Easily Fix These Common Windows 8.1 Frustrations

Chris Hoffman 01-07-2014

Windows 8.1 can be frustrating to use. No, not just because of how different it is — Windows 8 was very different, but Windows 8.1 shows Microsoft becoming more reasonable Windows 8.1 Update Is Here! What It Is & How To Get It Now Curious about the latest Windows 8.1 Update or not sure what this is about? KB2919355 is a cumulative update that comes with useful features. It can also be removed in case it causes issues. Read More . We’re talking about blurry text, laggy mouse pointers, touchpad issues, and SecureBoot problems — good, old-fashioned Windows annoyances 10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now We make do with Windows, but it isn’t perfect. In fact, Windows computers can be extremely annoying. They’re full of all sorts of annoying features that just get in our way and slow us down,... Read More .


Blurry Text

Windows 8 has improved support for high-resolution displays — also known as high-DPI displays, because they have a larger number of dots (or pixels) per inch. Many Windows 8.1 laptops and tablets are now including these high-resolution displays, which make text easier to read and offer better image quality.

Many Windows desktop applications don’t properly support Windows’s display scaling, so Windows 8.1 includes a solution — if a program doesn’t support the native display scaling, Windows just doubles its interface in size. This ensures that the program’s interface isn’t tiny. This doubling makes text blurry in such applications.

If text is blurry in an application, you can right-click the application’s shortcut and select Properties. (If the application is on the taskbar, right-click the taskbar icon, right-click the application’s name in the list, and click Properties.) Under the Compatibility tab, enable the “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” option for that application. Close and reopen the application — text won’t be blurry anymore, but the application will appear smaller.

windows 8.1 fix blurry text in application

Laggy Mouse Pointer

Windows 8.1 changed how mouse input works. This leads to a laggy, stuttering mouse pointer in some PC games — especially older games How to Run Old Games & Software in Windows 8 One of Microsoft's big strengths -- and weaknesses -- is their focus on backwards compatibility. Most Windows applications will work just fine on Windows 8. This is especially true if they worked on Windows 7,... Read More .


To fix this issue, you’ll need to install update 2903939 from Microsoft’s website. This update automatically fixes the issue in some popular games. Run the Fix It tool from that web page to fix the problem for a specific game if the problem isn’t automatically fixed after you install the update.

windows 8.1 reduce game mouse lag

Touchpad Not Working

Windows 8.1 finally has integrated touchpad controls, so you don’t have to locate a manufacturer-specific touchpad control panel whenever you want to manage your touchpad. You can disable your touchpad from here — so, if your touchpad isn’t working at all, it may just be disabled.

To check for this, open the PC settings screen — press Windows Key + C or swipe in from the right, tap Settings, and tap Change PC settings. Navigate to PC and devices > Mouse and touchpad and ensure the Touchpad option is enabled.


Touchpad Gestures

Touchpad gestures can be obnoxious if you don’t use the new Windows 8.1 features. Swipe your finger in from the right and the charms bar will appear — it’s nice and fluid, but it can just get in the way if you only use the desktop and never want the charms bar to appear.

This option can be disabled on the touchpad settings screen, too. Disable the Enable swiping in from the left or right edge option.

windows 8.1 touchpad settings

OneDrive File Issues

Windows 8.1’s integrated OneDrive cloud storage system 5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1 OneDrive can be a blessing or a curse. It's deeply integrated into Windows 8.1. You'll either want to get the most of it or disable it completely. We can help with both. Read More  tries to be smart. Rather than syncing all your files to your computer, it uses a “smart files” system. Files aren’t actually stored on your PC until you open them or tell OneDrive to store them offline.


This can cause some issues. OneDrive may download too many files you don’t need, taking up too much space. Or, OneDrive may download too few files and you may find yourself unable to use those files while you don’t have an Internet connection.

Recent updates have provided Windows 8.1 with more integrated OneDrive options. You’ll see a cloud icon in your system tray if OneDrive is enabled. Right-click it and select OneDrive Settings. You’ll be able to configure how OneDrive works from here. Select “Make all files available even when this PC isn’t connected to the Internet” to always store all OneDrive files offline, or select “Make all files online only” to free up disk space and remove all copies of OneDrive files from your device. Be sure to run Windows Update and install the latest updates if you don’t see these options.

windows 8.1 update onedrive control panel

“SecureBoot Isn’t Configured Correctly”

Secure Boot is a security feature that protects Windows as it boots. It ensures that only verified code can boot, protecting the system against rootkits and other malware The Complete Malware Removal Guide Malware is everywhere these days, and eradicating malware from your system is a lengthy process, requiring guidance. If you think your computer is infected, this is the guide you need. Read More  that might try to interfere with the boot process and load before Windows. If Secure Boot is disabled, you’ll see a “SecureBoot Isn’t Configured Correctly” message on your desktop.


You can re-enable Secure Boot by entering your PC’s BIOS, looking for the Secure Boot option, and enabling it. Microsoft recommends checking your manufacturer’s documentation for information about accessing its BIOS or UEFI settings screen. However, you can generally access the BIOS on new Windows PCs How to Access the BIOS on a Windows 8 Computer Windows 8 simplified access to the BIOS. Instead of key combos, you can just use the Windows 8 boot options menu. Read More through the advanced boot options menu.

If you just want to hide the message without enabling Secure Boot, you can install update 2887595 from Microsoft. This update hides the message from the desktop.

Touch-Optimized Features

Windows 8.1 has many features that make the most sense on a tablet. This includes the hot corners that activate the apps switcher and charms bar when you move your mouse to the top left and top right corners of your screen.

Such features can be disabled from the taskbar’s properties window. Right-click your taskbar, select Properties, and use the options under the Navigation tab to configure how your system behaves.

taskbar and navigation properties windows 8.1

It’s Not a Bug, It’s a Feature

All of these frustrating features can also be useful. The display-scaling feature that leads to blurry text also makes small buttons easier to click. The change in mouse input handling improves battery life. The touchpad toggle gives you a way to turn off the touchpad, while the gestures allow you to access the new charms and app switcher more easily. A Secure Boot warning can be a security feature that informs you if SecureBoot was switched off. OneDrive’s smart files can save local storage space on your device. Even all those annoying touch-first features are nice on a tablet.

Which other Windows 8.1 features would you rather see disabled?

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans on Flickr

Related topics: Microsoft OneDrive, Windows 8.

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  1. Laurel
    December 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    For those whose TouchPad Settings doesn't exist...I had to do this the hard way. I went to control panel and searched for "touchpad". Then I clicked on Synaptics clickpad.

    I wanted to remove the double click feature, so I then unchecked "double click".

  2. Anonymous
    August 30, 2015 at 2:20 am

    Slobby advice. Followed all the directions, but my touchpad is nowhere to be found. I don't get it. is it not suppose to be better ?

  3. Anonymous
    July 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I had to download Windows 8.1 and now I have 2 problems;
    1. The wifi doesn't work anymore it says it's limited but with a cable it works fine, does anyone know how to fix this
    2. My mouse stops working it works for like 5 min and than it stops working for at least an hour. In games, google, desktop everything. I tried changing my settings nothing. I unplugged the USB for the mouse and re plugged still nothing. Anyone same problem or knows how to fix it?

  4. Anonymous
    July 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I have an HP windows 8.1 laptop, and the mouse freezes every 10-20 seconds for anywhere from 30 seconds to many minutes. neither the touch pad or optical mouse respond, and it's not just in games, win 8 doesn't play any of my old games anyways, I can't even navigate around the screen when nothing is going on. I have installed updates it worse. I recently did a factory restore, hoping I could get it back to fresh out of box, since it worked better before the updates, but even that hasn't worked and I am unable to use the computer for anything but a paperweight. HELP!

  5. Anonymous
    July 11, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I bought a new dell inspiron 5558 laptop. In starting, there were no issues. But, after few days touch pad is troubling. It freezes suddenly while using and unfreezes after some time(sometime never until reboot). External mouse works absolutely fine but touchpad is troubling. I performed system diagnostics but found no hardware issue. To remove software issue, i did system reset, but still problem persists. I guess it is something related to windows 8.1.
    Please help.

    • Anonymous
      August 9, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      Hi, i have a dell inspiron 5558 laptop too, but i have windows 10. My problem is that multi-touch is not working at all because i cannot find drivers for it. Could you please tell me what make is the touchpad ? (Synaptics ?)

  6. Anonymous
    July 4, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    im sorry sir. my touchpad settting just went missing, i have tried to follow your step to identfy why my touchpad stop working, but the setting for the touchpad was not there. can you help to identify the way to solve this problem asap. thx in advnce

  7. Betsy Bryant
    May 31, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I can't get to the sub menu, I'm in the PC and devices menu but can not move over to the right where the settings are. HHHHELLLPPPPP

  8. Mushtaque
    April 29, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Thank you so much man. I was stuck for a long time with the default touchpad and all i had to do was enable it.

  9. CraftyMaelyss
    March 30, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Okay so I also have a touch screen computer(MSI all-in-one touchscreen gaming PC) and my kitten leaned against the screen. I have Google Chrome open and the mouse doesn't work on there at all now. She did something so that the webpage doesn't respond to the mouse at all, though it still responds to me touching the screen. I had to open a new window to find how to fix the problem but so far nothing's come up.

    I can't close the other window because it has important info that I really cannot lose, so how do I get that webpage to recognize my mouse?

  10. JoshuaLtd
    March 18, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Just to clarify:
    The USB port works fine with other devices. There are 3 USB ports on machine, all of them work with other devices but none of them let me access my WD external hard drive.

  11. JoshuaLtd
    March 18, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Recently installed Win 8.1 on Dell E6500, previously Vista Ultimate. Now can't access my WD Elements external hard drive. I can see it, it shows fine in disk mgmt, it is healthy etc. Just when I try opening it it says "G is not accessible". What may be the reason? The WD works fine on my other machine on XP, also on my friend's 8.1. Is it about my Dell drivers somehow?

  12. Josh
    March 13, 2015 at 2:37 am

    I suddenly have this issue where my mouse just kinda pauses, not just in game but on desktop as well. Started happening after this latest update and I don't know whats going on.

    • Frustrated with mouse
      March 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      I was having the same problem and I unplugged the USB mouse controller and plugged it back in. Now I think the problem is fixed. Thank goodness. Very frustrating.

  13. Sania
    March 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    please help with the touchpad issue. It freezes once windows are loaded.

  14. Lynnsey
    March 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I keep getting the issue where my laptop keeps loading to the desktop even after I disabled that feature. Is there anyway to stop this from happening?

  15. Sam
    February 27, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    After I install Windows 8.1, I could not use "COPY" option thru mouse, but if I can do thru "EDIT" (menu bar).
    Please help me about this problem.

  16. Drew
    February 20, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I was recently forced (not asked, but forced) by windows 8 to update to 8.1... which was the beginning of a long list of problems. Now aside from the many problems I have with my OS forcing me to upgrade from a stable working build to a broken one, and the many problems that move started, I ALSO have a MAJOR problem with assholes offering to help people 'easily fix' the problems, only to see a lengthy rant on how those issues are not really issues at all. YES THEY ARE! The fact you have to explain away or excuse them should tell you that much...

    Its Not A Feature, Its Unmitigated Bloatware Crap.

  17. Zach
    February 16, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I have a Notebook pc and when i login to my laptop the screen is dark and only updates appear and the cleaner pro. How do i fix this?

  18. Mobeen
    February 11, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Hello > Thanks . It is very helpful :)
    I want to ask you a Question . in my laptop Win 8.1 is installed
    Every time i right click it takes atleast 8-12 Seconds to load . any solutions ? :(

  19. Stan Chraminski
    January 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I'm looking at how to disable the application or menu key as I hit it accidentally all the time and lost a lot of work. It's the one that looks like a lined pad, and under the shift key so easy to hit when I don't want to. I never use it either so want to turn it off for good. Any help appreciated.

  20. Ananda Krishnan M
    January 19, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    windows 8.1 for PC is automatically sleep and don't respond

  21. anonymous
    January 8, 2015 at 4:21 am

    My touchpad or the app switching or the swiping from left or right isn't working and i have all of them enabled... What happened?? This is so frustrating how do i fix it???

    • anonymous
      January 8, 2015 at 4:31 am

      okay i fixed it now just the touchpad issue ugh

  22. Anonymous
    January 4, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Sorry, about the duplicate posts... 8.1 was lagging on mouse position and clicks... nothing is fixing this on my brand new hp with all updates and patches installed from both microsoft and hp.... very sad indeed!

    • Frustrated with mouse
      March 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      How did you fix the lagging mouse. I have tried changing mouse settings and nothing is working.

  23. Anonymous
    January 4, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    8.1 nothing but trouble... I mean how can using the mouse or a pad become so infuriating! it's been perfected since the 80's and it's still a problem for 8.1!

  24. Anonymous
    January 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    8.1 nothing but trouble... I mean how can using the mouse or a pad become so infuriating! it's been perfected since the 80's and it's still a problem for 8.1!

  25. Anonymous
    January 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    8.1 nothing but trouble... I mean how can using the mouse or a pad become so infuriating! it's been perfected since the 80's and it's still a problem for 8.1!

  26. Arlene Torres
    January 2, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I just updated to windows 8.1 from my windows 8 and now when laptop turned on it said that it didn't have speakers connected and it keeps switching from the start screen to the home screen and I can't do anything about it. I already tried restarting it but nothing works! How can I uninstall it? PLEASE HELP

  27. John J
    January 1, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Hi, a new Dell Windows 8.1 high spec laptop. Even from when just having started up the laptop and everythin is loaded, I acnnot get ControlPanel to display any items.

    I am right click on the "window" icon and get the Control Panel option the old fashioined way (nice), the Control Panel window opens but remains blank and then the laptop stuck with that circular icon as if it is going to open the folder...but never does.

    This has happened on opening some other things too but appears to have gone away...not seeing Control Panel content within the window is frustrating.



  28. Mar
    December 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Hello. I am using Windows 8.1 and am having a problem with a software program that I hope you might be able to provide some direction on.

    Essentially, when I open the program I get a prompt that says "It appears that you aren't connected to the Internet. To use this program you need an active Internet connection. If you are connected to the Internet check your Internet Explorer proxy settings."

    I AM connected to the Internet and my connection is active. I have gone to IE to check for proxy and they appear to be alright although I don't know if I checked them in the correct manner in order to make a definitive determination. I would love to use this program but keep getting this prompt. Any ideas as to how to solve this problem? Thank you.

  29. Anders
    September 10, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I have disabled OneDrive integration at all and use an alternative client for OneDrive called SyncDriver (

  30. Nate
    August 6, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Running Windows 8.1 with screens 1-3 extended....with the third being the projector in my classroom. The mouse pointer icon appears fine on both laptop and desk screen, but when dragged to the projector screen, it becomes a blurred box (same size as icon) but when right clicked and held it shows briefly as the pointer icon..then reverts to the blurred spot.

    Any suggestions. Tried modifying the image, trail, scoll settings..but no luck. Even pointer type does not correct the problem.

  31. Ouroborous
    July 4, 2014 at 2:08 am

    I haven't had any of the problems discussed in this article.

    As a convert to OS/2 from about 1993 to 2003, I became very anti-Microsoft. When IBM and Serenity Systems stopped meaningful support of OS/2, I tried different versions of Linux a number of times and wasted a lot of time trying to configure windows managers and applications and hardware interfaces to work the way I wanted them to. I got tired of that and have been using Windows since XP through 8.1. I haven't had any significant problems at any point.

    People get very invested in their system of choice and like to rag on big companies with successful products.

    One of the reasons there are a lot of reports of problems with Windows is that the user base is over 1 billion, with more than 110 million on Windows 8, whereas there are only around 20 million Linux users, according to the estimates I have found. More users equals more users with potential difficulties. No big surprise.

    When I moved from Windows 7 to Windows 8 after much fear and trepidation about the Metro/Modern Start Screen, I immediately installed a good third party Start Menu and Taskbar and migrated seamlessly. Maybe one day I'll join the hoidy toity Mac or Linux crowd, but I haven't had a need to do so yet. And I did just read the MUO Ultimate "Should I Use Linux" Checklist and most of the comments.

    Windows has met my computing needs just fine for the last 10 years.

    • Tina S
      July 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

      You make some great points. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  32. Christopher S
    July 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I feel Microsoft has way too many ideas and not enough time. When they roll out something like Vista or 8, it feels like they are using the public as a way to test the changes. The only problem is that the general public PAYS for essentially a broken or half baked product.

  33. Ken
    July 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Many situations like moving a window require a click at the top of the window which then causes the window to become full page when all I wanted was to change its position. Going to full page on some mouse clicks seems to be a default that I can do without.

  34. John L
    July 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I use 8.1 Update on all of my computers with no issue. I should point out that every one of them has Classic Shell installed. I do not use the Metro/Modern interface as it provides nothing. The apps I have tried are rubbish, very slow to load and nowhere near as good as the desktop versions. I have disabled Onedrive on all of the computers as it interferes too much. When I want something backed up I will back it up myself. I always install two hard drives and copy over the stuff I think is important like documents and photos so it is safe. Sometimes I back up online but not through Onedrive as I admit I have never spent long enough on it to understand it and have no burning need to do so. I look at computers as devices that work for me. Whenever I feel that that is not the case things get changed hence Metro/Modern being "lost". If I could get rid of that interface completely I would as it serves no useful purpose.

  35. Paul Tobeck
    July 3, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Not sure what happened between Windows 8 and 8.1, but Windows 8 was fine for me until the upgrade, now Chrome and Opera both are horribly slow and Chrome and Inkscape freeze regularly, especially if the computer goes to sleep. This is the family laptop, a Samsung Series 3 with a Core i3 and 4Gb of RAM, not killer specs but should run Chrome and Inkscape without issue, and now it doesn't.
    Any ideas? I'm guessing it's a memory management issue, but not sure. It could also be an issue with all the Samsung bloat hogging more resources, but it doesn't appear to be by the looks of the running processes.

  36. Rik
    July 2, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    I have been a Windows user since the early 80's and have never had a serious problem with it. I recently updated my laptop from windows 8 to 8.1. Windows 8 I have been running a little over 6 months with no problems. Since the update to 8.1 it has been one problem after another. Each update to 8.1 has caused a series of problems. My most recent is with my wi fi. Windows won't recognize my network. I never lost a connection in 8. Now I have to spend two or three days to get my connection back. Sometimes for a day or two sometimes it will work for weeks. Restore points disappear, and a myriad of other problems occur. I am going back to Windows 8 until Microsoft finishes this OS. If I am going through this much of a learning curve I will switch to Linux.
    Good article enjoyed reading
    Thank you

  37. Ruppert Wahner
    July 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Remove the cloud completely, The cloud has caused me nothing but problems the biggest being that it deleted my complete music collection of 57,000 files. It started to upload my music collection automatically l drive where I kept it and wen I cancelled the upload it deleted the entire collection past restore.

  38. Brent Jones
    July 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Use Classic Shell to make Win 8.1 look more like Win XP. Most people know XP.

  39. Don Ebberts
    July 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I think Windows 8.1, I never used 8.0, is just fine...after I installed Classic Shell and got completely away from the Metro or Modern Apps. Trying to force phone apps onto a PC was just dumb. They are hard to find and slow to load. The only App that I use is Skype, and that is only every other week or so. If someone was buying a new PC, I would recommend 8.1, even if they had the option of 7.

  40. Debra C
    July 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Even with the latest 8.1 Update installed, and a default to desktop elected, Microsoft moves forward on the presumption that StartMenu versions of applications are desired. There should be a way, with one click, to default to desktop versions of programs rather than having to make individual election or getting stuck in the StartMenu version of ... lets use Reader as an example. This is especially annoying since that bug keeps re-appearing that disables right click and the (new) bar at the top of the screen that facilitates close (the iteration of this bug that appeared a couple weeks ago requires disabling OneDrive sync to fix).

  41. John Hall
    July 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Useful article - although my version of Windows 8.1 - fully updated does not have the touchpad "swiping from left" enable/disable options. One thing I would dearly love to see is some coherent information on is why the CTRL+C and CTRL +V commands are now so flaky. In 9 cases out of 10, the text or image copied is lost without trace and I have to go back and copy it again!! Judging the forum comments, I am not alone. Anyone have any ideas please?

    • Richard B
      July 2, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      I have mine updated all the way, and I don't see the swiping in option either, though my touchpad does do it. I'd rather turn it off, because it gets annoying when I accidentally swipe in and it brings stuff up. At least I'm not the only one.

  42. John W
    July 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I have disabled all the new Windows 8.1 features by sticking with Win 7.
    Roll on Win 9 - you know they only get every other one right.

  43. Michael Mehsling
    July 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I currently have Windows 8.0 and since I changed from Windows 7 Ultimate cannot read my USB backup drive. Ideas!?!