Try reinstalling the software that came with the laptop specific to the touchpad. It might be something like 'synaptics touchpad driver' in add/remove programs.
Try these cleaning steps off dell's support pages
- Shut down and turn off your computer, disconnect any attached devices, and disconnect them from their electrical outlets.
- Remove any installed batteries.
- Moisten a soft, lint-free cloth with water, and stroke it gently across the surface of the touch pad. Do not allow water from the cloth to seep between the touch pad and the surrounding palm rest.
I also read you have a little track stick above the B key. Try cleaning that also.
If the above fail, I would disable the touchpad and/or track stick see if that was the cause of the problem. See below for instructions.
In Windows 98 and Windows 2000
- Open the Control Panel window, and double-click the Mouse icon.
- Click the Touch tab (or the tab for the touch pad or track stick) in the Mouse Properties window.
- If you have a Synaptics driver for the touch pad and track stick and you want to disable the device, ensure that the touch pad or track stick (pointing stick) is selected first, and then click the setting to disable the device. If your computer is docked and is connected to a PS/2 mouse, the touch pad and track stick may be disabled.
- Select the desired settings and click Apply.
- Click OK to save the settings and close the window.
If that all fails as well, or if your touchpad when enabled causes the eratic behaviour, then it wouldn't be a suprise for that age of a laptop for things to start failing. Backed up your data recently?