back to article The nub of the issue: Has your ThinkPad's TrackPoint gone TITSUP*? You aren't alone

Lenovo is about to complete a full year of customers complaining about the Trackpoint on the company's popular ThinkPad business laptops. Problems kicked off in January, with clientele grumbling on Lenovo's community forums that the TrackPoint on their machines would "abruptly stop working." For the uninitiated, the …

  1. spireite Bronze badge

    Lenovos Nipple....

    The Lenovo Nipple (tm) has achieved legendary status for many, but I still find it pointless in this day and age. In fact on my current P15s (nice machine, rather predictable - that's how I like it), the little red-button isn't tactile enough for me - it's a bit stiff for my liking.

    I don't even use the trackpad either... maybe it's because I have the touch of an elephant,

    1. DrBobK

      Re: Lenovos Nipple....

      One of my female colleagues refers to the Trackpoint as the Cursor Linked Input Tracker.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: Lenovos Nipple....

        CLITORIS stands for Committee for the Liberation and Integration of Terrifying Organisms and their Rehabilitation Into Society (Red Dwarf Sci-Fi Series)

      2. ShadowSystems

        Re: Lenovos Nipple....

        One of my female friends called it the "G-Spot"... "Because men couldn't find it with both hands, a clue, & a map".

        *Sigh*

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Lenovos Nipple....

          I also thought it was called the G-spot - and never had difficulty finding it. Doing something useful with it is a different question...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lenovos Nipple....

          So may questions. Don't have one (either kind) so I want to know, is it called that because of its location by the G key or the pleasure it brings its owners? Can it be located elsewhere? How best to find it?

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: Lenovos Nipple....

            Yes

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lenovos Nipple....

        Known about, often giggled at, can elicit a response if you use your finger to play with it, can be very sensitive when prodded, but the novelty eventually wears off.

        And yes, I have a T460 sat in front of me....

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Lenovos Nipple....

      Personally, I call it the clit mouse.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The tell-tale signs of a Lenovo Pointer regular user...

    A permanent (and somewhat painful) indent in the end of the right index finger, and yet still I prefer it over the touchpad/touchscreen.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: The tell-tale signs of a Lenovo Pointer regular user...

      Agreed. My personal preference is a wireless mouse, but in a pinch I will prefer the trackpoint over any touchpad.

      And keep your filthy, greasy fingers away from my screen !

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: The tell-tale signs of a Lenovo Pointer regular user...

      I'm with you there. I'm writing this on a desktop with an IBM Trackpoint keyboard connected with a PS/2 - USB adaptor. There are Lenovo versions, but the keys aren't nearly as nice. I hardly ever use a mouse and when I do it feels very odd.

    3. John Sager

      Re: The tell-tale signs of a Lenovo Pointer regular user...

      Likewise. I have never been able to get in with the pad, so all my laptops for the last 20 years or so have had one, from HP via Toshiba to Lenovo. If Lenovo give up on it then I'll be bereft.

      As for the subject of the article, I run Linux and I've rarely had trackpoint issues. The cursor very occasionally heads off to the edge somewhere & stays there but it always beomes usable again after a few secs.

  3. HimInDoors

    Love your Trackpoint

    For my ThinkPad (E580) it is the trackpad that stops working at random intervals, but the Trackpoint is my saviour as it keeps soldiering on. I love my Trackpoint.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Love your Trackpoint

      Just tested the TrackPoint and the Trackpad, both are still working on mine (T480)... The first time I've used either in about a year - it is always docked and I use an ergonomic keyboard & Logitech MX Master 2 mouse.

      1. -v(o.o)v-

        Re: Love your Trackpoint

        To my experience T480 is not affected. T14 gen 1 and 2 are.

  4. Jess

    Dead man's finger

  5. Manolo
    Joke

    Oblig XKCD

    https://xkcd.com/243/

    That's all.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple explanation

    Don't worry, it's just a glitch in the CCP's latest spyware that's been surreptitiously installed on your machine.

  7. sebacoustic

    Had a ThinkPad for years, lately work bought me a Dell portable workstation thing, though initially not delighted I quite like it, (and the leftmost lower key as correctly got Ctrl written on it!): but the trackpoint is USELESS.

    Can't adjust to a useful sensitivity level.

  8. Dinanziame Silver badge

    It's a constant surprise to me that people want to use them. It's like wanting to play StarCraft with a joystick. Admittedly, using a GUI is (mostly) not a competitive sport, but it's clearly not as efficient.

    1. BenDwire Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Considering the way most zealot fanboys carry on, you'd think all GUIs are competitive sports.

    2. Schultz

      ... constant surprise to me that people want to use them

      You train your muscle memory once to figure out the track point (takes about a week) and you'll never again have to move you hands off the keyboard. I did that some 20 years ago and have been stuck with ibm/Lenovo laptops since.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: ... constant surprise to me that people want to use them

        Whether you have a trackpoint or not, it's also just as easy and takes a little less time to learn to use the touchpad with a thumb. This also means not moving hands from keyboard :-)

        1. SecretSonOfHG

          Re: ... constant surprise to me that people want to use them

          Problem is, sometimes you activate the touchpad while moving your hands over the keyboard. Not everyone is a formally trained typist and I hate when the cursor starts jumping around because my hands are positioned not just right where they should be so as to not activate the keypad.

  9. IkerDeEchaniz

    Thinkpad L590 upgraded to 32GB RAM/1TB NVME here. The trackpoint is the thin type, worse than a X230 but still ok.

    I never use the touchpad and rarely another mouse.

    I mainly edit text/code and use several VMs

    Lenovo Thinkpad computers are worse each generation but the trackpoint is still one differentiating factor.

    Dell and HP make some laptops with trackpoints but with worse keyboards and usually less expandability.

    Thinkpad computers used to be more repairable and still have replacement parts for most things.

    1. -v(o.o)v-

      One of the least bad ones

      As laptops get more thin and integrated something has to give.

      Having used about 7 different T4x0 and T14 models as the daily drivers since T410 I for one welcome the reduction in physical dimensions.

      I, and probably most other users/IT depts do not care if one RAM module is soldered.

      The TrackPoint is a must. I agree the build quality has reduced *somewhat* over the years and it is disappointing. But in its class the range I've used (and procured for others) is right there in the top for value for money IMO.

      The change from a real keyboard to a chiclet one, a size thing, is my biggest gripe.

      The split of the battery, a size thing?, to removable+internal is a dubious one, will see if I ever get to use a unit long enough to need a battery change. I suspect changing the internal may be a pain.

      I loved the cylindrical batteries that are/were no longer available, so that's another minus.

      The case seems to be somewhat worse. But I have experience only with the PPS/GF lid models, no metal lids which may be better.

      It was an excellent decision to make FHD the base line screen, anything less is unusable. But they should've gone further and make the low-power version the base line.

      And a few issues specific to models I've used:

      - the plastic coating on touchpad flaking off, even though I never used it - T480, after about 1 year

      - the key "T" popping out partially when hit off-center - same T480, after about 1.5 year

      The drivers are mostly fine also with the exception of this TrackPoint issue that I've experienced on two brand new T14.

      All in all I think the company has the least issues with these laptops. Mostly they just work and don't break the bank. Lenovo System Update is lightweight and avoids all junkware. It is still a workhorse, one of the least bad ones.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: One of the least bad ones

        "I suspect changing the internal may be a pain."

        Most business grade Lenovo laptop batteries are very easy to change/replace. Some models, like X1 have an odd connector that is non-intuitive to remove and, if you don't do it carefully and note HOW it came off, is a pain in the arse to get back on. Using too much force can break either or both of the battery connector and the motherboard connecor. Anyone coming across one of these, DO have a look on Youtube for a video. The static images in the manual don't really show the method very well.

        In most models, including your T14, the battery has a slide in connector. Sometimes they can be a bit tight. I find it best to remove the 3-5 battery screws, there's enough slack in the cable to lift/slide the battery from under any tabs then rotate it around the cable axis so you can get a "spread" grip across the whole width of the cable and ease it out. I also find it easier to put it back using the reverse of that method. Most times, the connector slides out fairly easily though.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Lenovo Thinkpad computers are worse each generation but the trackpoint is still one differentiating factor."

      Typing this on a Toshiba which has a trackpoint. Work laptop is an HP with a trackpoint. Often work with Lenovos too, also (obv!!) have trackpoints :-)

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Lenovo is crap

    I have a Lenovo laptop where the trackpad just plain doesn't work at all now.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Lenovo is crap

      Neither does mine - I disabled it.

  11. hoschi

    I had this problem on the T14. In my case Windows Update installed a wrong mouse driver from a different vendor.

    Once deinstalled everything runs like a charm again.

  12. Bill Gray

    A Windows-only problem?

    Not trying to start the traditional OS arguments here. But if this is also afflicting Linux and/or *BSD users, it's presumably not a driver problem. (And if it only afflicts certain forks of Windows -- say, Win10 but not Win7 -- that would be interesting to know.)

    1. Apprentice Human

      Re: A Windows-only problem?

      I'm on a P73 and it's fine under Ubuntu 20.04. :-)

      1. mmm-mmm-mmm

        Re: A Windows-only problem?

        T420 w/ Linux and no problems here either :-)

    2. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: A Windows-only problem?

      Is it really supposed to affect such ancient models? Anything older than T14 had been ok for me, it is only the two later generations of T14 where I had the problem.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A Windows-only problem?

      I've been out to a few for repair. On running the Lenovo diagnostics tool, they work. It's a Linux boot image provided by Lenovo. It then works in Windows. Next time I see one come in like that, I'll test it and confirm it really doesn't work in Windows first, then run the official diags, It may be something getting corrupt in the chippery and maybe the Windows driver doesn't do a proper initi and assumes it's in a known state while maybe the Linux driver does a full init on the device at boot.

      Unless anyone reading has a non-working trackpoint and wants to try booting a live Linux image and see what happens.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Lenovo forum has a workaround for this problem: a program that forces a re-scan of the Synaptics controller or something. See https://broken-trackpoint.com/

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