Touchy laptop touchpad? Turn off 'tap-to-click'

Q. How can I stop the touchpad on my laptop from treating random taps as mouse clicks?

A. Most Windows laptops seem to come with this "tap-to-click" feature enabled on their touchpads. If you find this leads you to click when you don't want to, you can turn it off — after taking a few detours through Windows' interface.

First, open the Mouse Properties window. In Windows XP, go to the Start menu, select Control Panel, click "Printers and Other Hardware" and then "Mouse"; in Vista, hit the Start menu, select Control Panel, and click "Mouse" under its "Hardware and Sound" heading.

In that properties window, look for a tab not labeled "Buttons," "Pointers," "Pointer Options," "Wheel" or "Hardware," then click on it to see your laptop's specific touchpad settings.

On a Dell laptop, for instance, a "Dell Touchpad" tab led to a screen with a "Touchpad Settings" link, which in turn revealed a "Tap to Click" checkbox that a user could click to disable. On an HP machine, a "Device Settings" tab's "Settings ... " button opened a window in which a user could select a "Tapping" heading at the left, then click to clear its "Enable Tapping" checkbox.

Whether you like or hate tap-to-click, one thing's for sure: The people behind these settings screens desperately need to simplify them.

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