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Friday, January 16, 2015

How to deactivate a broken MacBook internal trackpad and use a mouse instead-Instructions for 10.6.8 Snow Leopard

You bought a cheap used MacBook running OS X Snow Leopard. The owner sold it “as-is” and told you it was in great shape.

Well, it wasn’t. Among the problems that developed with it, the internal trackpad’s button’s don’t work. You tried plugging in an external USB mouse, but it didn’t work that well, either. How in the world do you turn off the internal trackpad and substitute the mouse for it? Does it mean the MacBook needs physical disassembly to get to its guts? 

Well, I have a friend in that situation. They bought a used MacBook from eBay and its trackpad’s buttons don’t work. I plugged in a USB mouse and the cursor worked great! It’s just that the trackpad’s buttons didn’t work and overrode the mouse’s buttons. 

This is the recipe for solving that problem in 10.6.8 Snow Leopard on a used 2007 MacBook. I’ll post instructions for OS X Yosemite in the next article.


Step One: You need to turn on all keyboard access for the Tab key, so it can move from one element on the screen to another. You do this by pressing Control + F7. On a MacBook, you will need to press Control + Fn + F7. This is the crucial first step.

Step Two: You need to get to System Preferences. You do this from the Menu Bar by pressing Control + Fn + F2 to highlight one of the drop-down menus on the Menu Bar. Use the Arrow Keys to select the Apple () menu at the far left-hand side of the screen. 

With the Apple Menu highlighted, press the down-arrow key and go down to System Preferences… 

Note: If the Control +Fn + F2 combination doesn’t work, use this instead: Press Control + Fn +F3. This places the emphasis on the Dock, which should have an icon for System Preferences. If the previous owner totally rearranged the dock and took out System Preferences, press Control +Fn+F2 for the Menu Bar instead.

Step Three: How do you maneuver between the various System Preferences? You use the Tab key. You will start on the top row from left to right and then the second row left to row, the third row left to right, and finally the fourth, System, row.


Screen shot 2014 12 25 at 9 02 12 AM




As you move from item to item with the Tab key, each item will glow slightly with a blue border. The figure below shows the Appearance preference with a blue border around it, while the Desktop & Screensaver preference to its right lacks the blue border.


Note the blue border around Appearance



When you get to the Universal Access preference, STOP! Use Shift + Tab if you overshot and need to back up.


To start the Universal Access preference, press the Space Bar. You’d think the Enter key would do it, but no, it’s the Space Bar. 


Step Four: You’ve arrived at the Universal Access preference. Notice the four buttons across the top: Seeing, Hearing, Keyboard, Mouse & Trackpad.

Step Five: Press the Tab key once to highlight any one of the buttons in blue with a blue border. Now use the Arrow keys to move between the buttons to Mouse & Trackpad. The window’s content will change as you move between the buttons. No need to use the Enter key or the Space Bar to select something.

Ignore built in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present


Step Six: In the Mouse & Trackpad window, use the Tab key to move down to the item you want, the button next to the text “Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present” I assume you will use a garden variety 2 button USB mouse and not an Apple Magic Trackpad. 

Step Seven: Almost home! With the button next to “Ignore built-in trackpad…” highlighted, press the Space Bar (not the Enter key!) to turn it ON. You will see a checkmark as shown above when you turn it ON.

Step Eight: Just to make sure, use the Tab key to go down to “Enable access for assistive devices” and “Show Universal Access status in the menu bar” Use the Space Bar to turn these two buttons ON.

Step Nine: Plug in that USB mouse!

Step Ten: Time to test it out. Run your finger over the built-in trackpad to see if it moves the cursor. Nothing should happen. Now try the mouse. You should be able to move the cursor. Test out the  mouse buttons to see that they work. 

If all went successfully, you can use your MacBook now.

Step Eleven: If the keyboard is frozen as well, then just plug in a cheap Windows USB keyboard. My friend uses an old Dell Windows keyboard. Just substitute the Windows key for the Apple/Command key.  Instead of Control + C for Copy, you will press Windows/Super key + C for copy and Windows/Super + V for paste.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog





















1 comment:

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