DIY: How to disable a touchpad pad and use an external USB mouse

In this Q&A with a TechRepublic member, DIY blogger Jack Wallen offers advice on how to disable a touchpad mouse on a Dell Inspiron and continue to use an external USB mouse.

Here's a question I recently received from a TechRepublic member. After you read my answer, please post any additional tips you have for the member in the discussion.

Q: I have a problem with my Laptop that I can't solve. I want to disable the Touch-Pad mouse and continue to use an external USB mouse. I'm using Windows 7 on a Dell Inspiron 4 year old pc. Can you help me please? A: I certainly can. There are two possible ways this can be achieved. The first is from within the BIOS. Some laptop manufacturers add options to disable touchpads within the BIOS. If you cannot disable the touchpad there, Dell Inspiron laptops usually have a touchpad icon in the system tray. If you right-click that icon (it looks like a monitor with a flashing green dot), you can then click Disable | Touchpad Buttons and then click Disable Touchpad/Stick when a USB Pointing Device is Present. Click Apply and then click OK. Once that feature is enabled, any time you plug in a mouse, the touchpad will be disabled. I hope that helps! Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)