It worked fine on Windows 7, but simply stopped working when i formatted my hard drive and installed Windows 8.1 32-bit edition.
The touchpad didn't even work during Windows 8.1 installation (I used bootable USB to install Windows 8.1) After the install, I downloaded and installed every single driver that there is on Dell Support website They all installed and worked perfectly without errors. Even the Synaptics Touchpad driver was installed without any error but the touchpad simply doesn't work.
In the device manager, under input devices, there is only USB mouse listed. That too disappears if I unplug the mouse from USB. Under "Other Devices" there are 4 unknown devices. I tried installing them by right clicking>update driver>search online but it fails. I even tried that hardware troubleshoot option which tries to find drivers online and install but that too failed.
So i ran the startup Dell Diagnostics, and the touchpad worked fine in the diagnostic screen. But soon as windows boots, it stops respoding like it doesn't even exist.
I also tried 'clean boot' (Disabling all non-microsoft services and startup programs, i even tried disabling microsoft services too!) but i didn't work.
So at last, i formatted the hard drive and again and installed same windows again, this time as a clean install. But then again, the touchpad didn't work.
So apparently i have already tried every option i could find on the internet and my touchpad still doesn't work. Infact my computer/device manager doesn't even know its there even after i install the synaptics drivers and chipset drivers and whatnot in any order.
Laptop: Inspiron 3542
4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Intel i5 4210 U
Windows 8.1 Professional 32-bit.