One of the most annoying features of Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 are the touch gestures for indirect touch devices such as trackpads (touchpads). These gestures invoke various aspects of the Modern UI such as Charms, App Switcher, App bar etc. On the Desktop, these gestures aren't of much use and they often get triggered accidentally when you use your touchpad. Even if you disabled on-screen mouse pointer gestures for the Modern UI, which are triggered from hot corners, these annoying gestures remain enabled and popup at the most inopportune times. Let us see how to disable them.
The on-screen hot corners which open various aspects of the Metro UI can easily be disabled using apps such as Winaero Charms Bar Killer or Classic Shell. Even though Windows 8.1 comes with built-in options to disable the top left and top right hot corners, setting the options on the Taskbar Properties Navigation tab disables these features globally, even inside Metro apps. Instead if you use apps like Classic Shell to disable hot corners, they get disabled only on the Desktop but remain operational inside Modern apps and the Start screen, where they can be useful.
As for indirect touch gestures, Microsoft worked with various touchpad vendors to explicitly enable these in the drivers for these touchpads. There are multiple edge swipe gestures:
- Swiping in from the left edge of the touchpad towards the center shows the app switcher or switches to the most recently used Metro app
- Swiping in from the right edge of the touchpad towards the center shows the Charms
- Swiping in from the top edge of the touchpad towards the center shows the App Bar (if you are in a Metro app)
These third party touchpad drivers often integrate with your Mouse Control Panel, so that is where you must go to disable them. Open Control Panel (see how) and then open Mouse settings. There are multiple touchpad vendors and each vendor has its own settings UI to control these. Let us see how to disable these one by one:
- Click the Device Settings tab in the Mouse Control Panel.
- Click on the Settings button.
- Uncheck the option 'Enable Edge Swipes' and click OK.
Lenovo UltraNav touchpad
- Click the UltraNav tab in the Mouse Control Panel.
- Under the TouchPad section, click the Settings button.
- Expand the Application Gestures section and click on Edge Swipes.
- Uncheck 'Enable Edge Swipes'.
- Click the EdgeAction (TM) tab in the Mouse Control Panel.
- Uncheck the gestures you don't want (Left/Right/Top/Top Left EdgeAction), and then click OK.
- Click the ELAN tab in the Mouse Control Panel.
- Click the Enable Device button if that button is disabled, then click Options.
- Click Edge Swipe and disable them.
- Open Logitech SetPoint Settings.
- Click the section called Navigate Windows (with the icon of the black pointing hand)
- Uncheck any options you want. Only Switch applications, Show Charms and Show Windows 8 App Bar are 1-finger gestures, the rest are multi-touch so you are unlikely to trigger them accidentally. Click OK.
- Open the Mouse Control Panel and you will see the Dell Touchpad tab.
- Click the link called 'Click to change Dell Touchpad settings'.
- Another window will open. Click the Gestures section there.
- You can turn off the gestures you don't want individually or turn off gestures completely. Then click the Save button and close the window.
ASUS Smart Gesture touchpad
- In the notification area (system tray), click the icon for ASUS Smart Gesture touchpad. The icon may be hidden in the overflow area of the tray, in that case, click the tiny arrow and then click the icon.
- Click the Edge Gesture tab.
- Uncheck any options you don't want: Toggle Charm Bar (right edge), Toggle Menu Bar (top edge) and Switch Running Applications (left edge). Then click OK.
Often various hardware OEMs (Lenovo, Samsung, HP) rebrand these touchpad driver settings in the Mouse Control Panel so the exact name of the tab may be different. For example, if you have OEM drivers for the touchpad installed, then the tab may be named differently. But the settings UI should be more or less the same and it should be easy enough for you to figure where to disable these annoying swipe gestures. The touchpad settings will in a majority of cases be in either the Mouse Control Panel or in the taskbar notification (tray) area.
Finally, if you have a relatively new PC with a modern Precision Touchpad designed to work with Windows 8.1, then you can disable these gestures right from PC Settings.
- Press the Win + I keys together on your keyboard and click PC Settings. Go to PC and devices -> Mouse and touchpad.Tip: You can create a shortcut to directly open Mouse and Touchpad settings. See how.
- If you have a precision touchpad, then there will be options to disable those edges swipes/gestures there.
- Turn off the option "Enable swiping in from the left or right edge".
That's it. Now those touch gestures won't bother you any more. Works like a charm, oops, pardon the pun...actually it works quite unlike a charm! :)