How-To Geek

How Can I Disable Windows 8 Swipe Gestures On My Laptop?

If you’re not a fan of the touchpad-based swipe gestures in Windows 8 there is a way to completely disable them and reclaim your touchpad.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader Matsemann is less than thrilled with the swipe gestures on his Windows 8 laptop:

I have an ASUS G75VW laptop with a Synaptic touchpad (/trackpad). When I move my finger from one edge towards the middle (the swipe), Windows 8 will bring up different stuff.

This is a problem because the area where I can actually move the mouse with my finger is too small (or, I mostly use the top left of the touchpad). So I often end up doing a swipe and bringing up some menu, or to do the swipe so slow that no menu is appearing but the mouse pointer is also not moving when I move my finger. Quite annoying.

When swiping from left edge it earlier swapped apps like crazy. I disabled that, so now it only brings up the same menu as pressing win+tab (or some times the charms bar, I never know which). I could change that by:

Win+I → Change PC settings → General → When I swipe from the left edge, switch directly to my most recent app.

I’ve tried Mouse settings in Control Panel, driver settings for my touchpad and searching for swipe and gestures on my computer (which was what led me to the setting above) with no luck.

How can I disable the swipe gestures, or change what they do?

We can certainly empathize, touchpads are fussy enough without extra functions layered on top of them.

The Answer

Several SuperUser contributors explained how they were able to disable the swipe gestures using various laptop-manufacturer provided tools, but contributor Daniel B. offers a registry-based solution that should work for any laptop with a synaptic touchpad:

Doing this involves editing the registry, it is recommended to do a manual system restore point before doing this.

You will need to make a file called gestures.reg, open notepad and paste the following:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Right Edge Pull]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Left Edge Pull]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Right Edge Pull Extended Zone]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Top Edge Pull]

Save this file somewhere, with the .reg extension.

Now run it, some warning boxes may come up, you will need to press Yes when they do, after the operation has finished, reboot your PC and they should now be disabled.

If you want to re-enable these gestures, then you will need to do the same but use the following text when saving the file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Right Edge Pull]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Left Edge Pull]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Right Edge Pull Extended Zone]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Top Edge Pull]

If you’d like to disable specific gestures or otherwise edit the swipe gestures, it’s recommended to do so via manufacturer supplied software tools. Check out the full discussion at SuperUser for insights from other contributors into individual laptops.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/24/13

Comments (11)

  1. mike

    Yet another reason to NOT buy windows 8

  2. Duh!

    Here’s another idea: DITCH WINDOWS! Or possibly consider downgrading to 7 or even Vista if you are somehow a slave to the mindless corporate world.

    But if you REALLY like things that work AND don’t like the outrageous costs then you may want to consider a BSD or even a Linux alternative. If you ask me, the one “gesture” we should all be giving to MicosApple is our middle fingers by not willingly buying their (bloated/insecure) junk!

  3. Zakariah

    Just go to search > settings and type synaptics then click synaptics touchpad and disable what you want don’t listen to those dudes

  4. Bugger

    Windows 8, the worst operating system Microsoft has tried to push on the public in modern history. I 1have to admit, I did buy a copy but I’ve since removed it and went back to Windows 7 Pro. I can’t stand all those little boxes.

    Some guru at Microsoft must have said, “I know what we’ll do, lets make a new OS and call it Windows 8. We’ll then change how you do everything to using your dirty index finger. Of course you ‘ll have to buy a new touchscreen computer to use it but that’s ok, the hardware vendors will love us.
    Then we come up with non productive ways to do tasks we use to could do by simply moving the And if anyone can somehow figure it out, IT’S JUST WINDOWS 7 WITH A NEW WRAPPER. STUPID PEOPLE WILL BUY ANYTHING NOW DAYS, JUST SPIT IN A PAPER SACK AND THEY’LL BE WAITING IN LINE TO BUY THEM.”

  5. Knows Better

    If Windows 8 is so great, then why do we see endless ways and discussions on how to fix it so it works like Windows 7? Example: In this discussion we see “How can I disable Windows 8 swipe guestures on my laptop.”

  6. tecn0tarded

    do you really think that people who confuse ram with a hard drive can really do this? superusers have to come down a few notches to normal everyday users.

  7. Blue over Windows 8

    You say “Go to the search and do this and that.” I can’t even FIND the SEARCH function anymore! I hate this program! How do I find where to search? I cannot believe how difficult that have made this. EVERYONE HATES WINDOWS 8!!!

  8. Justin

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about. If windows 8 is somehow HARDER for you, then I suggest maybe you’re not capable of basic problem solving or understanding how to adapt to minor changes in the appearance of things. No features have been removed, and the core OS is infact more secure and streamlined. I hardly see the “annoying boxes” unless I want to. and the ‘Search function’ is just always on in the start screen. no reason to “find the search” just start typing. This stuff isn’t that hard to figure out. your new computer told you all the new ways to use the start screen when you turned it on. if you were paying attention it was right there.

    Some people are so stupid. I swear. Complaining about everything just because they can’t think for themselves.

  9. Justin

    One more thing.. why not just get a mouse if you’re so bad with a trackpad?

  10. krokkenoster

    The reason why I am busy collecting the drivers etcetera for UBUNTU 12 I am sick and tired of the problem of INCOMPATIBILITY when I went to an “Micros**t engineer ” he just told me ‘” WELCOME TO THE CLUB” and then he handed me an original copy of UBUNTU.LINUX
    HOW’S THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. VG

    For the less technically savvy Dell users:

    * Point your mouse in the bottom right corner of the screen, and the menu for settings will come up

    * Select Settings

    * Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers

    * Right click on the laptop picture and select Mouse Settings

    * Click on Dell Touchpad, and in that screen select the link that says “Click to change DellTouchpad settings”

    * Go to Gestures

    Swipe options are listed on this screen.

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