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touch pad acting wacky

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I have a Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop. About a year ago or so, my touch pad quit working properly. When I would drag the mouse and then let go, it would jump back as if on an elastic cord. It would also wander all over sometimes. It got so bad that I had to disable the touchpad and use a mouse.

I had written Dell and they told me how to adjust the sensitivity, how to reinstall drivers, etc. After trying everything to no avail, Dell and several other "computer experts" told me that my touch pad had gone bad and needed replaced. I ignored them and continued to use the mouse.

About four months ago, my computer crashed and I had to reformat the hard drive and reinstall everything. To my surprise, the touch pad worked just fine when I did this. About two weeks ago, the touch pad began to act screwy again and I am back to using a mouse.

Any ideas? I hate to reformat everything again. I've run Avast and there doesn't seem to be any viruses, although my computer has been running very slow and when I try to install software, it takes forever or freezes.

Virus or hardware?
Thanks for any help!!!
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