Advanced Touchpad Functionality Not Working
A laptop’s touchpad is no longer just a simple point and click device. As PCs improve over time, the capabilities of touchpads have increased drastically. You can now even customize the settings to suit your exact requirements, depending on the tasks you perform repeatedly.
Hardware manufacturers are constantly trying to outdo each other by adding new shortcuts and touchpad operations to laptops, with scroll, zoom, and tab-switching functions almost becoming standard features.
Regardless of which PC you’re using, Windows 10 provides built-in functionality for improved productivity included in the OS.
The above list of gestures will work on any Windows 10 PC that uses a touchpad. For instance, if you’d like to quickly switch between any of your open tabs, simply place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe right. It will open the “select focus” window.
To select a different tab, simply drag all three fingers right or left until you reach the one you want, then release to focus.
If you tried the step above and it didn’t work, you may need to enable the advanced gestures in Windows settings.
Firstly, if you’re asking yourself “why is my touchpad not working?” you may have disabled it using your Fn Key. The functionality is available for users who prefer to switch off the trackpad while writing documents or using the keyboard extensively.
To switch the touchpad off or on, find the associated Function Key and click it. The computer will show you whether you enabled or disabled the touchpad in the center of the screen.
Note that each manufacturer has subtle differences with how they layout the keyboard and Fn keys. So look for the key that has a similar icon as the image above.
If the trackpad setting is on, and the pointer is working but advanced features are still not available, you’ll need to check the hardware device settings.
- Hit the windows key and type “settings”, and then select the top result:
- From the Settings application, select “Devices”.
- Scroll down until you see the “Touchpad” section then click to access your settings.
From the touchpad settings window, you can access:
- Tap sensitivity settings that include Most Sensitive, or High, Medium, or Low Sensitivity.
- See how to use Windows Gestures with a step-by-step video.
- Get more info on your touchpad from Windows Support.
- Change advanced settings for your device.
- Request help or provide feedback to Microsoft.
To change your advanced touchpad settings, select the Additional Settings option from the Related Settings section.
Once you click on the Additional Settings option, your touchpad’s mouse properties window will open.
From this screen, you can see the touchpad status such as enabled or disabled. You can also see the current Synaptics version and the device’s port assignment. Keep in mind that this is not your USB mouse settings. However, some changes (such as modifying the scheme settings on the Buttons tab) will change both the touchpad and USB mouse settings.
If your device is disabled, click on Enable to activate your trackpad.
You can also change the settings for your clip tray behavior. This influences how the trackpad icon behaves.
- If you select “Remove tray icon from taskbar”, you will hide the device from the clip tray.
- If you select “Static tray icon in taskbar”, the device will be visible from the clip tray as a static icon.
- If you select “Animated tray icon in taskbar”, the device will show any activities performed in the clip tray as they occur.
Using the “Animated tray icon in taskbar” setting can help you troubleshoot specific failures that may be present. For instance, if only one of the device functions is faulty (such as left click operations), you can test each function and see whether the device registers the input. As touchpads are pressure sensitive pads built into the PC, different sections of the trackpad may fail individually.
There’s a wealth of different settings available from the Mouse Properties windows. You can use these settings to change your mouse’s behavior according to your own specific needs.
The Button Tab allows you to change whether your mouse should operate as a right- or left-handed device. This changes the behavior of the right and left buttons accordingly.
Note the difference in context and primary clicks between right and left-handed mouse configurations.
Additional settings include the double-click speed of the mouse button as well as click-lock, which will allow you to perform single click drag-and-drop operations.
From here, you can change the windows mouse behavior scheme, customize the mouse pointer, and enable shadow tracking.
On the pointer options tab, you can:
- Change the pointer speed.
- Enhance the pointer precision.
- Enable “Snap-To” to let the pointer automatically snap to the nearest button or option.
- Activate the display for pointer trails.
- Show or hide the pointer while typing.
- Show the location pointer while holding down CTRL.
On the wheel tab, you can adjust the vertical and horizontal scrolling options for your USB mouse’s wheel.
From the hardware tab, you can see all mouse devices (including the touchpad) connected to the PC. To access the hardware device properties, simply select the appropriate device and click properties.
If your touchpad isn’t working, from the Device Properties window, select driver and choose Update Driver from the list of available options.
Windows will prompt you whether you want to search automatically or to browse and locate the driver if you’ve already downloaded it from the vendor’s website.
Note that it is good practice to ensure you always use the latest driver from your device manufacturer. While drivers are stable, there are constantly new exploits and vulnerabilities detected and patched by OEM companies. Checking for an update regularly will ensure you don’t run into any unexpected behavior or device failures.
Once you’ve updated the driver, you can customize your touchpad according to your own requirements from the Mouse properties window by selecting “Settings.”
Depending on which type of device hardware you have and what driver you are using, you’ll have different settings and features available. You can play around with different settings according to your needs.
Note that you can activate or deactivate each of the Windows Gestures from this screen.
Select the Multi-finger tab to change Gesture Settings.
You can change gestures for two, three, and four fingers (if your device and OS supports these settings) as well as adjust sensitivity, speed, and zoom rate.
If you are not seeing the settings you expect, it is critical to verify that you are not using a generic driver for the device, as this will limit which features are available.
Instead of manually updating your drivers and risking device failures, you can use Driver Support to automatically catalog and update your PCs device drivers. Driver Support uses patented optimization technology to ensure your devices perform as required. Driver Support will scan your PC, notify you of outdated drivers, and once the software is registered even automatically update your PC’s drivers for you.
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