Most laptops come with touchpads that let users control the mouse cursor and buttons on the device. Newer versions support even more features, usually in the form of taps, drags or other gestures.

While that is handy in situations where no mouse is connected to the device, it may not be required or even desirable when a mouse is connected to the laptop.

Touchpads have come a long way, but they may still interfere with specific activity on a machine. You may move the cursor accidentally for instance while typing, or they may interfere with games that you play.

Usually, it is better to use the touchpad or a mouse, but not both at the same time. While you may only use the touchpad and no mouse at all, you may prefer to use a mouse for some activity. If you ever tried to play a first-person shooter with a touchpad, for instance, you may have come to the realization that this does not work well at all quickly. The same may be true for other activity such as using image editing programs, or working with files in Explorer (e.g., drag and drop).

Disable the touchpad on mouse connection on Windows 10

windows 10 touchpad mouse

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system gives you control over the functionality of the PC’s touchpad when you connect a mouse. The default setting keeps both enabled so that you may use the touchpad and/or the mouse at the same time.

You can have Windows disable the touchpad if you connect a mouse, however. Here is how that is done:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application.
  2. Go to Devices > Touchpad in the Settings window.
  3. Remove the checkmark from “Leave touchpad on when a mouse is connected.”
  4. Exit the Settings app.

Windows 10 will deactivate the device’s touchpad automatically whenever you connect a mouse to the device. Note that you can disable the touchpad completely in the Settings as well. This is usually only an option if you have a mouse or other input device connected to the device at all times as you’d be stuck with the keyboard only otherwise.

Note that connecting a mouse means either connecting it via USB or with a dongle if a wireless mouse is used. Windows recognizes the dongle as a mouse, even if you don’t use the mouse or have it nearby. It is necessary to unplug the dongle to have Windows 10 enable the touchpad on the device after you make the change in the Settings application.

Tip: You may find the option in the old Control Panel as well if you run a different version of Windows. Go to Control Panel > Hardware & Sounds > Devices and Printers > Mouse, and select the last tab of the Mouse Properties window.  The name of the tab may be “Device Settings”, “Elan” or something else. Locate “Disable when external USB pointing device is plugged in”, “Disable internal pointing device when external USB pointing device is attached,” or a similarly named preference and check it.

Now You: Do you prefer to use a touchpad or mouse?

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