How to Replace a Synaptics Touchpad


Synaptics develops and manufactures human interface solutions such as touchscreens and touchpads for many electronic devices. A Synaptics touchpad is installed on many branded notebook computers, like Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Toshiba. Over time, a touchpad can become worn, discolored or stop functioning due to a hardware problem. Replacing a Synaptics touchpad yourself is a way to save on computer repair costs.

Things You'll Need

  • Anti-static wrist strip
  • Small flat-head screwdriver
  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • Turn off the notebook computer. Disconnect the power cable, battery and any other external devices, such as a mouse or printer.

  • Wrap the anti-static strip around your wrist to prevent any electrostatic discharge that can damage the internal components of the computer.

  • Flip the laptop over to expose its underside. Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws securing the hardware compartment cover. Multiple covers typically must be removed on the laptop's bottom casing. These covers protect the processor, memory, express card or wireless card.

  • Push the retaining tabs for the memory modules inward. Carefully slide the modules out of their compartments and set them aside.

  • Slide the hard drive off its holding rails. Some hard drives are secured with additional Phillips-head screws, so make sure you remove them before removing the hard drive from the rails.

  • Detach the cable and the antenna from the wireless card. Remove the wireless card from its compartment.

  • Remove the Phillips-head screws holding the CD/DVD drive. Slide the CD/DVD drive out of its compartment.

  • Remove all visible Phillips-head screws on the bottom casing before flipping the computer face up.

  • Open the display screen lid. Pry open the keyboard cover with a flat-head screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the plastic parts. Remove the keyboard cover completely.

  • Remove the Phillips-head screws holding the keyboard, then unplug the keyboard data cable connected to the motherboard.

  • Tilt the keyboard toward the display screen and slide it out from the laptop base casing.

  • Detach the touchpad cable from the motherboard. Separate the bottom casing from the upper casing. The touchpad usually is attached to the underside of the upper casing with two flat-head screws.

  • Remove the screws and the touchpad from the upper casing. Install the replacement Synaptics touchpad and secure it with the screws.

  • Reassemble the computer in reverse order of the steps for disassembling it.

  • Download the driver for the new Synaptics touchpad model to ensure it works properly with the computer's operating system. See Resources for the link.

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  • Photo Credit touchpad image by Wolszczak from
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