I’m using Windows 8 on my laptop and so far the experience is really good, except for some reason it thinks it’s running on a tablet. Not just the touch interface, but there’s even a pop-up “touch” keyboard icon on the Taskbar. Nice, but, um, I have a keyboard. How can I get rid of the keyboard icon entirely?
I know what you mean about Windows 8 really wanting to be on a touchscreen, and really being designed for tablets. In fact, if you use it for long enough, it actually makes you want a tablet so you can experience the full and proper design of the system. Well, maybe that’s just me, but still, it’s the most tablet-like, touch-friendly OS I’ve ever run on a non-touch device, for sure.
What’s cool with the pop-up screen keyboard in Windows 8 is that it gives you a way to do handwriting recognition. Couple it with a cheap input tablet and you could scribble away on a small metal plate and have it turn that into text with remarkable speed and accuracy.
But, um, that’s not what you asked me!
Turns out it’s something you can disable, but only once you realize that the touch keyboard isn’t a Taskbar icon after all, but a Taskbar toolbar. Seriously. Look…
Here’s the lower right of my own Windows 8 task bar:
The shortcut icons are helpful, with the flag indicating there are some system tasks I need to manage, the battery showing, well, battery life remaining, wifi network status and volume, left to right, along with time and date.
Click on the keyboard icon and a huge keyboard takes over the lower third of the screen:
See the keyboard key on the lower right? Click on it and you’ll see the various keyboard options available:
Left to right, it’s the full width keyboard, a split keyboard (more convenient for “thumbing” your data), the handwriting recognition subsystem and a button to hide the keyboard. You might poke around with them a bit just to see what they do.
Ready to get rid of the keyboard icon? Right-click on the Taskbar and a familiar Windows menu will pop up:
It’s not “Properties” you want, however, but “Toolbars”. Click on that and a second menu pops up, showing you what toolbars are installed and which you’ve enabled:
As you can see, I like things minimalist, so the only thing I’ve enabled is “Touch Keyboard”. That’s daft! To get rid of it, simply click on “Touch Keyboard” on this menu.
Underneath the fancy frosting, turns out that Windows 8 is in a lot of ways the same old Windows operating system we’re all familiar with. Poke around, experiment, you’ll be surprised how true this turns out to be…