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Setting Up Multitouch Trackpads in Windows 8

Windows 8 is the first major operating system (OS) for any computer that is designed specifically for a touch-based device. Windows 8 is heavily based on the earlier release of the Windows Mobile operating system, with the strong utilization of tiles and other displays to easily locate information on the device. However, while the new OS is designed to work with touchscreen devices, laptops still require the use of trackpads in order to perform a variety of selections. Because of this, it is necessary to know how to alter, enable and configure the utilization of the trackpad on a Windows 8 computer.

Also, keep in mind that the below instructions are for a modern, multitouch pad, and won’t work on older trackpads.


To begin, open the Trackpad Settings shortcut on your Windows desktop. Once there, click Input on the left corner. This brings up the keyboard and trackpad information into view. On the input tab you need to move the slider to either on or off, in order to turn on and enable the trackpad on the Windows 8 computer system. This enables the trackpad and allows you to begin using it on your computer.

Note that the above instructions work for most models of trackpad, but your manufacturer may have a different configuration method. Check your laptop’s documentation for more information.

The Windows 8 trackpad configuration.

Trackpad Gestures

You are also able to alter the gestures on the trackpad, depending on what you want the trackpad to do. In the same Settings window as above, on the top of the screen, there are three options: scroll speed, double click speed and pointer speed. If you find the scroll features of the touchpad move either too fast or too slow, you can change this feature. You can also control how fast the touchpad double clicks, and how fast the pointer moves and responds to your gestures with the Pointer Speed option.

Finger Commands

One Finger Commands

From there, on the left side of the screen you can alter the features of one-finger, two-finger, three-finger and four-finger gestures. With one-finger gestures, you have the ability to tap, drag and drop and scroll. You can either select or deselect these options, depending on what you like with the device and what’s comfortable. The drag and drop and scroll features both have additional settings you can change, which are located to the right of the listings.

Two Finger Commands

With two-finger gestures, you have the ability to tap, scroll, zoom in and out and rotate. Again, just check off what features you do and don’t want. The tapping and scroll features both have additional options listed to the right of the settings, should you want more options made available to you.

Three and Four Finger Commands

As for three-finger and four-finger options, there is only one feature available for each. both the three and four-finger options have a swipe feature that can be configured on and off, depending on what is desired.

If you have found that these features are not currently on your Windows 8 computer (at least not all of them) you need to download the latest Elan or Synaptics drivers onto the computer system. Once you have downloaded the driver to your computer, you just need to follow through the installation prompts in order to complete the installation process and wait for the computer to restart. Then, you’ll be able to alter the Windows 8 trackpad configuration and start using the hardware as you truly want to use it.

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