I have a nice new Dell laptop but am a bit frustrated by one thing: it’s the first computer I’ve owned where if I accidentally tap or touch the trackpad surface the computer thinks it’s a mouse click. Messes me up left and right. How can I disable this “tap to click” behavior on the Dell trackpad (touchpad? whatever)? Oh, and it’s running Windows Vista, if that matters.
I’m not sure when that started to be popular, but just about all trackpads now seem to have the ability to detect taps in addition to sliding fingers, so it’s quite common now to find computers – Mac and PC – that have the capability you’re talking about. Heck, on the latest Apple MacBook line, there’s no button at all: the trackpad is both the dragging and tapping surface. Definitely something you have to get used to, but once you do, it’s pretty cool.
So my first thought is that this might be a behavior that you just need to train yourself to work with rather than disable, so as you hop from laptop to laptop in future years you’ll be ready for the potential elimination of “mouse” buttons. I can’t say for sure that’ll happen in the PC world, but I certainly don’t expect any future Apple laptops to have discrete buttons to push for button behaviors in the operating system.
Don’t want to do that? That’s okay. As is typical in Vista, there’s a way to tweak what you want, but it involves a couple of steps…
First off, choose Control Panels off the START (uh, Vista logo) menu on the lower left of your computer screen:
You’ll now see the many, many different ways you can customize your Vista experience. You want “Mouse” settings (why there’s no “Mouse / Touchpad” or similar I don’t fully understand, just as it’s puzzling that there are Tablet options when my laptop isn’t a tablet and doesn’t support that functionality. That’s another story, though). You’ll be dropped here:
Not really what you want, but we’re getting there. Click on “Dell Touchpad” on the top left and you’ll find that this is all just an elaborate path to get to the special Dell trackpad/touchpad control app:
Click on the huge arrow icon and you’ll launch a separate application supplied by Dell that lets you gain complete control over the touchpad:
Almost there. Now click on “Touchpad Settings”.
There we go. Finally. See where it shows “Taps” “Tap to Click”? Just uncheck that box and click on “Apply” on the lower right and you’ve disabled the tap to click capability of your Dell trackpad. Close the windows and you’re done.
I’ll wrap up by suggesting again, however, that you try to get used to the feature now so you don’t fall further and further behind as PCs evolve with their user input devices. Good luck either way, though!