Skip to main content

Windows 11 requires Precision touchpads: Here's how that affects your laptop

Windows 11 Widget Surface Pro
Windows 11 Widget Surface Pro (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Precision touchpads will be required for new PCs shipping with Windows 11.
  • Many laptops already feature Precision touchpads, as they provide a smooth experience.
  • It's unclear at this point if the requirement applies to current devices or only to new PCs shipping with Windows 11.

The minimum requirements of Windows 11 continue to make headlines. While Microsoft's hardline approach to TPM 2.0 may have drawn the most attention, there are some other specifications worth noting. Starting with Windows 11, PCs with touchpads will have to have Precision touchpads, as explained in a Microsoft document.

Here's how our Cale Hunt explains Precision touchpads:

Microsoft Precision touchpads use a standardized set of drivers that offer a consistent, smooth, and accurate pointing experience. Although Precision drivers first appeared in the Surface Pro 2 and have since been used in every Surface device, many laptop manufacturers beyond Microsoft also take advantage of the drivers to deliver the best possible pointing.

Precision touchpads are now standard in all of the best Windows laptops, though there are a few holdouts. Precision drivers are known to deliver an optimal touchpad experience, so most manufacturers have decided to use them.

There are, however, some budget laptops that do not use them. A handful of other laptops also use other types of touchpads. This won't be the case with any new laptops, as all manufacturers will be required to have Precision touchpads on any devices shipping with Windows 11.

Of course, the requirement only applies if a touchpad is implemented. Desktops won't have to have touchpads, Precision or otherwise.

It's not clear at this time if Precision drivers will be required for upgrading purposes, even though we know that all new PCs shipping with Windows 11 will need to have them. We've reached out to Microsoft to confirm if laptops without Precision drivers will be able to make the jump to Windows 11.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

6 Comments
  • PC Health Check (the Microsoft app that checks whether the computer is eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade) just updated on my late-2017 HP Spectre x360 (i7-8550U, 16GB RAM) that uses Synaptics instead of Precision drivers... and it is still reporting this computer is still eligible. Hopefully this remains the case. As I understand it, the computer is capable of using Precision drivers instead of the OEM's Synaptics ones, as people have successfully installed Precision in the past. Every time Windows 10 updated, however, the Synaptics drivers would be reinstalled. If my computer updates to Windows 11 and then Windows forces it to use Precision drivers, I'd be totally ok with that assuming Precision works better than the stock Synaptics (which is supposed to be the case).
  • So, to clarify, I believe Precision is necessary for new laptops, not ones upgrading, which would jive with your results. That'd be amazing if you get Precision drivers, but my hunch is that won't happen.
  • I'm in the same boat with a pre Dan Rant Spectre. I was totally hoping that Precision drivers would magically show up when I first read this article.
  • Thank you Microsoft you are awesome. I've been complaining about this for year now.
  • thank god, any other touchpad driver has been absolute garbage
  • Haha, Dan and Zac will love this news.
    This and other requirements are good. It's ensuring Windows users have the best experience while still being more flexible than Apple and it's hardware which is Apple having exactly what they want in computers.