Some experience with Synaptics' Touchpad

Definitely proof of very stubborn Synaptics developers.

Some experience with Synaptics' Touchpad

By Puck Meerburg

You know what’s useful? Touchpads. You know what’s not? Shitty drivers. This blogpost, sadly, is about the latter. Synaptics’ touchpad drivers, to be precise. These drivers have several issues which annoy me to no end.

Note: This is all on Windows 10, with the newest drivers and other updates, so that isn’t the problem.

First of all, the default settings are sort of stupid. It basically enables tapping (which is annoying), has the bottom right corner set to right-click, and ignores tapping/clicking on the outer border of the touchpad. I don’t like these settings, so they get changed. However, they don’t save! Once you reboot it’s back to painful defaults.

Next, if I try to click while moving the cursor, it seems to ‘smartly’ move the cursor back a bit, so it clicks where you ‘wanted’ to click. Sadly, this is 100% inverse to how I use touchpads, so I keep misclicking because of this behaviour. (Who thought this was a good idea?) But the worst part is the scrolling behaviour. It is 100% inconsistent, and has basically two ways of working:

  1. Win32 - if a Win32-based app is front, it just emulates a scrollwheel. This is okay, but not perfect.
  2. UWP - if a UWP-based (or ‘store’ app) is front, it emulates a touch screen. A touch screen. I cannot fathom the developers there thinking ‘hmm, we need smooth scrolling, also we hate standards. Let’s just emulate a touch screen! :D’. But sadly, it is true. If the cursor is on a checkbox or something, it actually gets ‘selected’ for one frame or so, before scrolling happens. And if the cursor is above another (non-front) window, it behaves as if I tapped it on the touch screen.

I am just wondering why people think this kind of drivers is acceptable. I mean, it isn’t as if Microsoft actually made a multitouch touchpad specification. Okay, something to make scrolling suck less in existing devices. Or maybe some recommendations for touchpad designers.

You know what? I give up. Synaptics, fix your shit.

Bonus fun facts:

  • “For consistency and sustainability, touchpads should not change the wheel behavior for Windows Store apps or controls.” Guess what, this does happen. Yay.
  • “Microsoft recommends that a Windows 8 touchpad support a simulation of the high- resolution mouse wheel to provide a smooth and natural touchpad experience.” - Haha, guess what? Nope.
  • “The touch injection API (the InjectTouchInput function) is designed for remote desktop and the touch emulator in Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, but it is not suitable for Windows 8 touchpad implementations.” - ‘Fuck you, we’re Synaptics, we can do what we fucking want!’