Touch-screen laptops are great to use in dim lighting. However, the glossy touch-screen doesn’t always respond as fast as an external mouse. If you’re only relaxing and browsing the internet, speed usually isn’t a problem. However, if you’re multitasking for work you don’t have time for the touch-screen to catch up, you might be wondering if you can use a mouse with a touch-screen laptop?
You can use a mouse with a touch-screen laptop either through a USB cable or maybe Bluetooth. Most Windows laptops also let you turn the “touch” function off so you can use a mouse, although you may not want to do this for a couple of reasons.
When the touchpad comes in handy, you don’t want to get rid of the feature entirely. Either way, here’s what you need to know about using an external mouse with a touch-screen laptop or tablet.
What Touchscreens on Laptops are For
Some Windows computers with touch screens, like the Microsoft Surface (on Amazon), are designed for easier use in tablet mode. This means that when you’re using the touch-screen functionality, the laptop operates more efficiently—in other words, turning off the “touch” function may not be the decision you want to make, although it may seem like a good idea the time.
When You Want Touch-screen Functionality
A touch-screen is convenient when scrolling through content because it’s faster than using a mouse. The stylus that comes with the touch-screen is also ideal for drawing. You are limited in what you can create unless you’re a pro with a mouse. It’s also easier to navigate a tablet’s menu options with the touch-screen. Touch-screens tablets, and laptops are also easily portable.
If you’re working in an area where space is limited, not having to use a mouse is often more convenient. There are times when using the touch-screen is the best option, but all laptops with this function also allow you to turn it off. So, regardless of the make and model, you can use a mouse with any touchscreen-enabled device.
Using a Mouse vs. Using the Laptop’s Touchpad
Your laptop probably came with a mouse/touchpad built-in, and it’s accessible when the laptop is open and functions as a mouse. While it is effective, the touchpad also has a slower response than an external mouse, so you won’t want the delay if you’re a laptop user. Some touch-screen tablet-style laptops don’t come with a touchpad mouse at all.
Your only option is to connect an external one unless you don’t mind being limited to the touch-screen. Clicking an external mouse is straightforward. Some connect via a USB plug, and others pair with your laptop via Bluetooth. One great, highly-reviewed option is the MX Master To-Go Mouse (on Amazon). The wireless mouse can pair with up to three devices and easily switch back and forth between them. This way, you only need one external mouse for your laptop, PC, and tablet.
How to Turn the Touch-screen Off
When you need to turn the touch-screen function off, instructions differ for tablets and laptops. Most tablets limit user access to and control of the device’s operating system. You might find that the only way to turn it off is to contact the manufacturer for specific instructions. Your best bet is to poke around in the settings and do some googling on your particular hardware.
How to Disable Touchscreen on Laptops
It’s a little easier to disable the touch-screen feature on laptops. To turn it back on, reverse the steps. Here’s what you need to do to turn the touch-screen off on your laptop.
- If you have Windows 10, press Windows + X on the keyboard. This will give you access to the Power User menu.
- In the menu, click on “device manager.” You’ll see an arrow next to Human Interface Devices on the left. Click on the arrow.
- You should have an expanded list of controls and devices. Look for “HID-compliant touch screen” and right-click on it.
- A popup will appear asking if you want to disable the function. Click on the option marked “disable.”
- Select “yes” when the warning box appears, and you’ll know that the process is disabled when a small downward arrow icon appears next to the menu listing for “HD-compliant touch screen.” It’s also apparent when the screen doesn’t respond to your touch.
There are times when having touch-screen functionality is convenient. Touch-screen laptops and tablets are great for use in smaller spaces that don’t always have room for a mouse, and it’s also easier to draw and quickly scroll through content with a touch-screen. Regardless of how convenient touch-screen functionality is, there are times when you need an external mouse.
It’s not hard to disable the touch-screen and connect a mouse, though tablets are a little more complicated than laptops. When you need touch-screen functionality, it’s just as easy to turn it back on. In other words, it’s not a terrible idea to have an external mouse on hand because it’s easy to disconnect and connect whenever you want.