Cursor jumping involuntarily (both with touchpad mouse and external mouse)

Old laptop: Dell Inspiron 1501. Windows XP Home Edition
Recently the cursor was working properly both with touchpad mouse and with external USB mouse.
However recently it had been getting a little jumpy taking time to 'settle down'. Now however it is inclined to jump around a lot and will not go where I want it to go . I tried the following to stabilize it:
1. System Restore (no difference)
2. Removing Battery, pressing and holding stop/start button, reinserting battery and restarting (no difference)
3. Not using the battery. working on mains alone  with battery removed.(no difference)
4. Opened Device Manager and Mice extensions which revealed the touchpad mouse and the external one.. When I clicked on ''Synaptics... touchpad I got the error message:
"Unable to connect to the synaptics pointing device driver".  But when I clicked again the screen opened with usual menu.
I noticed under Device Status the message:  'the device is working properly'.
HOWEVER I also noticed that the 'Device Usage' box is blanked out with nothing in it (Usually this has a line saying whether the device is 'enabled' or 'disabled'.)
4. I updated the driver to be told that the existing driver was fine.
Michael MurphyAsked:
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epichero22Commented:
Have you tried uninstalling / reinstalling the driver from device manager?  Try doing that and restarting the computer.

Also, do a system file check: Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt -> type sfc /scannow
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Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
I uninstalled and re-installed  synaptic mouse  touchpad driver from device manager. Also ran the system check as advised.  However the problem remains.
Slightly better in that when  I click on ''Synaptics... touchpad' I no longer get  the error message:
"Unable to connect to the synaptics pointing device driver" and the screen opens directly. But the 'Device Usage' box is still blanked out (no text telling me the device is enabled or not enabled).

When I place the cursor on any screen and take my hand off the mouse , the cursor moves slowly  leftwards across the screen
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nobusCommented:
disable the touchpad and test again; it looks like a bad touchpad
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Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Can't find instructions for disabling touchpad on this old  model Dell Inspiron 1501 Windows Xp home
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nobusCommented:
from device manager - you should be able to do that by right clicking it
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Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Yes. I uninstalled the touchpad and the cursor is working perfectly with the USB Mouse.
Thanks Nobus. You are a star as always
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nobusCommented:
that's the first time i've been called that...tx; you just made my day!
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