Rationale

This wiki exists because of strange cursor behaviour on some of Sony's Vaio notebooks and a failure of Sony to publicly acknowledge the problem or supply adequate support for those of their customers who own faulty equipment. The dominant effect is for the cursor to be reversed in direction on boot or suspend-resume, but occasionally the cursor shows very erratic motion and phantom clicks. It appears to affect the Vaio SZ series most commonly, though they are not the only affected models. People reporting the problem to Sony support are asked to reinstall drivers or their whole OS. This often works for a short period, but is not consistent. Eventually, people return their notebooks for repair of the touchpad (the palmrest + touchpad are replaced together), with varying success, and some owners have had complete replacement of their notebook. The generally poor experiences that people have had with Sony support has led to this huge post on Cnet.

A number of proposals for the cause of and solution for random cursor motion have been made, the 2 main hypotheses being:

  1. Buggy drivers
  2. Hardware fault

The support for a driver issue arises because people note that their touchpad resumes normal operation after installation of a different driver. However, the cursor usually reverses again some time later, and no specific driver version offers a true fix. Drivers are unlikely to be the cause of the problem as it is observed on Vaios running both XP and Vista as well as Linux, and in both 32-bit and 64-bit mode. Drivers from alternative vendors are also affected. Something common to all the drivers is causing the problem, which must be the underlying hardware. Installing a driver is unlikely to be any more effective in fixing the problem than suspending and resuming - i.e. resetting hardware.

Evidence supporting hypothesis 2 is growing. One Sony tech support call (event number E36867458) resulted in the operator referring to an internal document that described the problem as resulting from the way the touchpad was mounted to the aluminium palmrest. This document was not to be distributed, and because of its existence, the call was not elevated to Level 2. One lucky person actually had the problem identified and corrected. One brave owner (Rdhogg99) removed their touchpad and insulated it from the palmrest with tape, with some success. Insulating the touchpad has proven to be a reliable and repeatable solution to cursor reversal, and instructions can be found here. In support of this hypothesis is an understanding that touchpads are very sensitive to their electrical surroundings (they work on capacitance) and that other Vaio owners experience electric shocks from the metal palmrest. Check out this analysis or search for sony vaio electric shock. It would seem reasonable that the shock issue is being resolved but that there is still a problem with charge in the palmrest.

It will cost Sony a lot of money if they have to do a recall because of faulty hardware, so it seems that they are avoiding public acknowledgement of the issue. However, most people just want the assurance that when they buy a premium notebook they get premium support, which they are not getting. If a particular unit is faulty, fine, replace it, we understand that things don't all come out of the factory perfect. But don't pretend there's no problem, do ineffectual interventions then when the notebook is out of warranty say, "sorry, can't help you any more".

If you have one of these notebooks with reversing cursor issues, please log your details here.

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