting the smaller cable rather than cutting it) worked like a dream. All I need to do now is figure out if the intermittent fault with my CD-ROM is the drive or the back connector on the laptop. Oh and get a new battery

    Thanks a million for this information

  140. kike
    October 7th, 2007 | 11:39 pm

    Hi sir, i am having an issue here with my dell latitude c610. for
    some reason i lost the keyboard configuration i was using. for example all simbols above the numbers
    are no longer matching what is printed on the board….hope u can help

  141. Bango
    October 9th, 2007 | 4:00 pm

    YOU GUYS SAVED MY LIFE!!! I was about reinstall my o/s thinking if I didn’t zoom in on the problem, that should fix it. I was beyond chicken to open my laptop…(as my curiosity had broken a latitude 4000 some months ago…still mourning). But after trying to use the pointer thingy…it was the only way to get the pointer to sit still…I realized how much sense your tactic made…so I grew the cojones and held my breath. Although I didn’t cut the cable and juz disconnected it from the m/b…it worked like a charm and only took me about…um…7 minutes…YOU ROCK!!!

  142. andrew
    October 16th, 2007 | 11:08 am

    thank you thank you thank you, i was going nuts till i found your web site, did what you suggested, no problem, just wished i’d found it months ago.

    thanks again

  143. Mike
    October 20th, 2007 | 7:29 am

    It was easy to remove the 5 keyboard screws marked with a circled K on the bottom of the C600 I now have from our company auction. But I’d say that for many folks removing the connector and pulling out the stick’s flex circuit is dangerous enough to the connector that just cutting it is a better plan. When is the last time you’ve ever seen anyone use the stick on a laptop? Anyway, after building a few hundred laptops my self I didn’t like the idea of cutting the flex circuit, but now that I’ve seen how it’s attached to the connector I have changed my mind. It’s too big of a gamble to damage the connector that I guarantee Dell won’t have around to sell you. Cut the flippin’ thing and move on :) P.S. I disconnected mine instead of cutting it, as I have worked with these type of flex circuit connectors for 15 years.

  144. Bob
    October 21st, 2007 | 11:34 pm

    30 miles out to sea on a desert island with my Dell laptop, cursor going berserk and a imminent deadline. Using a Dr. Strangelove technique that required both hands to control the cursor, I stumbled through my Bios and Device Mgr. with no luck in turning the damn track stik off. Finally stumbled into your website and subsequently the C 840 Dell repair manual for appropriate keyboard removal instruction. Thanks for giving me a shot of courage to perform the much needed appendectomy. I will never miss the wretched little device and me and my laptop are sane again.

  145. javier
    November 30th, 2007 | 4:06 am

    thank you very much for the information. i have a dell inspiron 8100 i pulled the keyboard out which are only 4 k screws pulled the keyboard and did not cut the cable for the tracking ball but i only pulled it out where it is connected. you do not neet do cut it this way you can always put it back. thanx again for the infot it is now working fine.i was just about to punch my 8100 dell inspiron. thanx

  146. amy
    December 9th, 2007 | 12:33 am

    i can’t believe i just opened my confuser with a screwdriver, let alone cut something inside it, but after severeal beers and a few choccy biscuits for courage i did it and it worked – yaaaayyy!! Screw that ugly purple nipple – it is dead! Thanks all for the knowledge and the faith.

  147. amy
    December 9th, 2007 | 12:34 am

    PS that was a Dell C600 and i have *no knowledge* of the inside of computers whatsoever, but the instructions are perfect.

  148. tchanta
    December 9th, 2007 | 4:21 am

    This forum saved my life and my marriage. I bought a C610 laptop on Ebay. Soon the mouse was possessed by a devil. After 3 months of suffering I googled and stumbled on this forum. I installed Synaptics driver and Bingo!

  149. johnatremble
    December 13th, 2007 | 9:54 am

    Worked for me with an Inspiron 4100!

    FYI mine is a ribbon cable, dual homed into a single attatchment onto the mobo, just cut the smaller of the two ribbons and hey presto no more nipple drift!

  150. YAKKman
    December 22nd, 2007 | 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the tip. I have a D800 and the NOTHING worked (touchpad or pointer). Removed the keyboard and clipped the track point cable. I figured I had nothing to loose anyway. DUDE, IT WORKED! I not have a working touchpad. Thanks a bunch.

  151. Kevin
    December 28th, 2007 | 3:04 pm

    Hey Guys. Merry Christmas.

    I recently switched to Ubuntu on my Dell D600, and this problem popped up. I had the same problem when I was running XP, but the synaptics software disabled the trackpoint. To fix it in Linux, I used your “snip the cable” procedure, and it worked perfectly. It’s an easier fix on the D600, because you don’t have to unscrew the underside screws. You just pop up the cover between the monitor and they keyboard (after removing the hard drive, battery, and power cable, of course), and then remove two keyboard screws to pull up the keyboard. I then snipped the thin cable from the trackpoint, put everything back together, and the problem is gone.

    Thanks again!

  152. Foof
    December 29th, 2007 | 1:53 am

    Dell Inspiron 8000. Running on Windows XP. Annoying pointer drift either towards top right corner or bottom left corner depending on its mood that day. Been wrestling with this problem for the last 2-3 years. Became unbearable 3 days ago. Installed Synaptics driver and disabled the trackpoint. Worked for all of 1 day and then pointer became crazy again. Yesterday, cut the trackpoint cable (only 2 cables beneath keyboard, cut the narrow all silver one). Am posting this in case you, like me, have reservations about cutting the trackpoint cable. My words of advice… gird up your loins and CUT, CUT, CUT!!! My almost 7 year old notebook is near perfect again. Thanks Gimbo!! Now to figure out what is wrong with my internal speakers :)

  153. mj
    January 5th, 2008 | 6:09 am

    What driver did you use for the Ispiron 8000 running XP, because everything I search says there isn’t one.
    It hasn’t worked since I upgraded from 2000 and I have to use an external PS/2. Would love to get the touchpad back…willing to cut anything (well just about)

  154. Orf
    January 9th, 2008 | 1:09 pm

    Choking back the tears of gratitude… Just 2 screws to undo on a Latitude D400, and no need to cut the cable. Removed the keyboard and simply slid the touch stick flat cable out of the connector at the motherboard end. Genius.

  155. Chiel
    January 22nd, 2008 | 12:33 pm

    I got so pissed about my old C600 that I bought a new notebook. And no Dell this time.
    But now my new Hp suddenly died I got my C600 back from an old box.
    If my mouse gets drunk again I’ll try this fix.
    Thanks I was looking 4 this one 4 a long time.

  156. Mario
    January 30th, 2008 | 8:16 am

    #12, Tony, thank you! I can’t tell you how maddening it’s been having to deal with the drifting pointer. My method of stopping the never ending drift (which made my mouse useless) was to actually grab the laptop on each side and flex it like a piece of exercise equipment. No joke, either. I’d just keep flexing it until I got it to stop or at least come to an extremely slow drift, which would stop after I’d start using the mouse. I’ve been living with it for a pretty long time, now. It’s pretty much made my laptop a stationary unit, not being very portable at all, because if I moved it, the pointer would sail. Anyway, that Synaptics driver worked like a mother lovin’ charm. I’m ecstatic! I downloaded and installed the driver (for XP, which is what I’m using on my C610). Then, when I restarted my machine, the Synaptics driver screen popped up. Right from that first screen that popped up, I just selected the pointing stick/ps2 and then clicked to disable it. I clicked apply and…tuhduh, my drifting pointer no longer drifts! I’ve fully flexed my keyboard and it just won’t misbehave anymore! Great, great, great! I’m glad that I found this website. I originally thought it was my touchpad, but you geniuses figured out that it was the pointing stick. So, not only did I find the driver program (Synaptics) to affect the touchpad/stick, but I learned which one to disable. I’ve been searching how to disable the touchpad, thinking I could easily live without it, since I’m mainly a mouse man (but not exclusively), but now I don’t even have to! I never even used that stick, so having it disabled is not a problem.

    Thanks again, all of you. This has been a wonderful night!

  157. Ed
    January 31st, 2008 | 12:40 am

    Thanks for the input. I have a Precision M60 and I figured out how to take off my keyboard and find the strip to cut. Worked perfect.

  158. Julie
    February 2nd, 2008 | 3:43 am

    Dell Latitude D800 – Cutting of the ribbon…. AWESOME. I have found this website a couple of times, but being the “professional” tech that I am and not wanting to start cutting cables in my cient’s laptop, I have tried all of the other drivers, solutions, BIOS changes … new laptop choices are very limited due to his software and serial port needs. So now the third time my client brought his laptop back to me for the “floating” mouse driving him insane and after a LONG day myself, snip, snip and no more drifting mouse, touchpad mouse working great, I’m happy, client’s happy. Thanks!

  159. Denny
    February 17th, 2008 | 9:28 pm

    Dell Latitude C600 cutting Trackpointer ribbon was right on target and very quick PERMANENT resolution to this problem.

  160. Greg
    February 18th, 2008 | 6:28 pm


  161. Tim Brannon
    February 20th, 2008 | 3:13 am

    Well, I decided to go with the Computers Unlimited fix using the plastic shield. I read post #92 about the conductive anti-static bag possibly being a problem, but I also worried that an ordinary plastic bag might melt if the laptop case got really hot. My solution was to use a piece cut from a plastic “roasting bag” like you use to cook the Thanksgiving turkey! These are made to withstand high temperatures and are not electrically conductive. It does involve the extra work of removing the laptop screen.
    So far the fix is working perfectly; the mouse pointer cannot be made to drift by pressing on the palm rest. And the track stick still works, though I don’t use it either.
    Running Ubuntu 7.10

  162. Chuck
    February 24th, 2008 | 8:47 pm

    If you are not wanting to cut the cable or even open the laptop up, here is a fix.
    The problem is a weak frame case!!! And pedending on how you grab or twist your device, it will in time develope this drift from a loose connection that gets corrected by cutting the cable,,,,,or just grab you device by oppossing corners and twist gentle. Your mouse will stop hunting and obey your commands until you mistwist it again. Or can get it open and tightening and clean all connections.

  163. February 25th, 2008 | 5:48 pm

    Hello Guys.
    Iam using Dell C-600 whose battery life is less than 10 minutes,despite keeping it charged for a day. Also my computer is too slow to boot up. Can you guys help me out. I am using Windows XP as O/S.
    Thank you in advance

  164. denis
    March 1st, 2008 | 3:59 pm

    Dude, you rock!
    I was twisting and turning the frame of the dammned thing for years. I always had to put a book under the darn laptop to get at least decent mouse interaction. But with a simple snip it’s again working 100% for me!

  165. Rick Miller
    March 4th, 2008 | 10:19 pm

    Thanks for your solution. I snipped the cable and it works great. Now I’ll have to go buy a frisbee since the laptop will stay in computing service.

  166. Lotte
    March 19th, 2008 | 5:04 pm

    Many thanks for the fantastic advice! My pregnant girlfriend can now work trouble free, without getting very angry about her alien mouse happenings! “D800 snip the blue cable tricks rule!!!”

  167. Fazza
    April 1st, 2008 | 3:53 pm

    I know a million people have already thanked you but i had to leave my thanks.
    Your step by step guide was perfect. I was actually in PC world this morning telling them about this drifting problem and they were willing to sell me all kinds of stuff for ludicrous money.
    You saved the life of my lap top.
    Cheers mate!!

  168. Theodore Kilgore
    April 14th, 2008 | 10:44 pm

    In a Dell support forum, I found the comment that the refresh rate of the mouse needs to be doubled, and it cures the problem. So, on an old Latitude C600 which I recently acquired, I tried

    gpm -s 200 -m /dev/psaux -t ps2

    and it seems to work just fine.

  169. captainK
    May 5th, 2008 | 6:57 pm

    Thanks to the author, it works, on a Dell C600/C650. Unscrew the “K” screws, remove the power button plastic bar, between the keyboard and the screen by gently lifting the right corner, remove the keyboard. There is one connector to the MB with two flat cables, one wide and one narrow. I opted to unsolder the narrow cable at the pointing stick, and then taped the loose end. Re-assemble.

    IMPORTANT, personally, I would do this as your last option, after all other fixes have been tried, ie, BIOS updating, BIOS settings, drivers, and conflicting hardware settings.

    For me, after trying everything and being a techie, I was pretty sure this was the fix. The fix at was NOT considered because I did not have the “symptoms” described there. My laptop would exhibit the drifting cursor as soon as the laptop started booting and plugging a USB mouse ALWAYS temporarily fixed the problem.


  170. Arnie
    May 11th, 2008 | 5:48 pm

    Thank you so much for this fix. I have a Dell C840 and have had this problem on and off for months. I considered the software fix, but since I don’t even use the track stick, I opted for the sure and permanent fix of cutting the thin blue ribbon. It worked perfectly and now I have my laptop back from the demon that possessed it.
    By the way, my laptop only had 4 K screws and I did not have to remove the hard drive. The keypad removed by prying up the right side by the up, down, sideways arrows and then pulling the whole keypad slightly to the right to slide it out.
    Once again, thanks so much for the fix!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  171. Stephen
    May 13th, 2008 | 4:47 pm

    My C810 started drifting slightly recently, until a few days ago when it was going crazy – vertical drifting was driving me nuts! Have now disconnected the nubbin from the keyboard connector and taped up the contacts. Problem solved! Just waiting for my shiny new battery!

  172. May 15th, 2008 | 5:52 pm



  173. PeterB
    May 28th, 2008 | 6:49 pm

    I’ve just done open heart surgery on a dell c610 and used the antistatic plastic under the bridge. Using the dell service manual and about an hour, I’ve now a laptop that works as it should.

    I’m using fedora 9 so the synaptic drivers held no appeal.

    FANTASTIC well done laptopsunlimited for a clear well illustrated solution.

    :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

  174. RosieP
    June 4th, 2008 | 9:57 am

    Thank you, thank you! You have just saved my ancient Dell Latitude C500 from going in the dustbin!! Even though it’s elderly and runs on Win98SE I hated to see it go. I never use the trackpoint anyway so I’m not too worried about losing it. The trackpoint hasn’t functioned properly for years anyway.

    If anyone else is using this fix on a C500, the cables are both an orange colour, and there IS a third cable that snakes off to the side. The cable to cut is the thinner of the two ribbon cables, which sits on top of the wider ribbon cable.

  175. DD
    June 16th, 2008 | 4:17 am

    Hey omg i was gonna try this but i was like i should just try taking my touchpiont off and blowing on the inside first so it did and the drifting is gone (so u should try that before u cut ne cables just to be safe) =]

  176. cenoxo
    June 22nd, 2008 | 6:12 pm

    (Hats off to gimbo for starting this discussion.)

    I had a serious mouse drifting problem on a Dell Latitude C600 laptop, but with the added complication that an external PS2 mouse was also connected.

    Cutting a cable — Um, was that the red wire or the blue wire? — always seems risky and offers no easy retreat. Witchaven’s post 109 about pulling out the trackpoint cable from the keyboard connector that plugs into the motherboard was safer, and it worked fine for me.

    The fact that Linux and Windows users encounter drifting seems to indicate that this is a hardware problem, not just software. FWIW to fellow Windows users, I tried the Synaptics driver fix in post 12 that lets you disable the Touchpoint and keep using the Touchpad. It worked until I reconnected the external PS2 mouse and the drifting started again (changing the BIOS settings didn’t help.)

  177. July 22nd, 2008 | 2:19 am

    Dell Latitude C600 with a Sledgehammer
    i have a c610 and the info given is a little different but it WORKED not 50% but…. 100%
    thank you
    but i still put my finger on the button.
    trying to change my habits

  178. Jonathan
    August 6th, 2008 | 4:07 am

    Used this technique on my Dell Inspiron 4000 and it worked great.

  179. tom akkermans
    August 10th, 2008 | 10:57 am

    i have the c600, and okay its an old laptop but still useful, except for this problem which is now solved.
    thanks man!

  180. Jonathan
    August 10th, 2008 | 3:25 pm

    I had this problem for years. Ive only just fixed it, and what a relief. After browsing hundreds of sites for solutions that didnt work, I eventually found one that did. Though drastic I now have no more problems with the touchpad.

    The site I found claimed that the problem was do to too much information simultansously coming from the touchpad and the trackstick. If it were the case I think you would be able to sovle the problem with a software upgrade of either the bios or the driver, but since Id done that a million times before I ignored it. The solutions however I took note of. One solution was to cut the small cable the connects the track stick to the mother board, the other was to lay a pice of static resistant piece of plastic beneath the touchpad between the metal braces that holds it in place. The site also mentioned that the porblem is due to the fact that this metal brace ocasionally touches or gets too cloase to the touchpad and hence causes interferance. I placed a large static-resistant 3.5 inch hardrve plastic packaging in between the two to stop this, and also cut the cable as I have almost never used the track stick. Ever since then Ive had no problems. Thogh the advice I give may seem drastic I assure it has worked for me and is now I breeze to work with my laptop.

  181. August 13th, 2008 | 9:21 am

    Thanks to the this site and to
    for giving me the fix.

    I used the Dell service manual, which is available via your service tag from Dells support site, to dismantle the portable and I put a small piece of ordinary white paper under the metal bridge.

    Interesting how the piece of protective foam has become conductive.
    Bacteria have coated the foam over the years and they produce a biofilm on the surface. When the foam is compressed onto the electronics this alters the conductivity of the surface of the foam and so interferes with the hardware.
    I’ve seen a similar effect in aging hand-held remote controls for televisions and video recorders. :-)

  182. August 16th, 2008 | 1:42 am

    I do not have a C600, but I have an Inspiron 8200 with the same problem. The problem is easily solved if you use a USB mouse and set the Pointer to “Serial” in the BIOS. The BIOS settings are available by pressing F2 upon startup. Just use Alt+P to find the page that has the pointer opitons; select SERIAL don’t select PS/2 or PS/2 + Touchpad. Then, your USB mouse will function and the touchpad and trackpoint won’t bother you. I use the Logitech VX Nano and you wouldn’t even know that I had a wireless dongle. It only sticks out around 1/4″ from the USB port.

    If my USB ports ever have a problem, I’m pretty much screwed though. :-(

  183. August 25th, 2008 | 11:45 pm

    worked like a charm, thanks a bunch man! Ordering a new keyboard for my c600 as i type anyway though.

  184. September 4th, 2008 | 3:34 pm

    I only have this to say – you’re a genius and thank you. I can’t tell you the satisfaction I felt snipping the lifeline to that terminally irritating and badly designed function of Dells, but that it boardered on gleeful revenge.

  185. CJ
    September 9th, 2008 | 7:11 pm

    To Matt W. Entry #182 of 08-16-08

    Nice Work! It worked just like you said.

  186. fallsoff
    September 10th, 2008 | 6:48 pm

    i dual boot a Dell C610 between PCLOS 2007 [Linux] and XP Pro. The cusrsor float or skitter totally ruined the experience with this laptop for 2 years. I finally bit the bullet and cut the cable, [I have 2_1 broad and 1 narrow], under the keyboard and solved the problem in both OSes! I resisted that for over a year__[unresolved fears being a constant companion here!!]. It was an awful year!

    Turning off the ‘eraser’ in Control Panel is futile, as it resets itself repeatedly and inevitably. External mice help a it, but the issue always reasserts. Different Dell and Synaptic drivers do not resolve this issue for very long.

    Only the scissors cured the issue and restored my sanity!

  187. fallsoff
    September 10th, 2008 | 6:51 pm

    ‘permanently’ is an accidental inclusion to my handle. The other issue is that the trackpad jumps typing all over the map. This too destroys the utility and pleasure of using the Dell C610.
    [an aside]

  188. Nicholas
    September 12th, 2008 | 3:47 pm

    Not trying to be a smart allec, but I have worked in IT as a Senior Systems Administrator for the past 5 years and came across this issue quite a few times. The easiest non-cable cutting solution on any OS is to simply take the pointer pad off.. The little blue foam thing in the center of the keyboard will come off if you pull it. This foam cover thing is whats causing the problem as it gets stuck occasionally to the keys. If you have a newer model, D620 and above Dell has changed it from foam to rubber, but it still has the same issue on occasion. It too can be removed.

    Just thought I would save some of you the time and possible cost of cutting the cable..


  189. September 24th, 2008 | 1:06 am

    that was perfect! nailed it spot on. my wife’s dell inspiron 8200 was doing the same thing and i had assumed it was some sort of virus. after googling around a bit, decided that was not it. then i found this, spent the 10 minutes following your instructions and viola!

  190. Turbo
    September 26th, 2008 | 6:58 pm

    Ok, this is not a fix for the non-windows user but the Synaptics drive I have for my Inspiron does allow y9ou to disable teh touchpad or the stick pointer. My mouse was so bad I couldn’t lay wrists on my notebook before the mouse would depart teh screen. I’ve disabled the Stick pointer and it immeidately stopped. Unfortunately One cannot disable both of controls. Now my k/b may be different but the ribbon cables neeed not be cut, the plastic connections on one end or th eother do release the cable if teh end edges are gently pryed out in the direction of the cable. One may also use a pencil eraser and flatten and polish the cabel contact areas; after a long time they dent in and tarnish a bit and the contact becomes unstable (same with the LCD cable). My issue was occasionally relieved by twisting the laptop slightly – this indicated a loose connection or fault, worn or bent connection somewhere. I think the stick and touchpad mounts get warped over time and won’t maintain a neutral position. BTW I resoved teh issue disabling either of the devices in teh driver and resolved my headache.

  191. Troal
    September 27th, 2008 | 4:12 am

    There can be several causes of pointer drift. A very common one for the Dell Latitude C600 and C610 is caused by a metal bridge contacting the backside of the touch pad electronics. To see if this is your problem, set the pointer somewhere near the center of the screen (at a time when it’s under control/not drifting). At a point about one inch to the right of the touchpad push down on the palm rest. If the pointer takes off for the border, the bridge contact is your problem. To fix, go to

    You’ll also need to look at the (free) Dell repair manual at

    It was a little scary for me to dig that deep into my laptop but Dell manual instructions were very good in walking me through disassembly and reassembly. The fix itself was very simple and really solved the problem without having to disable some other function or clipping wires.

  192. Thomas
    September 29th, 2008 | 9:26 pm

    Admittedly it won’t help you with FreeBSD, but I just found out how to fix this under Linux without damaging your hardware. The main problem of getting rid of the track stick is the touch pad, as both share the same connection (and driver), thus simpliy blacklisting is not enough. Instead I used udev to explicitly ignore the track stick:

    1. find out the hardware connection of your track stick
    This requires some searching around under /class/input, for me I got it with

    udevinfo -a -p /sys/class/input/input11

    (you are looking for ATTR{name}==”PS/2 Mouse”). Write down the entry after ATTR{phys}, for me it was “isa0060/serio1/input1″

    2. setup udev to ignore the device
    This requires adding a rule to /etc/udev/rules.d. I add a file 50-local.rules for my local udev rules, and included the line

    SYSFS{phys}==”isa0060/serio1/input1″, OPTIONS+=”ignore_device”

    substitute the part after phys with the address you found in step 1.

    3. reboot
    If everything works fine, your track stick is disabled now while the touch pad still works. Otherwise check for udev error messages.

  193. Pierre
    October 2nd, 2008 | 7:39 pm

    Started up the (t)rusty C600 for the first time in about two years tonight. The mouse pointer was doing it’s run to the corner and after about five minutes I got your article via Google. I opened the laptop as described (it’s a snap) and lo and behold – the keyboard, touchpad and pointer cables all run into ribbon cable connector on the motherboard. You can unplug the ribbon cable and disassemble it (it’s a very delicate connector btw). The pointer cable can then be removed from the connector. Reassemble the connector, plug it back in, refit the keyboard and return all the screws. All fixed, sans pointer functionality.

  194. Daniel
    October 16th, 2008 | 9:08 am

    I recently got a dell c600 and went googling for a solution. I found one here that says to use an antistatic bag to cover the pad. Gonna try it out later on.

  195. Tony
    October 28th, 2008 | 3:09 pm

    I found that solution as well and tried it. It works! I think that it is a better solution to cutting your wires and I still have use of every function.

  196. Don
    October 30th, 2008 | 11:43 pm

    A third vote for the additional piece of insulation film under the trackpad PCB, as described at

    I used a piece of old fashioned overhead projector “acetate” and the result is perfect. I wouldn’t actually advocate using a piece of anti-static bag material – it’s conductive, so not a good idea near a PCB.

  197. rubrpanda
    November 2nd, 2008 | 7:12 pm

    Hey gimbo!

    Thanks a bunch for your site. works great (running openSuSe 11). I wish I had read ALL of the replies cuz I think there’s a line of code that Thomas put in that might work but… oh well I don’t use the nub mouse anyhow.
    Thanks again.

  198. November 17th, 2008 | 5:11 pm

    I followed your workaround note which worked well and we no longer have the pointer wizzing across the screen…. One point, you DONT NEED TO CUT THE TRACKPOINT ribbon cable! The ribbon cable is connected to the trackpoint assembly by adhesive. If you gently lift the ribbon cable at the trackpoint termination the adhesive is exposed underneath, use a knife to cut through the adhesive and the ribbon cable lifts away! Use electrical tape to cover the ribbon end and thats it, no cutting required.

  199. Shippie
    November 29th, 2008 | 5:41 pm

    OMG! Can I just say one thing? I OWE YOU MY SANITY!! I was ready to drop kick this thing, and was seriously going INSANE because of this problem!! I have been dealing with this for almost a year now. The problem would come and go, and I finally had just HAD IT!! I’ve never used that stupid trackpoint mouse anyway, so when I’d see this post I didn’t think it applied to me. Too, I was scared to take apart my computer. It finally was acting so whacked….browser windows were opening on their own, the windows were minimizing and maximizing on their own, and then the left mouse button wouldn’t respond….oh lordy I thought the thing was possessed and I was going to need an exorcism! I finally took the plunge today…and I AM SO GRATEFUL!! Your instructions were SO informative, and it really was a SIMPLE thing to do! My computer is just like when I got it now, and I couldn’t be happier. My wife is very happy to know I won’t be screaming four letter words at this piece of plastic anymore, and I think my dogs will be thankful as they won’t need to cringe as I won’t be blasting off anymore. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

  200. ICyrus
    December 3rd, 2008 | 7:05 pm

    I have a Latitude c840. Same problem for several years. I have referred to this page numerous times and tried most of the solutions. I think at one time I tried to install the symantic driver, but if I remember correctly it did not provide the necessary touchpad properties and did not correct the problem, so I went back to the original Alps driver. Eventually I disconnected the track stick cable; this worked for about a day then the problem reoccurred. I once again resorted to my Belkin USB Mouse, but eventually I started to suffer cursor drift even with the track stick cable disconnected and using the mouse. Once again I came back to this page and began to investigate new possibilities. I was specifically interested in suggestions about replacing the keyboard and/or touch pad, whether or not anyone had found this helpful. I really hate spending money on things that may or may-not work. While studying the various suggestions I went into the Alps control panel and noticed that somehow the interface option was back at both the track stick and touch pad, though the track stick cable is still disconnected. I once again disabled the track stick/selected the touch pad only option and low and behold the cursor drift has disappeared once again. Who knows how long that will last, but for the last hour I have been free of cursor drift with no mouse attached. I suspect that there is a ghost in my computer that just ocassionally desires to test my patience and cause havoc in my life, but for the moment she seems to be at rest.

  201. SteveB
    December 5th, 2008 | 12:22 am


    Thanks for the tip. I managed to get the trackpad cable out of the connector without cutting it – the plug that goes onto the motherboard comes apart the the trackpad ribbon then slides out (the other end was soldered to the trackpad, unlike ‘alan’ above).

    A shame to see how many people have suffered from this issue, but it’s great to see how much your tip has helped everyone. Thanks!!


  202. Abe
    December 9th, 2008 | 1:00 am

    I had the same problem with my c600, my solution, I took out the battery. Yep I just took out the battery and ran the computer direct to a surge protector. That battery wasn’t charging anyways, so I took it out, and it Inadvertently fixed my problem. Got a new laptop now so, all I got left is the good memories!

  203. Scott
    December 17th, 2008 | 9:51 pm

    You Sir, are a Certified Genius!!! I have a C600 that has been a workhorse for me (500,000 airmiles to-date), and today, the cursor went nuts. Googled “C600 drift”, found this site, hate the center pointer & never used it, snipped the cable, touchpad was not affected at all & drift stopped. VERY HAPPY! Thanks!!!!!!!

  204. Dave
    December 30th, 2008 | 4:37 pm

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I wanted to let you know, however, that I was able to fix the problem *without* cutting the ribbon cable. All you really need to do is stop the four wires coming from the touchpoint from making contact in the socket where the keyboard assembly is plugged in. On my laptop, this was a long black connector labeled “LCD” (upside down). If unplugged the connector and look at the socket, you will see a set of four contacts in the center of the side nearest the screen. These are the contacts for the touchpoint. Cut a piece of thin plastic or cellophane about 1.5″ long and 1/2″ wide (I cut a piece from the bag the cables for my monitor came in). Fold it once to make sure it is thick enough that the contacts will not poke through. Insert the plastic vertically into the socket so it is positioned in front of the four contacts. BE CAREFUL YOU DO NOT COVER ANY OF THE OTHER CONTACTS. Re-seat the connector while you are holding the plastic in place. With the plastic blocking those contacts, the touchpoint is disconnected and the problem goes away. This has worked perfectly for me on my C610. I hope this helps someone else.

  205. Darin
    January 4th, 2009 | 6:55 am

    Thanks for the information! I cut the ribbon and it is working perfectly for me — no more drift. Like several others have said, it feels like I have a new laptop. Thanks again!


  206. Imhotep
    January 9th, 2009 | 12:22 pm

    On an Inspiron 8200, just removing the thinner blue cable from the connector on the mainboard does the trick – no need to cut it, though who needs it anyway?

    The connector is delicate, so be careful, but if tugging the blue cable out isn’t working, lift up the top part of the connector gently (that’s what squeezes the ribbon) to make it slip out easier.

    Maybe snipping is the easiest way…
    Nothing to mess up so long as you’ve identified the right cable.

  207. Derek
    January 15th, 2009 | 10:45 pm

    Well i was quite skeptical at first i can confirm the windows driver but im runnin ubuntu now so this was a problem and i found a couple things that said a software fix could be done by rebuilding the kernel with a patch well i followed the instructions four times with no luck ive seen this sight before but didnt want to do it i did it just now and it works great ive tried getting it to drift and cant do it I didnt just cut the cable though i removed the cable to prevent shorts its still cut but there is no dangling pieces of it anyway i just thought i would say that it worked im running dell latitude c600 with ubuntu on it and this was not even 5 minutes it took about 30 secs to remove the 5 screws marked k and 30 seconds to remove the keyboard and snip both ends of the wire off and reconnecting everthing took about 1 minute so maby three minutes lol 2 for the work and 1 minute to gather tools ok anyway thanx

  208. January 21st, 2009 | 8:38 am

    Hey thanks a lot! this information was very helpfull…..
    there is some information on this link regarding the same problem

  209. Tony
    January 24th, 2009 | 11:45 pm

    You sir are a genius, I have the 610 and its been pissing me off for a year, i have two laptops and this was giving me jip so i used a wireless mouse and keyboard(yeah how daft)but the zooming about of the mouse meant i had almost bounced this a few times.
    Under the keyboard the blue cable came away from the large silver one and its stopped it from taking off again and i aint had to cut it, ha ha i keep looking round at my laptop as im typing this seperately on my other expecting to see it whizzing off thankfully 20 minutes in its still staying perfectly still.
    Forgive me swearing but F%*K me you just saved me a whole load of time and money with this thread.
    Thanx from a very happy Brit.

  210. February 9th, 2009 | 2:43 am

    It works. Cut that small cable. Thanks.

  211. Teresa
    February 11th, 2009 | 2:26 pm

    Very happy with the results!! Easy to understand instructions, which I need!! Very successful operation and I’m totally thrilled with it! Thanks a million times over!!

  212. Dennis
    February 26th, 2009 | 6:38 am

    Wow, I’ve had this problem for the past 2 years and was always a chore of thumping the keyboard till I got it settled down. It was a piece of cake actually, couldn’t get the last screw out of the case, but since it was a screw on the back of the case under the numbers row, I was able to pop up the front to get access to the cable. Snipped it and reassembled for perfect operation. Running Ubuntu 8.10.

  213. Ron
    February 26th, 2009 | 7:41 pm

    The donwload fix in Tonys comments dated January 26th 2007 also work for the d800. Follow the same instructions he gives after the download from Synaptics and you can’t go wrong. no wire cutting or crazyness of taking your machine apart. thanks dude.

  214. BZAG
    March 9th, 2009 | 10:06 pm

    Please don’t cut the cables first! I used Kapton insulating tape on the metal shield bracket, the kind used in LCD HVAC assemblies, between the bracket and the circuitry, rather than a plastic bag (be sure to face the glue side away from the circuitry). Also, I noticed there are grounding contacts that get quite dirty because no one EVER removes this thing, so they need to be scraped off, and I wonder if this isn’t really the big problem, and that removing the bracket and reinserting it reconnects the contacts to the metal shield and permits the thing to function properly for another 3 years, like wiggling your AAA batts in your TV remote or portable clock to get it working again. The other thing I noticed is that the metal bridge referred to in the laptopsunlimited web page already has an insulator strip between it and the circuit, so again I question whether it is the bridge at all, or just the grounding contacts or some other part of the shield that causes a short. I DID notice that part of the metal shield has a ridge that looks like to contacts a ground place beneath the trackpad and that this ridge also puts pressure on the ribbon cables from the trackpad, but using the tape seems to solve my problem, so that may not be an issue.

  215. BZAG
    March 10th, 2009 | 2:20 pm

    OK, sorry to ramble a bit, but I’ve modified my post a bit – to the Webmaster, please feel free to delete my previous one…

    There are contacts to the trackpad metal shield (underside of palm rest) that get quite dirty because no one EVER removes this thing, so they need to be scraped off, and I wonder if this is really the big problem after all, not this bridge thing. These contacts are used to complete the shield to a shield plane below the trackpad. Removing the bracket and reinserting it reconnects the contacts to the metal shield and permits the thing to function properly like wiggling your AAA batts in your TV remote or portable clock to get it working again, albeit for a limited time until the connection goes bad again unless it is cleaned, which would explain why anyone would think the plastic bag is solving the problem (i.e., they removed the bracket to install the bag but reinstalling it simply made the connections work again, but not for long). The contacts are not visible until the shield bracket is removed. Also, the bridge thing mentioned below already has an insulation strip on its backing, making the plastic bag unnecessary, and the shield and trackpad are quite rigid enough to withstand palm resting anywhere near it, meaning I doubt if it is causing a short at all. Still, it’s a good idea to protect the circuitry from dirt and dust that collects in these things, so I used Kapton anti-static tape on the underside of the shield, glue facing AWAY from the circuits, and another layer on the reverse side to seal-in the tape glue.

    My observation is the cursor drift is exacerbated when charge is introduced to the circuit, which can occur by pressing on the trackpad buttons, using the trackpoint, or touching the trackpad. An incomplete shield under the trackpad may cause some of this charge to roam the circuit. I suspect the shield is grounded somewhere on the circuit board, but this won’t help if the shield contacts are not contacting properly, so this stray charge bounces around the circuit and gets communicated to your mouse cursor logic. It seems that eventually the trackpoint logic gets damaged, because I’ve seen alot of trackpoints dead in the water also.

  216. xxentric1
    March 20th, 2009 | 7:21 pm

    Go into the BIOS (F2). Press Alt-P until you reach “Page 4 of 7″. Under “Pointing Device” change the setting from “touchpad-PS/2″ to “PS/2″. Reboot

  217. whynot
    March 30th, 2009 | 8:38 am

    have a latitude c600 running ubuntu and their being no synaptics linux drivers, i followed your advice and it worked. tx a lot

  218. April 8th, 2009 | 9:00 pm

    This completely solved the problem. I have always hated the little nipple anyway, it felt like justice disabling it. It’s hard to mess it up. I’m running Ubuntu 8.10.

  219. smittydeal2
    April 19th, 2009 | 5:34 pm

    I used the anti staic foil fix, and it worked immediately. However it lasted only about 6 months and I changed the foil and it again worked.

  220. skittler22
    April 23rd, 2009 | 4:27 pm

    I have a 610 which I use infrequently but for a very specific purpose. The mouse drift also happened infrequently but very annoyingly. Not one to waste time it took 10 minutes to snip the ribbon cable and get the laptop running again after having found these help pages. Brilliant. Thanks.

  221. Pou Keung
    April 29th, 2009 | 7:41 am

    This problem is bothering me for long time. I just read this page a few minutes ago and follow the procedure and all problems has gone away.
    thanks a lot.

    pou keung

  222. deorah
    May 13th, 2009 | 2:22 am

    never opened a computer before,was not scared it sounded so easy and it really was.I own a refurbished lattitude c610 and was very frustrated to use it ,always fighting with the mouse and having tomake circles all the time,dont know how i found this site but thanks anyhow,did not even think twice about cutting that thing,never used it anyhow.It works perfect now thanks again.From Trinidad and Tobago west indies.

  223. Joe
    June 1st, 2009 | 5:26 pm

    Fantastic reference page for this nasty problem! Thank you! Since I am a fanatic “do the right thing” man, I decided to follow the description first referenced in post #90. I did the mentioned “pressing beneath the touchpad” test. Yes, it triggered the drifting. I completely disassembled my C610 to reach the bottom of the palmrest and put 4 layers of very thin insulating adhesive tape between the metal bridge and the touchpad. Problem solved! Pressing test OK. No wires needed to cut!
    But yes, it is a challenge. Follow the Dell service manual precisely! Don’t miss any screw to remove, or you are going to damage things otherwise. 2 hours of work, but definitly solving the problem at the root cause.
    Thank you guys!

  224. ed
    June 11th, 2009 | 5:19 pm

    does the ribbon cutting work on the inspiron 8100 as well

  225. Joeri
    June 19th, 2009 | 9:15 am

    Hello everyone,

    Of course you can try every other possible solution. But after 24 hours of trying I chopped of the cable. It works. What a relief. Just 5 minutes work. It should work for any laptop.

    Just do it


  226. Mason McDonald
    July 1st, 2009 | 2:02 pm

    Well, this is freak’n AWESOME! Yes indeed, but I don’t need to do this quite yet… my pointer only drifts every other day and it doesn’t drift for long… but when the time comes that it drifts more often… or ALL of the time… I’ll have a great way of fixing my problem!!! I don’t use the trackpoint THAT much, but I dont really want to snip it to death until it screws up! Which nothin on the C600 has messed up yet, but I’m sure this will be the first!

  227. Mason McDonald
    July 1st, 2009 | 2:12 pm

    OMG! There is a problem! Sometimes if I bump my CD player JUST A LITTLE BIT… it freezes the computer because of a bad connection between the PC and the device. NOW!… If I unplug the device while the computer is frozen, the computer will MAGICALLY “unfreeze”! I’ve tried new drivers and software, and even installing a different OS, but those didn’t do anything for me. This problem SUCKS! If anyone knows ANYTHING just let me know ….. ……

  228. bosshog
    July 24th, 2009 | 3:23 pm

    I tried the antistatic bag method which requires a lot of effort to disassemble and reassemble the laptop. In the end, it reduced the drifting, but did no eliminate it. Since I am passing this laptop on to an aunt of mine who is non-technical, I decided the most simple way to eliminate the mouse drift was to snip the trackpoint “nipple” cable. This fixed it for good… Thanks.

  229. Thomas P Crawford
    July 27th, 2009 | 5:33 am

    Laptop Dell 8200. This laptop is being used by pastor friend of mine in Kalimantan (Borneo). It has the mouse drift to the place is was unusable. He was in town to get married (not sure he should have a laptop if he is newly married), and asked if anything could be done. We found your website, applied the snip and all is well. Much thanks. I might mention the 8200 only had 4 screws marked K? Tom Crawford

  230. John cava
    July 28th, 2009 | 1:33 pm

    Also just wanted to say thank you – I’m not comfortable with taking apart the laptop, but I’m giving your post to my tech and having him disconnect asap. Thanks again!!!

  231. Tosin
    August 4th, 2009 | 9:16 pm

    u really neednt cut the cable. it’s detachable, if u work around it. thats what i did to mine–detached the cable, taped the terminal and folded it neatly, for possible future reassembly.

  232. dell
    August 9th, 2009 | 6:15 pm

    THANK YOU!!! I had a terrible case of the wandering mouse, i followed the instructions and my mouse has not wandered since. AWESOME!

  233. August 14th, 2009 | 8:32 am

    Whoever you are that posted the “Sledgehammer” thing, I just want you to know that you are BRILLIANT and A GOD TO ME!!! I developed the mouse drift problem and did the downloading of the mouse pointer program ‘solution’. Thought it was fixed. NOT. Then I rolled back the driver, again thinking it was fixed. NOT!!! Then I found your post. Not only was I relieved to find that others were driven to the brink of insanity by the little bugger, but your style of writing brought smiles to my face and…(ahhh) HOPE to this forlorn mouse-drifting girl. When I did the “snip it” remedy (knock on wood) IT WORKED! You’re A GENIUS and I, for one, really appreciate the fact that you were born! THANK YOU SO IMMENSELY, YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!
    Love and peace,
    Sarine Voltage

  234. August 14th, 2009 | 8:40 am

    P.S. It also gave me great joy to make the snip!

  235. Herb
    August 19th, 2009 | 5:55 pm

    Worked like a charm! Thanks

  236. chehm
    August 24th, 2009 | 3:51 am

    I have a Dell Latitude C400 running Ubuntu which had the same drifting pointer problem. Pulling the keyboard was considerably different (Dell has the manual online). It was fairly obvious which of the three flat cables was attached to the pointer stick and cutting it worked perfectly. Thanks. I owe you.

  237. webster
    August 27th, 2009 | 1:38 am

    thanks for the tip it worked great i was going crazy trying to figure out what the heck to do a snip fixed the problem

  238. John Herrmann
    October 17th, 2009 | 6:14 pm

    Well for all who wanted to know since I stumbles onto this site looking for an answer to a different problem. I had the same problem with my c600 the anti static bag theroy worked for me for a while then it came back I just ended up buyin a new palm rest newer version which to this da about 2 years is working fine except all mt buttons to click do not work now. But the anti static bag worked for a few months then my mouse whent a drifting again

  239. bob
    November 9th, 2009 | 10:03 am

    Worked on a 8200. Snipped the blue cable.

  240. Mr. Mike
    November 17th, 2009 | 3:03 pm

    Snipped the blue cable…… works. Thanks for the tip.

  241. dave
    December 2nd, 2009 | 7:06 pm

    No cutting required for my C600 I followed instructions in response# 109 worked like a charm thanks no more crazy mouse in my house.

  242. Bob Creacy
    December 5th, 2009 | 8:55 am

    Hi all,
    Last posted here July, 2007. Post #119. Insanely ‘drifty’ Dell C610. Finally cut the cable and 2 years of FREEDOM followed 2 years of HELLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!

    I was just gifted a Dell D410 replacement. Two days later–it started the damned DRIFT!! Bingo–cut the freekin’ cable. FIXED!!! What a relief to have an affirmative solution to a baffling and infuriating problem.

    On the C610 all of the driver stuff, BIOS, palmrest padding, cursing, hammering, etc, did any good at all. Disable pointer/ trackpad/ Whatever in Synaptic driver in Control Panel always reset itself and off drifted again every freekin’ time. OS reinstalls, safe mode driver removal and install. Nothing solved the problem for 2 years, until I CUT THE CORD!!!!!!!!

    Now the D410 scrambles my clumsy typing–word scraps all over the place. Drives me nuts! The C610 did the same thing. I found an app that fixed it but it has vanished off my laptop somehow, and I don’t have the URL. Cutting a small section of a paper plate and taping it to the palm rest so that the raised portion was over the trackpad worked also–for awhile!

    Have fun and thanks so much. I searched for months and finally found this blog! Saved my marginally insane, [by then] butt!
    Don’t remove the ‘eraser’ nub from the track stick–the stick will mar the keyboard badly–at least on the C610!!!!!!!

  243. Floyd
    January 3rd, 2010 | 11:56 am

    Thanks very much for the information here. I just bought my 12 year old daughter a refurbished Dell Latitude D810 and was dismayed to find that it had this ‘wandering mouse’ issue. Installing the Dell driver almost fixed the problem – I was able to disable the trackpoint, but it was not disabled until someone had logged in. There was no option to disable it in the BIOS setup, so my daughter was still not able to log-in easily because the cursor was pinned in the lower left-hand corner in the log-in screen. Cutting the wire leading to the trackpoint worked perfectly – no negative side-effects. So, again, many thanks for the excellent tip!

  244. Joe
    January 4th, 2010 | 4:26 pm

    Hello, it’s me from Post #223 again. The fix (insulating the touchpad from the bottom of the palm rest) worked some time, but the mouse drift came back creepingly. First at rare occasions and stoppable by pressing the palmrest a bit. Then more and more often and sometimes nearly unstoppable by pressing the palmrest. Today it reached unacceptable level again and I followed Post #38 (insulating the contacts inside the keyboard connector on the the mainboard). Equivalent to cutting the wire, but not finally destructive. It worked. Now I’m quite sure the mouse drift will never plague me. Thank you for the serious discussion and the very helpful advices!

  245. Raiser
    January 7th, 2010 | 9:44 pm

    Hey Thanks for this!!! Was fixing up an old C610 for my Dad and after all my effort I thought it was time wasted when mouse pointer started wandering.

    - Great to see all the happy outcomes on here – Loved Amy’s contribution on post 146!!!

  246. Paul Drawmer
    February 6th, 2010 | 1:58 pm

    Well I never….
    I have got my old C600 out of the cupboard and was in the middle of cleaning up the installation prior to putting it on a freecycle site. I must have been playing with it for a couple of hours when the mouse wandered off stage right. I had completely forgotten that was the reason the old girl had ended up in the cupboard in the first place!

    I then remembered that it was the nipple not the pad, and that it was disabalable under Windows. However, your ‘snip’ fix is much better, since it’s a hardware fix for a hardware problem in a feature that rarely gets used anyway.

    Thanks for that. BTW any recommendations for live CD for a linux load on these old machines?

  247. Bubbleman72
    February 15th, 2010 | 7:35 pm

    I saved a Dell D600 from the IT scrap box. It was marked “bad motherboard” and destined for disposal. I took it home and plugged it in and discovered that the only problem was this dreaded cursor wandering. I have been dealing with it for a year until I concluded that enough was enough. The phenom invaribly happens when a any key on the keyboard is depressed. It will then take at least a minute before the cursor behaves again. Quite annoying and counter productive. I stumbled on this blog and was surprised to see that this was not an uncommon problem. The prospect of circumcizing the the stick ribbon cable from the keyboard seemed drastic, however I don’t ever use the nubby stick. A compact HID wireless mouse suits me just fine. I took a deep breath and cut the blue cable with my wife’s sewing scissors. I am happy to say that this problem has been erradicated. Also the mouse pad still works fine. Many thanks for this solution!!!

  248. Ohio Business
    March 2nd, 2010 | 3:50 pm

    To you people out there that know nothing about computers (myself) cutting the ribbon is easy and fast but most important it works. I was wondering about being able to put it back together correctly once i got it apart but it snapped back into place very easy and my mouse no longer drifts. Just thought i would let all you people out there questioning this to put your mind to rest and just do it. it took me over a month to get the nerve to finally do it but now i dont know why i waited so long. Thanks

  249. PCB
    March 11th, 2010 | 10:48 am

    As with a number of people, eternally greatful for this posting and comments. In my case my wife’s Dell Inspiron 8200 has been suffering intermittently from mouse drift for several months. We decided to first try disabling the internal mouse pad in BIOS using F2 on startup, selecting SERIAL since we always use an external mouse. This seems to have fixed the problem. If it recurs we’ll disconnect the mouse pad cable or try the insulating shield solution. Many thanks.

  250. March 18th, 2010 | 5:56 am





  251. tom
    March 29th, 2010 | 11:25 pm

    for ubuntu/linux.. i found a site where someone solves it by disabling trackstick in hal..
    am testing now and seems to work as long as u dont wiggle the trackstick. (because then your pointer stop reacting for 10 or so seconds, but no prob.)

  252. Bob
    April 9th, 2010 | 1:25 am

    I cannot believe how easy this was. I was so hesitant to open the laptop and cut the cable, but it honestly took 10 minutes to complete. Thanks for the good instructions.

  253. Good idea!
    April 14th, 2010 | 12:02 pm

    You can also remove the cd and battery and press on the metal plate that you see. you don`t need to remove the screws. It works verry well and when it starts drifting you repeat the whole thing..!!!!

  254. Wmin
    April 23rd, 2010 | 4:55 pm

    Worked like a treat! Fixed my Latitude D800. I wish I knew how to do it 5 years ago!

  255. honk
    April 30th, 2010 | 1:34 pm

    Tried the “slip-something-between-trackpad-and-metal-thingy”-solution, worked for a few months, then back to drifting.
    just now pulled out the track-point cable from the connector, done in a fraction of the time, will see how long it lasts ;)
    Big Thanks for this website and thanks to jake @ #14 as well for the non-destructive track-point disabling-method!
    You rock!

  256. Dana
    May 25th, 2010 | 9:27 pm

    Thank you for the information and the laughs, I really needed to know that others out there have a phantom cursor as well. My laptop is a Latitude D620 and it’s for work, so I think I’ll pretend I never learned how to fix the problem so I can get a new computer… but thank you for telling the public how to fix the “PHANTOM CURSER FROM HELLLLL”. -D

  257. July 1st, 2010 | 11:52 pm

    I read and followed this suggestion for my Dell D600 laptop.
    yes, the removal of the cable from the connector under the keyboard worked.
    for the D600 keyboard, there is a connector that attaches the KB to the chassis.
    1. pry the on/off button strip off from the right side, then firmly pull the cover rightwards, and up. it won’t break.
    2. remove the 2 screws holding the KB in place.
    3. angle up the KB from the top and pull away from you to release the tabs securing it.
    4. there is a blue pull tab to remove the connector. pull straight up, and the KB is free.
    5. note that the connector has two cables one much smaller and leads to the center of the KB.
    6. the white connector has a small screwdriver slot nearest the ends of the connector that must be slightly elevated to allow a gray linking insert or catch that secures the cables in place. once these are elevated just slightly, the fingernails can be used to lift and separate the connector, and both cables will be released from the connector.
    7. put a piece of scotch tape over the end of the smaller blue cable, and trim the sides to be exact.
    8. re-insert the wider cable into the connector the same way it came out and snap the connector back together.
    9. now re-assemble by reversing steps 1-4.
    10. thank an extremely busy repair guy who deserves a lot of credit for putting the exact steps for the D600 laptop.
    11. visit my humble webpage at:
    Regards, Mark

  258. Zaf
    August 8th, 2010 | 10:15 am


    I Know its 2010, yes, and I am still using c600 :) have had mouse drift for a while loaded synaptics drivers and problem went away for a bit then came back so had to resort to unplug the tracker cable. (yes unplug) when I opened the keyboard there were two ribbons very easy to tell which is the tracker one (smaller of the two)I just unlpugged the black cable connector from the mother board prised the both end and pulled out the smaller ribbon from the connector and then taped it behind the keyboard using insulation tape.

    Thanks for this thread though I had the tool boc ready!!! but did not need to cut or chop anything.
    Mouse drift >>> what mouse drift >>> its dead and buried for ever LOL

  259. Dale
    August 21st, 2010 | 4:37 am

    It’s over five years old and still relevant. I have been using an external mouse for a year now and finally my USB ports all went out on me. I was just about to get rid of this laptop when I found this site. I cut that ribbon and now…my laptop is back!!!!

  260. chris
    August 24th, 2010 | 10:08 pm

    Kudos on a job well done. I had run into this problem when running windows and just disabled the trackball. When I moved to Ubuntu it reared its ugly head yet again. Snipping the cable was a godsend. FYI this was for a Dell Inspiron 8600. After removing the keyboard there were two wires- a wide black one and a thin blue one. Snipped the blue one. This is the second Dell keyboard on this machine- the first crapped out while still under warranty (not a trackball issue though). Thanks again!

  261. Davy
    November 1st, 2010 | 1:22 pm

    Finally rid of that anoing mouse…. I thank God that I found this website!!! Thanks to you all guys :-)

  262. Syngin
    November 18th, 2010 | 2:29 am

    Thanks for this. I was ready to toss the Dell Latitude D810 we had but this worked.

  263. Brandon
    February 3rd, 2011 | 4:20 am

    Hello, thank you very very very much that thing was driving me nuts, and I remember thinking that if this doesnt work I’m screwed, but it worked so THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  264. March 31st, 2011 | 10:18 am

    Using an antistatic bag with these instructions fixed the problem on my Dell Latitude C610
    I have the same wondering mouse problem on a Dell Inspiron 4100. I’m gonna try the same trick for that laptop and see if it works.

  265. April 3rd, 2011 | 6:54 pm

    Fast forward to 2011 and the Latitude C600 is still in heavy use. Aside from the low tech video that can be limiting at times, the only hiccup with this crazy laptop was the drifting pointer problem thingy. Thank you very much Mr. Gimbo, wherever you are.

  266. Rosch
    June 4th, 2011 | 4:00 pm

    Cutting the cable did the trick on my Dell D600 and made me happy :-)
    Many thanks.

  267. Carl
    June 30th, 2011 | 1:01 pm

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you! Worked a treat on my Dell C600!

  268. Linsey
    July 15th, 2011 | 1:48 pm

    Just tried the trick with the insulation under the trackpad ( I used antistatic bag and so far so good. I have tried putting pressure on the palmrest and twisting the unit. Both of these actions would have made the pointer go crazy, but now it is solid as a rock.

  269. Rudi Pittman
    August 19th, 2011 | 1:50 am

    Under linux you can use xinput to disable the trackpoint without cutting anything.

    “xinput list” will find the name of the trackpoint…. then you just issue a command like:

    xinput -set-prop “TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint” “Device Enabled” 0

  270. almacd
    August 22nd, 2011 | 11:35 pm

    Yeah! Cut the cable …. no more problems. Thanks heaps

  271. DtM
    September 26th, 2011 | 5:15 pm

    For Windows users, no need to cut the cable, just install the mouse driver update from Dell :

    Then you can open mouse properties by right clicking on the Touch Pad icon in the task bar and choose to use the track pad only instead of stick and pad. Done.

  272. Heinz.K
    October 9th, 2011 | 12:29 pm

    Got this NB as a gift this week and wonder about the mouse.
    Yeah, I get crazy with this, and don’t know what’s happend.
    Found this side, cut the cable and everything is fine.
    Thanks a lot for this soloution. :-))
    Heinz from Germany.

  273. ZEUS_GB
    October 27th, 2011 | 10:38 am

    I used the ALPS touchpad drivers on one of our Dell Latitude D600s to disable to Track Point and the laptop is now working fine, thanks for the tip.

  274. Ben Duffin
    December 10th, 2011 | 9:49 pm

    Awesome! The butchery suggested did the trick – perfect (as well as litiral) hack! Why in gods name did Dell give these both touchpads and track points and i wonder why there seem to be so many isues with the track points – i have worked with other laptops with trackpoints with non of these problems such as toshiba and IBM / Lenovo machines.

  275. December 29th, 2011 | 11:46 pm

    I just did the same trick as Linsey above.
    Almost fully disassemble the laptop, put some piece of thin plastic under the palmrest.
    I too used anti-static bag for that.

    Now the laptop feel so strange without the wandering pointer…

  276. Jens
    March 13th, 2012 | 11:57 am

    Have been servicing various Dell Laptops with the described problems. My successful solution always has been to unplug the keyboard and clean the contacts on keyboard ribbon (both sides, male and female) with a cleaning fluid for electrical contacts. This will remove all sort of dust, oxid and grease. Until now, this did help in far more than 100 cases.
    Wonder, why none did mention this.

  277. Josh
    May 15th, 2012 | 7:09 pm

    Here’s an even easier fix for eraserhead drift: unplug the keyboard, find the ribbon that connects to the eraserhead, then take a clean eraser (haha) and gently rub the dirt/oxide off. Worked for me :)

  278. Cambo
    July 14th, 2012 | 6:47 am

    Chopped the cable and NO MORE DRIFT! THANKS!

  279. ps
    October 17th, 2012 | 11:55 am

    Some models allow you to disable the trackpoint, which seemed to work on a Latitude E4310 I had to sort this out on :-)

  280. String
    January 21st, 2013 | 4:10 pm

    I’ll add another positive input for the solution that results when the trackpoint thingy disabled. I, too, de-soldered the ribbon cable since I never used the rubber pointing device. Since I don’t like to cut anything irreparably, I went with the de-solder.

    This is after trying the Synaptics driver and using the anti-static bag (only a few minutes before de-soldering)…I think it’s worthy advice not to contaminate the chassis with a bag that actually disperses electricity. Anti-static bags are NOT the same as insulating paper.

    Besides, adding paper into a system that has a cooling system that’s not expecting such an addition is a bad idea, in my opinion.

    As others have said, the PC feels like a new ride. It’s amazing the inconveniences we’ll tolerate, isn’t it?

    Happy to have this resource and wanted to share my success.