June 28, 2011

adding Apple’s Magic Trackpad to your Windows 7 PC

I’ve long wanted the Magic Trackpad.  I even bought it for $69+tax when it first came out only to have to return it when I couldn’t make it work with my Windows XP computer.  Of course there were tons of instructions and yet I just couldn’t make it much more than a glorified (and clumsy) mousepad.  At the time, I couldn’t make any of things like tap to click, etc. work on it.  So I ended up getting this little guy (the Adesso EasyCat Touchpad) from Amazon:

Generally, this little pad works quite well.  But there were problems.  The main was was that it was just so small; it measures only 3.25” wide X 2.5” in height and it’s light as a feather—6.4 oz.  So what all that means is that it takes up very little room, but is not much bigger than the pad on your laptop and when it’s this light, it has a tendency to be moved around.  Plus notice that it has two buttons at the bottom that mimic the actions of a mouse.  In the age when everything is a tap (even my laptop allows me to tap my way or double tap my way around), I found it somewhat frustrating to use this little guy sometimes.

Then I got a new computer running Windows 7 Home Premium and I thought I would give the Magic Trackpad another try.  This time, with high hopes, I purchased the Magic Trackpad from Ebay for about $40.00.  It arrived about 2 days later and I got it all working today so I thought I would share the steps here since it took me all morning to get it done.

First, Apple offers Windows drivers in a kind of roundabout way.  It offers Windows drivers for Bootcamp which is the program Mac uses to run Windows programs.  So in order to get these drivers installed on a regular Windows computer, you have to do some work to extract the driver from the Bootcamp program.  There are a number of online tutorials to guide you through this process, but I couldn’t do this for the life of me for some reason.  Part of the problem I ran into was that many of these tutorials were created when the Trackpad first came out and used drivers that were older than the most recent Bootcamp program.  But as I finally got it working, I thought I would post the steps here.

Step 1: Turn on the Trackpad by clicking on the right side button (a green light will flash on the front)

Step 2: On the Window computer, go to Control Panel –> Hardware and Sound –> Add Bluetooth Device (under Devices & Printers)

Once you click on Add Bluetooth Device, Windows 7 will start to search for drivers.  It will actually recognize the Trackpad and add it to your computer.  Now you’ll be able to use the Trackpad—but in a VERY limited fashion.  You’ll be able to move and tapping the bottom right or left will allow you to click.  But most of the functionality is not available.  In order to add the other functionality, you’ll have to download more drivers (and you’re back to the Bootcamp problem).  But here’s the easiest way to add the rest of the functionality:

Step 3: Go to this website http://www.trackpadcontrol.com/download.html and download the FREE Trackpad-Driver-Installer-12.exe program.  Run the program. 

This program does what the tutorials tell you to do, but as I said, I ran into problems so I decided to let the program do this stuff for me.  Basically, it automatically downloads and extracts the needed Windows drivers and installs them on your computer for you. 

Step 4: When it’s finished installing, it’ll say your computer needs to restart—restart your computer and you’re set.

If your computer is like mine, when it restarted, the Trackpad didn’t respond until I again turned it on (clicking the right side button).  Here’s some of the commands that seem to work so far:

  • One finger tap = click
  • Two finger tap = right click
  • Two finger moving up/down = scroll up/down
  • and of course the left and right click buttons are also there at the bottom of the mouse (if you push down on the lower right or left corners, you should feel a little spring)

All the other stuff, pinch to zoom, etc., I don’t absolutely need—I zoom using keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl +), so I’m ok. 

So why do I like this over my faithful Adesso pad?  The Trackpad is

  1. heavier (so it doesn’t move around),
  2. larger (so there’s more surface and feels more natural to me),
  3. wireless and
  4. (let’s be honest), MUCH prettier

So far, I’m loving it.

One last thing, I should point out that the on the same site trackpadcontrol.com, there’s a program for controlling the Magic Trackpad that you can download and buy for $7.90 or so…since I haven’t downloaded it, I can’t say much about it other than to point it out.

UPDATE: easy fix for a lag sometimes – according to the site’s blog (and in my experience, it works)

01 January 2011

Apples Windows Driver for the Magic Trackpad seems to have a issue, the mouse pointer hangs a bit from time to time, it doesn't move as you would expect it.

There is a simple fix for this issue. Simply do a real physical click with the Magic Trackpad. This means you have to press one of the bottom corner buttons.

The best way to fix it without interrupting the current workflow is to press hard on the surface until it makes click.

No comments:

Post a Comment