Q: I have a Microsoft Surface Pro with a detachable keyboard. I also use a mouse for navigating the screen. My problem is that when I select a point on the screen with the mouse and then go to the keyboard to type, my hand often comes near the touchpad on the keyboard, which causes the cursor positioned by the mouse to move to some other position on the screen. My question: Is there a way to turn off or deactivate the touchpad manually or automatically when I am using the mouse as described?
— Doug Windhorn
A: Yes, I had the same problem. Fortunately, there is a solution.
Go to Start menu and click on Settings. You’ll see a search bar. Type in “touchpad.” Next click “Turn the touchpad on or off” in the search results. You’ll then be at the Touchpad page in settings. The first option is to toggle touchpad on or off. Right below that you can choose whether to disable the touchpad when a mouse is connected.
Q: My move to Windows 11 created a new issue. Periodically, a little clear rectangle appears at the bottom of the screen and has a little blue circle in it. In that space it does not allow any typing or clicking. I am temporarily able to correct it by going to Task Manager, clicking Processes, going down to Windows Explorer, clicking twice and restarting. That solves the problem, for a while. Any suggestions?
— Bill Phelps
A: That was a bug that some users experienced in an earlier version of Windows 11. The bug has reportedly been fixed, so check Windows Update to ensure you’re running the latest version. To do so, click on the Start button, then on Settings. You’ll find Windows Update at the bottom of the list of settings that pops up.
Q: My year-old desktop has a 250-gigabyte solid-state drive (SSD) that includes the operating system among several other software. It also has a 1-terabyte hard disk drive (HDD) for all other storage. I bought it at Costco and I notice that several other desktops for sale there now have the same configuration. I’m just curious about any advantages or disadvantages of this setup in light of the limitation on rewriting on SSD drives.
— Alan Graves
A: Yes, there are a lot of computers coming on the market that store the operating system on a SSD and use a traditional HDD for storing data.
The idea is this: Yes, SSDs have a finite number of writes to disc. But they are also much faster than HDDs. And since operating systems do a lot more reading from drives than writing to drives it makes sense.
For files you’re working on — and therefore doing a lot of reading and writing — an HDD makes more sense for storage. There are, however, exceptions and I’ll get to that in a moment.
But first, if you adopt this strategy and you’re at all short on random access memory (RAM) make sure to configure Windows to use the HDD for virtual RAM. When Windows runs short on RAM for the programs you’re running, it saves program data to your drive and then retrieves it when you need it. You don’t want Windows eating into the finite writes on your SSD.
There are exceptions to the rule. I work a lot on video files. For that I want the fast access and compiling that an SSD drive supports. Yes, that’s a lot of writes. But when I’m done with processing a video, it’s done and I move on to another file. I’ve never reached the write limit of an SSD. And when the SSD gets filled up, I connect a different SSD.
The other downside of SSDs? They are significantly more expensive than HDDs. You can get a 1-terabyte HDD for $50-$65. A good 1-terabyte SSD will cost you roughly double that.