How to configure your touchpad in Windows 10

Whether you use a laptop, a 2-in-1 device or any other kind of mobile computer, you are also probably using a touchpad. Therefore, it is quite important that you set it up to work the way you want it. With Windows 10, Microsoft brought new configuration options for the touchpad. We now have options for handling simple settings like delaying the clicks when typing or advanced settings like touchpad gestures that trigger different actions. Of course, these depend on the specific hardware that you have and its drivers. In this tutorial we'll talk about how you can configure the way your touchpad works in Windows 10. Let's get started:

NOTE: This guide is designed for Windows 10 Creators Update, which is available to all Windows 10 users, for free, starting April 11, 2017. Previous Windows 10 versions that were released before this date don't have all the features that we present in this tutorial, while newer versions do.

Different types of touchpads

Microsoft divides the touchpads available on the market into two broad categories:

  • Precision Touchpads - are a new kind of touchpads that are designed for the latest computers and devices, which run on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. These types of touchpads support a variety of touch gestures that can help you to get around your PC more quickly. They offer a great user experience, but the downside is that they are not available on just any computer or device. To get all the gestures, features and options a precision touchpad can offer, Microsoft requires touchpad manufacturers to comply with a set of very specific hardware requirements. If you'd like to see these requirements, check this web page: Windows Precision Touchpads - Device Integration.
  • Normal Touchpads - all the other touchpads that don't fit into Microsoft's standards for precision touchpads. By default, these touchpads don't support Windows gestures and have fewer features and options available than precision touchpads. However, depending on the manufacturer and model of the touchpad, its drivers could include some functions that are found on precision touchpads.

As a rule of thumb, more expensive Windows computers and devices tend to have precision touchpads while cheaper ones will always have normal touchpads.

What kind of touchpad do you have?

Now that you know there are two types of touchpads, how do you know what kind of touchpad you have on your Windows device? To find out, you must first open the Settings app. A quick way to do that is to click or tap on the gear icon from the Start Menu or simultaneously press the Windows + I keys on your keyboard.

In the Settings app, click or tap on the Devices tile.

On the left column, click or tap to select the Touchpad.

Then, look at the right side of the window. If your computer or device has a precision touchpad, Windows 10 will clearly state that: "Your PC has a precision touchpad."

If your computer or device has a normal, old-school touchpad, rather than a precision touchpad, you won't see the statement above. You can see an example in the screenshot below.

How to configure your "normal" touchpad in Windows 10

If your device doesn't have a precision touchpad, then Windows 10 will only let you set the delay for the clicks you make on the touchpad, when typing. This is useful for all those times when you start typing on your laptop and accidentally touch the touchpad with your hands.

In such cases, you could find that the cursor moved and you're typing in wrong places. It happens to the best of us. :)

To avoid this, Windows 10 allows you to set your touchpad to have a Low sensitivity, Medium sensitivity, High sensitivity or have the Most sensitivity. That means the taps you make on the touchpad will have a long delay, medium delay, short delay or no delay at all. If you don't want to use this feature, the option you should choose to disable it is the one called Most sensitive, which means that there's no delay between the tap you make on the touchpad and its reaction.

By default, Windows 10 sets your touchpad to have a Medium sensitivity. If you have a traditional touchpad on your Windows 10 device, this is pretty much all that you can configure for it.

How to configure your precision touchpad in Windows 10

If your Windows 10 computer or device has a precision touchpad, things change a lot, and there are many more things to configure. In the next screenshot, you can see all the settings that you can configure for the precision touchpad found on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3:

The touchpad settings page is split into two main sections: Touchpad, Taps, Scroll and zoom, Three-finger gestures, Reset your touchpad, and Related settings.

Go to the next page of this tutorial to learn how to configure each type of setting.