3 Ways to Disable Windows 8 Gestures

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windows 8 logo   3 Ways to Disable Windows 8 GesturesWindows 8 is full of gestures and shortcuts. In addition to touch-screen gestures, there are swipe gestures you can perform with your laptop’s touchpad and mouse gestures that involve moving your cursor to the corners of the screen. However, there are ways to disable Windows 8 gestures. This is particularly useful if these gestures get in your way while using your touchpad or mouse.

Disabling the gestures can be useful if you accidentally trigger them while using your touchpad or if the app switcher and charms bar keep appearing as you move your mouse around the desktop. You can disable a Windows 8 device’s touch screen entirely, too — we don’t recommend it, but it’s something you can do if you want.

Disable Touchpad Gestures

Windows 8’s touchpad swipe gestures are particularly useful on laptops. They mimic touch-screen gestures, giving you easier access to Windows 8’s essential features. For example, swipe in from the right on a touchpad and you’ll see the charms, just as if you had swiped in from the right on a touchscreen.

Unfortunately, while these gestures can make it easier to get around in Windows 8, they can also just get in the way. If you find yourself accidentally triggering these gestures when you’re only trying to move your mouse cursor around, you can disable them.

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Open the Control Panel, click the Hardware and Sound category, and select Mouse under Devices and Printers. Click over to the Device Settings tab (you should see this if you have a Synaptics touchpad driver installed), click the Settings button, and uncheck the Enable Edge Swipes option. Click OK to save your settings.

You can also disable them via the Windows registry — you’ll find instructions for doing so in our in-depth look at Windows 8 swipe gestures.

hand on laptop touchpad   3 Ways to Disable Windows 8 Gestures

Disable Charms and App Switcher Hot Corners

Windows 8 also allows you to access the app switcher — which only works with Modern apps – and the charms by moving your mouse to the corners of the screen. These clunky mouse gestures can get in the way, too — you may find yourself accidentally pulling up the charms bar when you move your cursor to the top-right corner of the screen to press a desktop window’s close button, for example.

Luckily, many third-party programs can easily disable these hot corners. Install an application like Start8, Classic Shell, or one of the many other Start menus for Windows 8 and you’ll find options to disable these hot corners. You can still open the app switcher or charms by pressing the appropriate keyboard shortcuts — Windows Key + Tab or Windows Key + C — but you won’t be able to open them with mouse gestures.

classic shell disable hot corners4   3 Ways to Disable Windows 8 Gestures

Third-party apps aren’t the only way to disable these hot corners. You can also disable them by editing the registry and changing a few registry values. The third-party apps make this easier, as Microsoft decided to bury these options deep in the registry and make it hard for average users to disable the hot corners. Most people should stick with the above solutions rather than editing the registry.

First, open the registry editor — press Start, type regedit, and press Enter. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\

Create a new key named EdgeUI under the ImmersiveShell key. Under EdgeUI, create a new DWORD value, name it DisableCharmsHint, and set its value to 1

To also disable the app switcher hot corner, create another DWORD value, name it DisableTLcorner, and set its value to 1

Your changes will take effect immediately, so you won’t have to reboot or log out after doing this.

disable hot corners in windows 8 registry   3 Ways to Disable Windows 8 Gestures

Disable the Touch Screen

You can also disable touch gestures and the touch screen entirely, if you really want to. If you have a Windows 8 device that supports touch, disabling the touch screen is actually a fairly bad idea — you’re giving up a feature that allows you to interact with Windows 8 much more easily. As Microsoft says, Windows 8 is a “touch-first” operating system. Nevertheless, you may want to disable the touch screen for certain rare reasons — perhaps the touch screen is faulty, creating “ghost” presses that send input to the computer when you’re not touching it. If your device is out of warranty and the touch screen is causing problems, disabling it completely will fix the problem.

You can disable the touch screen from the Control Panel. Open the Windows Control Panel and click the Hardware and Sound option. Select Pen and Touch, click the Touch tab, and uncheck the Use your finger as an input device checkbox. Click OK to save your settings.

lenovo ideapad yoga 13 ultrabook review 12   3 Ways to Disable Windows 8 Gestures

You can also open the Device Manager, locate the touch-screen device in the list of connected devices, and disable it from here. This will prevent Windows from using the device at all until you re-enable it, so the device won’t be able to send Windows any input signals. We don’t recommend doing this, but you can if you want.

Do you find the touchpad and mouse gestures useful on Windows 8, or do they just get in the way? Leave a comment and let us know whether you’ve disabled Windows 8 gestures or whether you use them frequently.

Image Credit: Hand on laptop touchpad via Shutterstock

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15 Comments - Write a Comment

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Tampn

Windows 8.1 will have a option to disable certain ones.

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roger s

I wish your simple procedure for disabling swipe gestures in Windows 8 worked as universally as you imply. A few months ago I saw the identical recommendation at another tech site, but as it turns out, only certain brands of computer allow it to be carried out. My brand, Lenovo, which does have the required Synaptics Touchpad, has only one option under Mouse Settings–to disable it. There’s no mention of “Enable Edge Swipes” for me to uncheck. I recall that when I read the original article a few months ago, there were quite a few comments from grateful swipe-gesture-haters, but all had other brands of computer than Lenovo . God, was I envious!!!!

Jordan

Roger S,

Did you ever find a way to disable the gestures? I’ve got a Windows 8 Yoga 13 tablet with a user who needs to draw. Two fingers to scroll is killing him and I can’t figure a way to disable it.

Thanks,
Jordan from Texas

roger s

Jordan from Texas,

Your question, did I ever find a way to disable the gestures?, is a more complicated one than you may realize. First of all, we have to distinguish between the swipes that I so despise and other gestures. The two-fingered scroll that you’re concerned with is definitely NOT a swipe and thus would not be disabled by any procedure that eliminates the swipes.

As to whether I found a way to eradicate those abominable swipes, the answer is “yes, but I’m afraid to use it”. Early on, a couple of tech sites outlined a very elaborate, multi-step procedure that involved going into the dreaded registry and altering it by copying and pasting some very carefully designed new instructions. However they cautioned that before doing anything you must create a restore point “just in case”. The combination of the complexity of the procedure, the unerring precision with which it had to be carried out, the unofficial status of the people doing the advising (this was not the Microsoft website), and the fact that they emphasized the need for a restore point “just in case” made me feel it was too risky to try it.

Benjamin

I have a lenovo laptop (Thinkpad T430s) and I seem to have found it. Under UltraNav on the mouse properties menu, I went to the touchpad settings. From there, it’s one of the options under Application Gestures.

roger s

Benjamin, with the greatest eagerness I sought “UltraNav” on the mouse properties menu, with visions of salvation from swipes dancing in my head!! But alas, the Computer Jesus has once again said to me: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire!

Though I have a Lenovo, it’s the IdeaPad Z580, and lacks what your Thinkpad has.

And here’s a really infuriating note. I happened to be on the phone with Lenovo a few months ago because of a different problem, and I mentioned the swipe atrocity and asked if they could resolve it for me. They said “Sure, we’d we happy to”–for about $100!!!!!!

Reply

Ian

Thank you so much. I hate Windows 8 with a passion and one of the biggest reason were the charms popping up whenever I used the mouse. It’s so much better now.

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Terence Clark

There are plenty of ways to get to every single last option offered in the swipe menus, charms menu, etc that don’t force their way into my user experience. They offer precisely zero efficiency for me and, in fact, are the number one reason I swear at my new laptop.

I’m sorry but there are no benefits these options offer that aren’t readily available through the standard folder-style interface or the Start8 menu I installed within minutes of finishing the basic setup of Win8. The “Modern apps” are not “modern”. They’re just apps, like every other application I’ve ever installed on a Windows operating system since 3.11 and every application I had on my Apple OS (not MacOS, AppleOS) in the 80’s. They’ve taken a standard, vanilla app and repackaged it in an infinitely more irritating and less usable package. How is a less flexible interface that forces me to lay out my user experience exactly how Microsoft says I should have it an improvement? How is something that pops up whenever I make routine touchpad movements or navigate to common portions of my screen more efficient? How are the depressingly limited set of functions with no labels and an annoyingly cartoony appearance more powerful?

Microsoft has had a long standing tradition of thinking it knows what I want and being 110% wrong, every…single….time. So I appreciate the attempt at a ‘modern interface’, but knock it off. I will give them credit for bewilderingly painful consistency. Thanks guys.

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Alexander

THANK YOU SO MUCH OH MY GOSH

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Mark

Windows 8 is an abomination. If I wasn’t forced to upgrade by needing newer versions of software for work. I wouldn’t touch the thrice cursed thing. Everything I do on it, it fights me. Install software and get a message telling me that it might install a server. It better had, it is a server I am installing. Those damn gestures are the reason I now have to carry a mouse with me, and disable the touch pad. Still damn annoying when you stray too close to a danger zone by, say moving to the close icon of a program.

Thanks for the info on disabling I might be able to use the touch pad again.

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Frank

Agreed, windows 8 is a nightmare! I have an Ipad that is a lot more user friendly to touch commands. I understand you can’t be all things to all people, but somehow apple has figured out how to keep nuisances minor and acceptable whereas Microsoft hasn’t. It all looks great, but once you start using it’s like driving a car without shocks! When I swipe the screen in windows 8 there seem to be 2 or 3 commands competing. Not a particular fan of apple, but at least they got their user interface figured out.

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Armani S. Valtier

That was very easy and it only took a second to disable the “hot corners” using regedit instead of installing third party software and making my computer think more!

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erik

It does not work on my Sony VAIO. I am a programmer with Linux but have trouble dealing with MS crap but I promise I did everything according to the book. The registry settings were able to disable the top right corner from causing the charms to come out but the right to left swipe is still getting triggered on my touchpad. I tried to find settings for it in the synaptics as other users mentioned but my model does not have the settings to disable this… What a nightmare. I am going to just install windows 7 on this laptop so I can get back to trying to run a business rather than working weeks on end to remove this and about 30 other productivity killing bugs. Attention anyone looking at Windows 8.. Wireless networking sucks on Sony VAIO atleast. Even buying extra adapters does not fix this. All other devices in my house are connected while this one is limited connection no matter what I do. I have purchased new WiFi devices such as Netgear to make sure it was not my comcast wireless router, purchased adapters to override vaio factory out of the box adapters and still wireless is not dependable. Just stay with the older OS and wait for microsoft to fix all these issues… Windows 8 is a sandbox! Seriously! If you run a business do not purchase this. If you just browse the internet and nothing else then its fine.

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erik

Maybe the fix is to find a way to fry the right portion of your touchpad so it does not work. Heck I will give up some real estate and cut off my arm to save my body. Maybe its about time we stop giving this company our hard earned money.. They seem to not care about our productivity.

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Becky

when i move across the touchpad windows 8.2 decides to open a random app and switch to it, doesn’t happen with a USB but there are some cases when a USB mouse can’t be used. I’ve disabled all the edge options i can find in mouse setting and alas it still happens every time i move the mouse

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