Google Chrome Touchpad Scroll Not Working SOLUTION


Two fingers on a laptop trackpad using the scroll gesture
I use and love Google Chrome. It is my favorite web browser and my default program for web browsing. 

Unfortunately, I’ve had some trouble with it recently, and it has caused me such frustration that I considered switching to an alternative such as Mozilla Firefox

I think I have found the solution to the problem, though!

Description of the Problem


I primarily use Chrome on my laptop, and I have become accustomed to using the tracking pad’s touchpad gestures. I use two fingers at once to scroll down pages. 

I sometimes use other people’s laptops which don’t offer that gesture, and I quickly realize how much I like that feature. 

On my own laptop, in Chrome specifically, I will sometimes lose the ability to two-finger scroll. I will be on a page, I will have two finger scrolled some ways down the page, and then suddenly it will stop working. The computer won’t be frozen, I will be able to click the arrows at the right-hand side to scroll the page, I will be able to click and drag on the slider, and I will be able to use the URL and back buttons. It is only the gesture that seems to have stopped working. 

The very temporary solution I found has been to switch tabs or windows. It is only a problem while I am in the current window. As soon as I click onto another tab, then switch back, it will work. It only works for another few minutes, at which time I will have to repeat the tab switching method. 

This has been frustrating me to no end, but I’ve found the solution (at least the solution for my particular instance of the problem).

Solution


The solution is wildly simple, but easy to mess up. 

Close all tabs and windows in Chrome. 

I had tried that many times, and I’m sure you have too if you are reading this article for the solution, and it doesn’t work. 

It isn’t that simple. 

Let me explain to you why it works, and how I was messing it up for so long.

I have a bad habit with web browsing. I have too many windows and tabs open all the time. I am reading something, see a link to another page I’d like to read, so I right-click and open that link in a new tab, and then continue on with what I’m doing. 

Before too long, I’ve got 27 tabs open. I switch between them and leave them open for future reference even after I’ve finished reading them. Its definitely something I should work on. 

Digital hygiene is not taken seriously by many people today, and I am one of them. 

I should make better use of bookmarking and future reading lists, but because I don’t, I caused my Chrome glitch. Each of those pages potentially has a long history (I could click the back navigation button loads of times before I reach the original page it was opened on) and takes up a lot of memory or CPU or RAM (I’m not super techy, so I don’t know exactly what, but I guess I could accurately call it “resources”).

When I would close all tabs and windows in Chrome to restart and update the app, in hopes of solving my problem, I would immediately upon reopening Chrome, go to the menu, go to history, and choose “Restore Recently Closed Tabs”. 

Screen Capture which shows how to navigate to Restore Recently Closed Tabs option in Google Chrome


I would do that for each of the windows I had closed. 

Restoring those tabs and windows also brings with them all of their browsing history. I was negating the entire purpose of closing the tabs and windows.


To really fix the problem, I had to go through each of my open Chrome windows, go to menu, go to bookmarks, and choose “bookmark all open pages”. All of the pages I had opened to reference later were then stored in a neat folder in my bookmarks manager. 

Screen Capture showing how to navigate to the Bookmark Open Pages option in Google Chrome


I then wished those tabs the best luck on the other side and closed them all for good. 

When I opened Google Chrome then, I would not restore anything from history, I would simply navigate to any page I needed in the moment. 

This totally solved my problem. 

I have not had the two finger scroll gesture malfunction since. I am still a bit messy with my open windows and tabs, but I no longer let the mess build up for months, only days. 

Now that I am aware of how much of a problem my lengthy browsing history causes, I will sometimes randomly close everything and re-navigate to the place I’m at so that it starts over from zero. 

And just to be clear, I didn’t delete my browser history or cache or cookies or anything like that (I’ve never deleted any of that since I got my laptop). That wasn’t what was causing the problem. Somehow there is a difference between active history within a browser tab and the total list of URLs you’ve been to which are stored in your browser’s history.

I love that Chrome has the option to “Restore Recently Closed Tabs”. It comes in handy when Windows decides it needs to restart to update and chooses to initiate the restart without your active input. Other than for accidental closures of Chrome like that, the “Restore” option shouldn’t be used. Don’t make it a routine part of your Chrome usage.

TL;DR


To solve the touchpad scrolling error in Google Chrome, bookmark all open tabs in Chrome that you care to revisit at some point, and then close all tabs and leave them closed. 

Open a new Chrome window and only navigate to what you need when you need it. Do not have over 20 tabs open at once (not an exact number, just illustrating a ridiculously unnecessary number of tabs), and purge tabs as you finish using them. 

Do not use Chrome’s “Restore Recently Closed Tabs” after every closure of Chrome. 

Scrolling problem solved!

Conclusion


This scrolling problem really bothered me for months, far too long, and I was so excited to have finally found something that worked to solve my issue. 

I browsed help forums and Google product pages looking for solutions and didn’t ever find this or anything with this thorough an explanation, so I decided to provide it for others. 

I hope that this solution also works for you! 

And remember to actively pursue healthy online habits and digital hygiene!



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