A useless feature? Or just useless documentation?

So what I’m doing right now, is exploring Windows 10 again, after mostly using Linux, Chromebook and iPad for the last many months. This means dusting off my Asus ZenBook, which is a nice machine, though I don’t like the keyboard as much as the really chunky one of my ThinkPad Linux box.

And here’s a thing. Yesterday evening the touchpad suddenly wasn’t responding. Aargh! Naturally the first things I do are check the settings, and then google the problem. Whereupon I find this entry from Microsoft support. I am a trusting soul, so I followed the directions about trying to update the driver, and if that doesn’t work, uninstalling it, reinstalling it, restarting the computer. All the usual steps. Nothing worked.

Eventually, somewhere in the wildlands of the WWW – and I can’t even find the place again – I found someone who said, effectively: If you have accidentally disabled the touchpad…

It turns out there is a keypress to disable the touchpad. Why? Why would anyone want to do that? Even if they were using a mouse? Apparently some people do. I have never seen any documentation about this (because of course you don’t get computer manuals nowadays); there’s nothing in the Settings; there’s not even any consistency between manufacturers about which key(s) do it; the little icons on the function keys are gnomic to say the least. I had to try most of the ones whose operations I wasn’t familiar with, before I found f9. Which does indeed toggle the touchpad off or on. This whole ‘adventure’ wasted the best part of 45 minutes, I should think. I don’t believe I am the only computer user who sometimes presses keys that inadvertently. What’s hard to believe is the difficulty of finding a solution, with so many of the responders on various internet forums wanting to promote the sledgehammer options.

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