Hi, most probably you are refering to the built-in touch pad on the laptop, because a mouse is actually an external device, which can also be used on a laptop. But, I am presuming that you are refering to the touchpad, rather than a mouse, since it is a laptop.
There are 2 possibilities :-
1) there my be a hardware failure, as far as the touchpad component is concerned. And how do you find this out ?
Is your duaghter's Dell Laptop still covered under Hardware Warranty from Dell ? If yes, then call Dell Hardware Technical Support 1-800-624-9896 (24/7) , (I am presuming that you are in the US) and they would diagnose (at no charge) whether there is any hardware failure with the laptop's touchpad component. If there is, then Dell would send you a technician and get it replaced.
If your daughter's Dell laptop does NOT have a Hardware Warranty, then Dell Dell Hardware Technical Support would charge you US$ 59.00 as a diagnostics fee, to provide phone support, in order to diagnose if the touchpad is defective or not.
Incase your daughter's Dell laptop does NOT have a Hardware Warranty, then try what is mentioned in point # 2 below, before you spend US$ 59.00 as a diagnostics fee.
2) The second and most likely reason for the issue is that the settings for the touchpad have been changed. You can get the settings corrected using the Dell Touchpad Utility. If you are using vista or windows 7, just type in " Dell Touchpad Utility " in the start search option, by clicking on the windows start logo on the left side of the taskbar, open the Dell Touchpad Utility, and correct the settings, for example, right click may be disabled, etc.
You may even re-install the driver for the touchpad, by going to www.support.dell.com
, click on support for home users, Drivers and Downloads, then enter either the service tag of the Dell Laptop or select the model, you will get a concise list of drivers for your specific product model : from there, download & re-install the touchpad;s driver listed in Input Device Drivers, after which reboot the laptop and the issue most probably should get resolved.
It would have been nice to know the exact model of the Dell Laptop and the Operating System that is running on it.
But, please do try the above and I hope the issue gets resolved.