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]
"ActionType"=dword:00000000
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Left Edge Pull]
"ActionType"=dword:00000000
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Right Edge Pull Extended Zone]
"ActionType"=dword:00000000
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Top Edge Pull]
"ActionType"=dword:00000000

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]
"ActionType"=dword:00000002
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Left Edge Pull]
"ActionType"=dword:00000002
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Right Edge Pull Extended Zone]
"ActionType"=dword:00000002
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synaptics\SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig\TouchPadPS2\Top Edge Pull]
"ActionType"=dword:00000002

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.