If you have a touch-enabled device for Windows 10, you might be wondering how you can enable and disable the touchscreen on your system. While it’s not immediately obvious, it is possible to toggle this feature. And you can even automate it with a shortcut!
Oddly, Microsoft doesn’t support this toggle with a handy option in the new Settings section. Nevertheless, with a bit of effort we can create our own, which will allow you to turn your touchscreen on and off in seconds.
If you have your own method to share on how to toggle the touchscreen, please let us know in the comments below.
How to Toggle the Touchscreen
Windows 10 doesn’t have a built-in method to turn your touchscreen on and off. Though unlikely, it’s possible that your system manufacturer has included its own software to help you manage the touchscreen; please refer to the guide that came with your system.
If the feature is missing, you need to use Device Manager to disable and enable your touchscreen. First, right-click the Start button or press Windows key + X to open the quick access menu. From here, select Device Manager. Alternatively, do a system search for this tool. A new window will open, which lists all the devices detected on your system.
Double click on the Human Interface Devices heading to expand the list of devices within. From here, right-click on HID-compliant touch screen and select Disable.
You will then receive a warning message, telling you that disabling this device will cause it to stop functioning. As this is exactly what we want, click Yes to proceed. The touchscreen will instantly be disabled and no further action is required.
If you want to turn the touchscreen back on, simply repeat the above process, but when right-clicking the touchscreen option you will select Enable. However, this may require a system restart to take effect.
Automate the Toggle Process
If you constantly need to enable and disable your touchscreen, it’s a bit of a hassle to keep going into the Device Manager. To combat this, we can create a shortcut, which will automate the process. It’s a bit complicated, so ensure to follow the instructions carefully. We have split up the steps to make it easy to follow.
1. Set Up Windows Device Console
First, you need to download software called Windows Device Console, or Devcon for short. Normally this comes bundled with Visual Studio Express, but that download is far too bloated for our purposes. Handily, joequery.me has kindly separated the software into a standalone download. The site is also where this process came from, so many thanks to them.
Once downloaded, unzip the folder. Navigate inside the Windows 8.1 folder (it works perfectly for Windows 10, don’t worry) and then into the folder for your operating system version, 32bit or 64bit. If you’re not sure which you have, check out our guide on discovering your bit version.
Now press Windows key + R to open Run, input C:\Windows\System32 and press OK. Then move the Devcon executable into this folder. You may have to provide administrator permissions to drag&drop the devcon.exe into the System32 folder.
Right-click devcon.exe, select Properties, head to the Compatibility tab and check Run this program as an administrator.
2. Find the Hardware ID
Next, press Windows key + X and select Device Manager. Then double click the Human Interface Devices heading. Right-click the HID-compliant touch screen device listing, then select Properties.
With the Properties window now open, switch to the Details tab. Using the Property dropdown, select Hardware Ids. The value of interest to you will be in the following format:
Leave this window open for now. We’ll come back to it in a moment.
3. Create a Batch File
Now open Notepad, which you can find by doing a system search. Paste in the following:
set "touchscreenid=ID_HERE" devcon status "%touchscreenid%" | findstr "running" if %errorlevel% == 0 ( devcon disable "%touchscreenid%" ) else ( devcon enable "%touchscreenid%" )
Switch back to the Properties window that we were using previously. Right click the relevant value and select Copy. Then replace ID_HERE in Notepad with the value that you just copied to your clipboard.
In Notepad go to File > Save As… and name the file touchscreen.bat. Save this anywhere you like; somewhere like your Documents would be a good place. What we did here was to create a simple batch file to automate a system process.
4. Create a Shortcut
We now need to turn this into a handy shortcut. Navigate to the file you just saved, then right click it and select Create shortcut.
Next, right click the shortcut and select Properties. Within the Target text field, place double quotation marks around the path. Then prefix it with cmd.exe /C. An example Target would be:
cmd.exe /C "C:\UsersJoe\Documents\touchscreen.bat"
From the Run dropdown, select Minimized so that Command Prompt doesn’t open each time you select the shortcut. Finally, click Advanced…, tick Run as administrator, then click OK and OK again.
You can also set up a keyboard shortcut that will run the batch file. Press the Shortcut key file and enter a key combination you can remember and that isn’t occupied, yet. Maybe something like CTRL + ALT + T.
And it’s done! Place this shortcut wherever you like, perhaps on your desktop or on your Taskbar. Simply open it and it’ll then enable or disable your touchscreen automatically.
If you’re having problems getting this to work, first reread the instructions and make sure you’ve followed every step and copied the correct ID. A small mistake can make the entire process break, so be careful. If you’re sure you’ve done it all properly and are still having problems, we can create two separate batch files – one for enabling and another for disabling.
First, follow the process above, but for step 3 paste the following in Notepad:
set "touchscreenid=ID_HERE" devcon disable "%touchscreenid%"
Replace ID_HERE as detailed above and save the file as touchscreendisable.bat. Then continue with the instructions above. When setting a keyboard shortcut, you can use something like CTRL + ALT + D. Now opening this file or using that shortcut will disable your touchscreen.
Next, create another Notepad file and paste the following:
set "touchscreenid=ID_HERE" devcon enable "%touchscreenid%"
Again, replace ID_HERE and save the file as touchscreenenable.bat. Then carry on with the instructions above. You can set a shortcut like CTRL + ALT + E. This file and shortcut will enable your touchscreen.
To summarize, rather than using a single script to both enable and disable the touchscreen, depending on its current state, we have split this into two separate scripts because the 2-in-1 solution might not work on every system.
Touch On, Touch Off
If you’ve used Continuum, the feature that allows you to switch between desktop and tablet modes, then you might have wanted to disable your touchscreen when in desktop mode. Or perhaps your system comes with touch abilities that you just don’t want to use. Whatever the situation, hopefully this guide has helped.
If you’re running a tablet on Windows 10 and are having problems with it, check out our guide on resolving tablet touchscreen problems to see if it’ll help before resorting to disabling it entirely.
Do you have your own method to toggling the touchscreen to share? Why do you want to disable your touchscreen?