Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I get hardware not directly supported by Windows to work?

I am currently using a Dell Latitude laptop that I purchased second
hand. It had no OS on it at the time (and therefore no documentation) and I
installed all software from scratch. Currently running Windows XP pro.

The machine has the traditional dual stick and touch pad combo. What I
would like to know, is there a way via the software to disable the touch pad? I
find it gets in the way more often than not and the stick is far more
convenient to use. It is especially annoying when I use an external mouse. If I
bump the touch pad, I loose mouse control for a few moments.

I have tried going into mouse settings via the control panel, but there
is nothing to show that it recognizes more than one pointing device.

Windows supports an amazing amount of hardware right out of the box, but it
can’t support everything. That may mean that some hardware works, but not all
the features are available.

The solution’s typically fairly easy.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

The stock answer is to go to the manufacturer of the hardware you’re dealing
with, and see if they have drivers specifically for it. Normally those drivers
will include additional functionality not present in the generic drivers that
come with Windows.

In your case I would search the Dell website for drivers specific to your
laptop. Dell does a good job of keeping drivers on their web sites for most of
their models. I’d expect that they will add the functionality you’re looking
for. Start here at at the Dell Support
Site
.

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips & a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

NOW: name your own price! You decide how much to pay -- and yes, that means you can get this report completely free if you so choose. Get your copy now!

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.