Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Faulty Trackpad

About a week ago my MacBook Pro's trackpad started acting up. I did a Google search and the first thing that came up was that excessive heat could cause the trackpad to misbehave. And the MacBook Pro had been feeling a bit toasty lately.

I installed the Fan Control control panel, and was running the Activity Monitor app as well to see what was going on. Things seemed okay, though I couldn't figure out what the graphic in Fan Control meant. But the temp it reported was mostly okay, and it seemed the fans were working.

But the trackpad seemed to be getting worse, no matter how frequently I'd put the computer to sleep "to cool down." I definitely thought it was temperature related; it seemed to get worse the longer I used it.

I did notice a couple of things along the way that were unexpected; Word 2001 (with it's PowerPC emulation) can suck up more processing cycles than Word 2010. Sometimes. Oh, and the Google Talk plugin was running and sucking up 181% of the CPU for some reason; and quitting Chrome and everything else I could guess at didn't stop probably had been going for the last couple of days or more too...well actually I don't know how long it had been going.

Killing that didn't solve the problem, and the trackpad was obviously getting worse. I tried a regular mouse, but it kept thinking I'd clicked the trackpad, so that did't really help.

Another Google search turned up another problem with trackpads....after several years, the switch in the non-glass ones evidently can fail.

...So I think that's the problem.

I did discover a wonderful thng; in Universal Access I can turn off the trackpad entirely and use an external mouse. No more fake clicks coming from the trackpad. I also paired up the Bluetooth mouse from my iMac and that works too....though I miss the trackpad.

I can either attempt buying a replacement and installing it myself, pay Apple or someone to replace it, or another option is to buy Apples Magic Trackpad, which would give me a bigger trackpad, AND I could also use it with my iMac, because I have to say, the Magic Mouse is not as good as a trackpad (and this from someone who used to love using the mouse.)

So I'm going to buy a Magic Trackpad and see how that goes, and maybe I'll look into getting a replacement trackpad. I should also buy a new battery for the MacBook at the same time; this thing is starting to wear out!

But the real moral of the story? Have you backed up your computer recently? Because you never know when things will start acting weird on you...

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