Windows trackpads are one of the biggest criticisms that users have when it comes to modern laptops. Much of that disapproval is alleviated if PC manufacturers just utilize Microsoft's Precision Touchpad drivers as we routinely mention in our Windows Central laptop reviews.
Today, I'm excited to show you how to install and enable Precision Touchpad drivers on what should be any laptop that uses Synaptics or Elan drivers. Originally spotted on Reddit this quick guide will breathe new life into your premium Windows laptop.
To be clear, we are talking about a bit of a "hack" and not an official solution, so make sure to do a quick backup just in case.
What we are doing
Before we begin, let me explain how this all works. Precision Touchpads are a combination of a multitouch physical trackpad and the drivers that power the gestures and movement. Most high-end laptops use glass/metal trackpads with multi-gesture support.
Where they vary is the driver choice. HP, for instance, uses Synaptics for its Spectre series of premium laptops. Razer is using Synaptics on the 14-inch Razer Blade, but have switched to Precision drivers for the new Razer Blade Stealth and Razer Blade Pro. The same for MSI who use Elan drivers on its Stealth Pro line of gaming laptops.
All we are doing is installing the Microsoft Precision drivers and replacing the Synaptics or Elan ones. The drivers come from Lenovo (Synaptics) and Softpedia (Elan).
Why do it?
The rule of thumb is Microsoft's Precision drivers are made for Windows 10 and customized by Microsoft themselves for the "ideal" trackpad experience.
Most users consider the sensitivity, movement, and gestures of Precision to be better than Synaptics or Elan.
What have we tested this on?
We have verified that this trick works on Razer Blade (2016 and 2017 editions) and HP Spectre x360 13- and 15-inch models. We've done it multiple times across five different devices, and all worked.
Others have confirmed it is working on the Dell Alienware 14 (2013), HP Pavilion 15, some Asus laptops with Elan, Acer Aspire M5, and more.
What you need
For most users, just getting the drivers below is all you need.
For Razer Blade owners, however, I recommend having a wired or wireless mouse on standby as the process temporarily kills the trackpad (you can, of course, still navigate via keyboard).
First, to figure out which driver you need – Synaptics or Elan – just do the following:
- Right-click on Start
- Choose Device Manager
- Double-click Mice and other pointing devices
- See if it says Elan Input Device or Synaptics HID TouchPad
Once you know which drivers you currently have you can grab the ones you need:
Save these to the device you in which you are replacing the drivers.
How to install Precision Touchpad drivers
Now it's time to install the driver. The entire process should take no longer than five minutes.
While there is no permanent damage from this guide, I do stress to make sure you follow the directions correctly to ensure that you do it right. If this doesn't work for you, there is a good chance you did not precisely follow the instructions!
Installing Precision drivers
- Unzip the downloaded drivers to a temporary directory and make a note of where they are.
- Right-click on Start.
- Choose Device Manager.
- Double-click Mice and other pointing devices.
- Right-click on Synaptics/Elan device.
- Choose Update driver.
- Click Browse my computer for driver software.
- Select Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
- Pick Have Disk….
- Choose Browse… and navigate to the folder where you extracted the Precision drivers.
- Select Autorun.inf from the directory of Precision drivers.
- Select Synaptics Pointing Device (or Elan) and then Next.
- On the Update Driver Warning choose Yes.
- Let the driver install and restart the PC to enable
That should be it.
For Razer Blade owners doing the above will kill the trackpad. Don't worry! Restart the PC and then repeat steps one through six above. However, instead of step 7 in its place choose Search automatically for updated driver software. The OS will now search Windows Update and grab a newer driver and install it. Once installed your trackpad will kick back in and you are all set.
All users can do the above to ensure the latest Precision driver is installed – it won't hurt it.
With all completed you can navigate to Settings > Devices > Touchpad, and it should now say at the top Your PC has a precision touchpad. Below should be many new native Windows 10 gesture options and configuration abilities that you may want to tinker with, e.g., cursor speed, touchpad sensitivity, etc.
For more on Precision Touchpad settings read our guide "How to customize 'Precision Touchpad' settings in the Windows 10 Creators Update".
Like all unsupported modifications, there could be things we are missing, so take note. For instance, on two (out of three) of our Razer Blades the touchpad stops working when it resumes from standby for unknown reasons. Our HP Spectre x360s, however, have had no issues.
Using the same steps above you can roll back the trackpad driver to the previous one, or just use your manufacturer's drivers to install over the Precision one. However, we think most of you will stick with Precision since it's just better.
Thanks, Adam Legge, for the heads up!
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
This is a super neat trick, but be careful! For some reason my Razer Blade is having issues with the touchpad not working when it comes back from standby. Mark's Blade, however, is just fine.
is there a real touchable and tangible improvement? I have the razer blade too
of course, it's huge.
Hey Dan, I rarely have good cause to leave comment but this actually worked for me. I confirm it works on my positively old HP EliteBook 8470p. Thanks for the tip! Would try see if it works with my Inspiron 14 7437.. Thanks again
Sounds cool. Any chance there's a driver out there that would work for the king of PC touchpads, the ultra-precise Logitech T650? I still can't find a decent touch pad for a W10 desktop PC that comes anywhere close to the description 'precision' on sale anywhere except this one, so waiting for Windows 10 to finally catch up with Windows 8 and work properly with the only precision touch pad available is becoming a bit of a hobby.
Daniel, the Elan driver from Softpedia does not have an AutoRun.inf file. Which one am I supposed to select? There's ETD.inf, ETDMiniPTP.inf, and ETDSMBus.inf.
Huh, I don't know lol. I'd go with the first one.
I got impatient and tried the first one almost immediately after I asked (ETD.inf) and it worked! My Aorus X7 v6 now has Precision Touchpad settings! Hopefully my two-finger scrolling speed works more consistently across applications now. The Elan ones had different scrolling speeds in Edge vs Chrome/Start Menu/etc.
<p>the ETD.inf for complete install, MiniETD is incomplete and will cause your touchpad stop working after reboot</p>
Hey, Daniel. I also have a Razer Blade and also have the same problems you have the touch pad won't work after standby. So how did deal with it? Did you retrieve back to the old driver or you found a way to get it work without restarting?
How about for Alps touchpad?
Thanks for this article. Working fine so far on my Razer Blade 2016 1060. Going into and out of Sleep, or rebooting, is no issue - still working. Note that I had started with the latest touchpad drivers downloaded from the Razer website several months ago.... One thing to keep in mind is that Razer Synapse DOES impact the touchpad in some ways. I can clearly notice this when I have not logged into windows yet, and then after I log in, the pointer acceleration is different. I have have an external Raaer mouse that I sometimes use (haven't in a month or so), which seems to then enable Razer Synapse affecting the mouse driver. One problem I had (not sure yet if it has changed with the Precision driver) is that the DPI setting in Synapse also impacts the touchpad acceleration. This annoys the heck out of me, as it should be a totally separate setting. For now I will avoid using an external mouse to see how stable the Precision touchpad drivers continue to be for me. So far, I like it a lot. I noticed also that the Synaptics icon in the System Tray (which was a feature of my older Synaptics driver) no longer showed the touchpad response (which is fine). I removed that from the system tray. However, I still get a Synaptics tab in the mouse setting control panel (the one in the old desktop interface - not the modern control panel) although it doesn't really have any settings other than allowing enabling/disabling of the touchpad. I am not sure if that came over with the new Precision drivers, or is a leftover from my original drivers....
Agree. Seems exclusive to Windows, as well. On my Mac, each mouse uses a native acceleration, so the Sculpt Comfort and Razer Naga mice have faster acceleration, similar to windows, but Synapse only affects the Naga and macos settings gs seems to control the Magic Mouse and (to a lesser extent) the sculpt. But when I boot camped Windows on it, Synapse seemed to take control of everything. I was used to using different mice for different things, but suddenly the acceleration in everything was way too high and I basically had to start micro managing it. I eventually just deleted the boot camp partition. Trying to edit images, etc. with acceleration that's too fast is very unfun. Trying to game with too low acceleration is awful. I like just grabbing a different ouse depending on the task 😀
Following up my previous postsing (why am I not allowe to EDIT ?!?!?!?), turned on my Razer Blade 14 (2016 1060) today, and while the mouse pointer was visible, the touchpad would not respond at all. Tried rebooting and it did not resolve. I could even get the trackpad physical buttons to respond, but not the touchpad itself. Luckily my Razer Blade has the QHD+ touchscreen, so I was not SOL in navigating around windows. I removed the driver from Device Manager, tried removing the device altogether, tried drive update and Windows Update... nothing would bring the touchpad back. Eventually I downloaded the original Synaptics drivers from Razer's site, installed, rebooted, and got the original Synaptics drivers back installed and working. Very sad after enjoying the Precision Drivers for at least two reboots before the driver failed. No idea why it stopped working. And now having had a tase of the Microsoft Precision Drivers, it is really tough to go back to Synaptics....
it does not seem to work on the Xiaomi Mi Air 12 even though it has Synaptics, I did everything like showed and it even says you have a precision pad but at that point I just can't get the trackpad to work, once it works again, the precision settings are gone. What I don't understand though sometimes after the boot a synaptics enhancement software promts and ask to be opened or not since smart screen prevents it, do I need to allow it or now and why does smart screen seem to have a problem
ok got it now, thanks it's so much better now
Sounds a pretty safe way to enable the function. Cheers!
Works great on my HP Envy 15 and it's 5 yrs old
Thanks ever so much for this Daniel! I have been a little annoyed with the synaptics driver on my Spectre x360, and I am very happy to have a precision touch pad now. This has been very helpful!
Works on my XPS 15 9530, but second reboot needed. And disable built in gestures in dell touchpad panel first!
The XPS already has precision.
Sadly it does not work on my HP Probook 450 G3 (Synaptics) :( but the funny part is all the multi touch gestures seems to work, but no point when you can't move the cursor. :3
If anyone manages to get it working on a Probook please let me know :)
Me either. Tried to install on Probook 430 G3, but the Precision setting still not showing up. After trying to update the driver (steps mentioned for those Razer laptops), the cursor not even showing up.
Sorry but I have to ask the obvious question. Why doesn't the HP Spectre ship with these drivers installed? Seems a bit dumb to not have them installed from the get go. Having said that they installed and are working fine on my Spectre x360. Thanks for the tip
Just got it to work on my Yoga 2 Pro, and so far, it's been working really well. Thanks for finding this Daniel!
How did you get it working on your Yoga 2 Pro?? I've tried it few times, but it just kills the touchpad, it doesn't work at all. I apply the additional step for Razer, and it updates the driver, but the toucpad still stays dead.
Has anyone tried this on an MSI GT73EVR-7RE? I'm away from laptop at the moment, so I can't try it yet...
FYI I can report that this worked great on both my new MSI GT73EVR-7RE and my old HP EliteBook 8560w. The MSI stock track pad drivers were really bad. These drivers work really well. Still a little shaky on two finger scrolling, but everything else works good.
Can confirm that it works on a Lenovo Ideapad (specifically a Flex 4). Great driver!