Can’t Click On Anything In Windows? Try These Fixes

Navigation of a GUI-based OS such as Windows is very limiting, if not impossible, without a mouse or a touchpad. You can’t conveniently perform any operations if you’re unable to click on anything. 

In this article, we explain in detail the probable culprits and troubleshooting methods for such errors.

Why Can’t I Click on Anything in Windows

Some errors prevent you from even moving your cursor. Others may only disable clicking but still allow movement.

There are a few possible reasons for both types of errors. Some of the likely causes include:

  1. Windows Explorer crashes
  2. Bugs in pointing device drivers
  3. System file corruption
  4. Pointing device disabled in settings
  5. Interference due to third-party applications or services

How to Navigate Windows if You Can’t Click Anything

Before moving on to the solutions, you might want to look at ways to use the keyboard to navigate through Windows GUI.

Using the Keyboard

It is possible to use the keyboard to navigate a GUI. The main keys you use are Tab, Shift, Spacebar, Enter, and direction arrow keys.

Tab - Takes cursor to the next tab stop
Shift+Tab - Takes cursor to the previous tab stop
Direction Keys - Moves cursor around the same section
Enter - Select highlighted choices. Sometimes it can also select 
choices while hovering the pointer above them.
Spacebar - Check/uncheck options. Sometimes it can also select the choices.
Shift+F10 - Perform a right-click on the highlighted section

Enable Mouse Keys

Windows also has an option for directly moving the pointer with the keyboard. You need to enable it from the control panel. 

  1. Enter control in the run tool (Windows+R) to open the Control Panel. control-panel-ease-of-access
  2. Go to Ease of Access > Ease of Access Center > Make the mouse easier to use. Use the arrow keys for navigation and Enter for selection. make-mouse-easier-to-use
  3. Use the arrow keys until you highlight Turn on Mouse Keys and press Space. turn-on-mouse-keys
  4. You can go to Set up Mouse Keys to change its settings. Use Tab for navigation and Spacebar to check/uncheck the options. Then, select Apply and Ok to make changes. mouse-keys-settings
  5. Choose Apply and Ok again.

Now you can press Alt + Left Shift + Num Lock to enable and disable Mouse Keys. Use the 4,6,2,8 keys in the Num pad to control the pointer and 5 to click.

Fixes for Can’t Click on Anything in Windows

There are a few possible fixes you can apply when your mouse is not fully functional. Please follow these solutions in the order we have listed below.

Restart your PC

Please try restarting your PC before trying other solutions. Your system can fix minor errors during a reboot. 

Check Pointing Devices

The first step is to check your mouse or touchpad. Connect the mouse to a different system or try using another mouse on your PC. These steps will help determine if the problem is with the device or the system.

Also, some laptops have shortcuts to disable the touchpad in the keyboard. You can press the key again and check if your touchpad works.

You can also check and enable your touchpad in its settings. Follow these directions:

  1. Go to Settings > Devices > Touchpad.
  2. There may be a toggle switch to enable/disable your touchpad.
  3. Enable your touchpad if the switch is off.

You won’t be able to check it from the settings if your touchpad is on Basic mode. So, first, set it to Advanced mode from the BIOS. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Open UEFI Firmware Settings from the Windows Recovery En.
  2. Go to the Main tab and locate Touchpad and set it to Advanced.
  3. Save and Exit UEFI settings.
  4. Now you should see the option for enabling/disabling your Touchpad in the device settings. Enable it if it’s off.

Repairing or replacing devices is the only solution if they are defective. Please seek help from expert technicians to replace/repair your touchpad.

Troubleshoot Hardware and Devices

The hardware and devices troubleshooter in Windows fixes the minor errors on your peripheral devices. Running this tool may solve this issue in most cases.

Microsoft has hidden this troubleshooter in Windows 10 and 11. But it is still possible to launch it by using Command Prompt. Please follow the following steps to do so:

  1. Enter the run tool, paste msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and press Enter. It will open the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter.
  2. Select Next to run the troubleshooter. hardware-and-devices-troubleshooter

Restart Windows Explorer

The Windows Explorer is the program that provides GUI functionality to your Start menu, Taskbar, Desktop, and File Manager. When this program crashes or freezes, you won’t be able to interact with anything on your PC with a pointer.

Restarting Windows Explorer will fix the crashes, which may solve this issue. You can do so using the Task Manager in the following way:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Locate and highlight Windows Explorer under Apps. 
  3. Perform a right-click (Shift+F10) and choose Restart. task-manager-restart-explorer
  4. When you don’t have the Restart option, select End Task.
  5. Then, press Alt to go to File and select Run new task. Enter explorer.exe to run this program again.

Close Background App

Sometimes, a program running in the background can prevent you from clicking anything. It mostly occurs if you have minimized a full-screen app, but it still controls your cursor. So, you’ll be unable to make changes anywhere else.

To fix this, press Alt+Tab to return to the program and close it. You can do so by pressing Alt+F4 or from the task manager.

Repair System Files

System file errors and corruption may be possible culprits of this issue. Please scan for and repair your system files using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management and the System File Checker if you encounter this error. 

  1. Open the Run tool and type cmd. Then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open the Elevated Command Prompt.
  2. Type the following commands and press Enter for each:
    • dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
    • sfc /scannowRun Sfc Scannow from cmd

DISM can restore missing files that SFC doesn’t back up. It increases the success rate for SFC scan, so we recommend running the commands in this order.

Now, restart your PC and see if the issue resolves.

Update Drivers

Sometimes errors in the drivers for pointing devices and also display drivers may make it impossible to click with your device. You can try updating your drivers in case they are causing the issue. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Enter devmgmt.msc in the Run command to open the Device Manager.
  2. Expand Mice and other pointing devices. Now, select your pointing device, press Shift+F10 (right-click), and choose Update driver. update-mouse-driver
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Do the same for your display drivers.

Note: You should also update the USB devices under Universal Serial Bus Controller if you use an external pointing device through a USB port.

It is recommended that you download and install the display drivers from your motherboard’s manufacturer. The links to official sites are provided below:

Intel Graphics Driver
AMD Drivers

Uninstall and Reinstall Drivers

If your Drivers are fully updated, you can try reinstalling the drivers. Reinstalling may fix any issues on the drivers due to certain interference. Follow these instructions to uninstall the drivers.

  1. Launch the Device Manager and expand Mice and other pointing devices.
  2. Right-click on your device and choose Uninstall.
  3. Confirm for any dialog-box prompts.

Restart your PC. Your system will automatically install a missing driver.

Reinstall App Packages

Defects in some Windows Store apps like Cortana may also cause this error. They will likely prevent you from clicking anything on the Taskbar. 

You can check for all app packages and reinstall them to fix such problems. Please follow these directions:

  1. Press Windows+X and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  2. Paste the following command and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

Perform Clean Boot

A Clean Boot allows for starting windows with minimum drivers and programs. You can figure out which application or service is causing any issues in your PC during a clean boot. Follow the steps below to perform the clean boot.

  1. Open the System Configuration Utility. Enter msconfig in the Run tool to do so.
  2. Go to the Services tab. Here, check the Hide all Microsoft services option. 
  3. Now, Select Disable all to disable the non-Microsoft services. msconfig-services
  4. Go to the Startup tab and select Open Task Manager.
  5. Select each program in the Startup tab and choose Disable. Now, close the Task Manager. disable-startup
  6. Go to the Boot tab in System Configuration and check the Safe boot option.
  7. Click on Apply and Ok to apply the changes.

Then restart your PC. If you can click your pointer after a clean boot, some third-party applications may be responsible for the error. 

Systematically turn the applications and services from Taskbar > Startup and System Configuration Utility > Services and restart your computer. With this method, you can isolate the program or service causing this error. Disable or uninstall the service/program to fix this issue.

Scan for Malware

Some malware and insidious scripts can cause a lot of system problems. Make sure to keep your system protected with a reliable antivirus program. Also, we advise you to enable cloud-based protection if possible.

Please scan for malware with your antivirus program if you can’t click with your pointing device. It will fix this issue if some Malware is responsible.

Update your OS 

Systems updates fix bugs and provide new functions to your PC. It is better to keep the automatic update features enabled in your settings. Installing the latest updates may fix this issue. Follow the instructions below to do so:

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security. settings update & security
  2. Here, check if any updates are available. If they are available, click on Install now or Download. windows system updates install now

Uninstall Latest Update

Sometimes updates can introduce new bugs and errors to your system. If you experienced this error after an update, uninstall your most recent update to fix the issue. 

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security
  2. Here, select View update history and then Uninstall updates. view-update-history
  3. Scroll down to the Microsoft Windows section and look for the most recent update.
  4. Highlight it and press Enter. Then, confirm with Yes to uninstall the update. uninstall-latest-windows-update

Execute System Restore

System Restore resets your system to an existing restore point. Use this method if you have a restore point where this error was absent from your system. Follow the directions below:

  1. Enter systempropertiesprotection in the Run command. It should open the System Protection tab in System Properties.
  2. Select System Restore to initiate the process. system restore
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.

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