Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Disable The Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touchpad

Chuck Norris EX2 01
Chuck Norris EX2 01 (Photo credit: (vhmh))
You CAN disable the touchpad on a Samsung Series 5 Ultra notebook computer.

One of the least endearing aspects of my recent technology shift from a dead Lenovo T61 and Windows 7 to a sleek Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook and Windows 8 has been the lack of documentation. Remember documentation? When things came with user manuals?

Ah, no. These days we have the Internet and so we don't need those nasty, papery manual things. You just go to our Internet-based resource centre and we'll answer any questions you might have.

What if it's something I don't know? I can't ask about what I don't know can I? And you're not actually telling me. You're just expecting me to sift through a wodge of data, rather than structure and present useful information to me.

That's okay, you can go to our user forums and see the answers our socially enabled peer group conversation community present to you. They're really committed and useful guys.

And what if I just want someone from Samsung to tell me how to do something? You know, someone who actually knows something about the product?

Simple! Talk to one of our trained customer support executives using email or our online chat facility!

Great. That's precisely what I did, because the otherwise very lovely Samsung Series 5 Ultra comes with the world's biggest touchpad and it doesn't have an off switch or appear to have a driver with that functionality. Which is mad, right? All laptops have drivers for their touchpads that allow them to be disabled, surely. And, yes, in the main they do. Except for this machine, with its aircraft-carrier sized, guaranteed to be touched at all times, touchpad. It's huge. I've found flies playing cricket on it. This, let us be abundantly clear, is the Chuck Norris of touchpads. You don't touch it - it touches you.

Samsung's support operative came back in response to my email, confirming my worst fears. "You can't disable the touchpad on a Samsung Series 5 Ultra."

Which had me consigned to typing tweets six times as each attempt saw a feather-touch of the ball of my thumb select all and then my next key press replace the text. Cursors would appear in random places around the screen, replacing and deleting lumps of text and objects before I realised it'd gone again. My language, never particularly temperate, has become decidedly nautical.

I evolved an insane typing technique, like a digital tai-chi movement, The Crane Over The Keyboard. Repetitive Strain Injury loomed on the horizon as I picked my way over the huge expanse of the Monster Touchpad From Hell. Sure enough, every couple of minutes, a brush on that vast, hyper-sensitive surface would bring on-screen mayhem.

It's so unfair. This machine is the dog's, seriously. It's sleek and titanium-shelled, as light as a feather and slimmer than a supermodel with amoebic dysentery. It is in every way perfect. Apart from Chuck The Touchpad.

I took to tweeting at @SamsungGulf, but that was about as much use as nailing cats to a hovercraft. They're too busy using Twitter on relentless promotional broadcast mode to actually talk to anyone who isn't giving them some sycophantic, pandering guff they can retweet. (This, to Samsung, is presumably 'engagement')

It's one of the worst Twitter accounts I've seen in a long while. Absolutely zero back from them. Just a constant tide of 'Tell us your favorite way of inserting a Galaxy SIII'...

And then a conversation with Sheheryar at @LaptopsinUAE about something completely different turned to the S5. I'd decided to break the warranty and have him crack the case and neuter Chuck by yanking the connector. And he came up with the idea of hitting Fn F5. Because that is how you disable the touchpad on a Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook.

So here's a big, fat THANK YOU to Sheheryar, for doing what Samsung's support droid and their useless Twitter account should have done. For knowing his way around laptops and being able to help someone who just wants to get on with using a functional tool. I didn't have to retype a single word of this post and that feels oh, so good.

Chuck is dead.
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16 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!! THANK YOU This touchpad has been driving me crazy and I've googled how to disable and came up with nothing!! YOUR a lifesaver :)

Ken Mski said...

Once it's disabled, can you re-enable it with Fn-F5? Or is it like one of those tape recorders on the old Mission Impossible shows?

Alexander McNabb said...

Yes, Ken - it's a toggle. Every time the machine goes to sleep or restarts, you have to re-enable it.

It's a minor niggle in an otherwise sleek and wonderful machine...

Myra said...

Not only did your column stop me from thrashing my digital pet companion, it also made me laugh out loud. FnF5 – spread the word. From the Netherlands: thank you.

those we left behind said...

A truly useful tip. Like you,I am seriously impressed with the Ultrabook, but driven to despair with the touchpad that can shred a work-in-progress email in seconds.

those we left behind said...

Excuse my manners - I also meant to say - Thank You!

Marion G├╝rth said...

Thank you soooo much - life is much easier now ;-)

Henry said...

Oh man, just wonderful! You are a poet, the way you put this.. Great! (wiping some tears away) And it was useful, by the way. I guessed there must be a happy end, since you got this long and wonderfully hilarious outpour typed into your machine after all. We are sitting here in this hot Rangoon rainy-season night in a Hotel room and almost pissed our pants.. Thank You!
Henry and Sabine, Germany

PS: Somebody at Samsung and also Chuck should get the opportunity to read this

Andrea Bisi said...

That's great! thank you very much. I enjoed the reading as well!
What would be really funtastic is if it could just disable the 'click' function, not the moving function. There are already the left and right click button at the bottom. Should not need the click function on the touchpad...I guess I just need to carry around an external mouse.

Anonymous said...

I love you! The trackpad on my PC has been driving me completely nuts for weeks and I have been unable to find any info about how to disable it... until now! THANK YOU. (Wow, I typed this so fast and without having to constantly keep an eye out that the curser didn't jump about and I didn't accidentally delete great chunks of text - that's a first on this machine!)

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I need help my touchpad works fine, but suddenly I lost the scroll on it all of it including the gestures might have pressed some button.. tried the FnF5 thing and control panel's touchpad settings but still I cant scroll up or down.. Hope someone can help me with this problem.. I'm desperately in need of that scroll for my work...

Thanks in advance!

Alexander McNabb said...

Samsung actually has software to control features of its trackpad - if you've the up to date drivers, you'll have an icon on your desktop looks like a volume control called 'Settings'.

The scroll thing sounds more like an issue in Word or your software.

However, the ultimate cure would be a USB mouse. I use a Microsoft 4000 and it's excellent. I've found myself using a neat combination of mouse and touchscreen as a result.

And I keep Chuck turned off all the time, although I occasionally forget and then my world goes haywire...

Thanks everyone for leaving your thanks, BTW. It's amazing that thousands of people have found this post - searching for things like 'disable Samsung touchpad'.

Clearly I wasn't alone in my fight with Chuck and Samsung's patchy documentation/customer service!!!

Anonymous said...

Additionally the touchpad feature "When I swipe in from the left edge, switch directly to my most recent app". This should be turned to OFF.
So now when the ball of left thumb hits (siwpes) the touchpad, you don't naviagte wildly through the last opened apps.

How to -
1. Press the Windows key + C to open the Charms menu.

2.Click on Settings in the Charms menu.

3.Click on Change PC Settings.

4.On the PC settings screen, click on the General tab.

5.Under 'When I swipe in from the left edge, switch directly to my most recent app', move the slider to Off.

becky said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS TIP!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! It saves me a lot of time re-typing!

wataga red said...

Are you kidding me? I have been fighting this thing for over year with the ghost touch pad movements. FnF5, this should have been on CNN!