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Wired USB keyboard with centered touchpad that can disable taps

Posted on 2013-01-16
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Last Modified: 2013-02-04
Hi Experts,

I need a keyboard with the followings features:

(1) USB wired (not wireless).

(2) Touchpad (not a trackpoint or trackball) in the center underneath the space bar (not on the right side).

(3) Touchpad must have taps disabled or provide a driver (for 32-bit Vista) that allows taps to be disabled.

(4) Small and light would be good (it's going to be in the lap all day), but item (3) above is by far the most important feature...it is the deal-killer/show-stopper capability.

I have been researching this on the web for more than a month. I have already purchased (and returned!) several keyboards that fail item (3) above, including models from Adesso, Gear Head, Motion, and Perixx. The manufacturers tout that the keyboards are plug-and-play, which means that they use the mouse drivers built into Windows, which also seems to mean that all of the touchpads have taps enabled, i.e., a tap on the touchpad (usually accidental, which is the problem) sends a mouse click. As an editorial comment, it baffles me why anyone would want taps enabled...I often send accidental mouse clicks with these types of touchpads...it's a feature that does far more harm than good, and is unnecessary, since there are mouse buttons. The good news is that all modern laptops have touchpad drivers that allow taps to be disabled. The bad news is that I can't find a single wired USB keyboard that does. Many of the keyboards are built with popular touchpads, like Alps, Elan, and Synaptics, but I can't find one that supports installation of the touchpad driver (or that comes with taps disabled).

I'm looking for an Expert who actually has such a keyboard installed and can confirm that taps are (or can be) disabled, i.e., the only way to send mouse clicks is to hit the left and right mouse buttons. As mentioned above, the target system is 32-bit Vista, but I'd be willing to experiment with a keyboard known to have this feature in XP or W7. Btw, price is not an issue. Thanks much, Joe
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Question by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:hench01
ID: 38784567
I know this is not an exact answer to your question but I started to look for how to disable this function in the windows registry, havent found anything yet, but found this:

Touchfreeze

I'll keep looking for a way to disable the function fully.
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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38784699
Hench,
Appreciate your efforts. Disabling the touchpad while typing text does not address the main issue. Here's what happens...frequently! I'm in Word and have selected a bunch of text. Now I want to go to a menu item to select an action. I bring my finger down to the touchpad to move the mouse to a menu item, but it takes that as a mouse click, thereby deselecting everything that was previously selected. Same thing occurs in Excel when rows and columns are selected. Beyond this, it can cause big problems in any program where a mouse click is inadvertently sent.

I've spent a lot of time Googling this issue, and the amazing thing is how many people have the same problem. Here are some verbatim comments:

"My efficiency is destroyed with the tap function on. I need a way to turn it off!"

"...by default the OS will detect a tap of the touchpad as a mouse click. I hate that..."

"i cant get this [tap-to-click] to shut off...this sucks terribly."

"I would like to shut off tapping and if that doesn’t work then shut off the touch pad all together."

"...if i 'tap' the touchpad it will act as a 'mouse click' and open a folder etc etc, I want to completely and totally disable this."

There are many, many similar comments. Even if there are some folks who like taps, it seems to me that there is a large market for a manufacturer to make a keyboard with a touchpad that has taps either disabled or controllable. I can't find one! However, if you can find a registry setting that achieves this objective, I'll be a very happy camper. Regards, Joe
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Assisted Solution

by:hench01
hench01 earned 250 total points
ID: 38784822
Hi again, ok then i understand the problem, have been on google and in the registry and even trying to decipher the crappy default mouse drivers from Microsoft since my last post.

But it really seems hopeless, MS default drivers sucks and from your own experience most of the manufacturers of keyboard+touchpad combos never bother to write there own drivers.

And all the keyboards I could find was "plug and play" aka using MS Crapdriver.

Hehe, got pretty frustrated about this, I feel your pain Joe ;)
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38786216
joe, maybe you can contact PsychPosse  and see which touchpad or laptoip he has?
he says he can disable tapping !
http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/topic/181954-how-do-you-disable-touchpad-tap-to-click/

here another guy with a solution :
http://superuser.com/questions/150958/how-to-permanently-disable-touchpad-tap-to-click-on-dell-inspiron-windows-7

i hope they help!
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Expert Comment

by:hench01
ID: 38786295
Nobus, you are missing the point here.

It is not a laptop keyboard and touchpad Joe wants.
Its a USB Keyboard+touchpad.

The solutions you posted is for laptops and the synaptics drivers that come with them.
The reason the guy with the dell laptop found registry entry's is probably because the synaptics drivers/software adds them because the function exist in the driver.
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38786792
sorry, disregard my post then
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LVL 51

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38787504
Nobus, thanks for the comments, but Hench has it right. Virtually every laptop on the planet comes with a touchpad driver that adds a tab to the Mouse applet in Control Panel, such as the Device Settings tab in this screenshot:
Synaptics Device SettingsHighlighting the touchpad and clicking Settings brings up this:
Synaptics touchpad propertiesFrom here, the touchpad is completely configurable, including being able to disable taps, shown here:
Synaptics touchpad tapping disabledProblem is, as Hench mentioned, I can't find an external USB keyboard with a touchpad that has such a driver. I'd even be happy with a touchpad that has tapping disabled at the hardware level...with no ability to turn it on...that would be fine...but it seems that every keyboard with a touchpad comes with taps enabled, even though my (admittedly less than scientifically accurate) research indicates that folks dislike touchpads with taps enabled. Regards, Joe
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38787820
can a separate touchpad be used?  this one can disable tapping with the free touchpad program : http://www.ergonomictouchpad.com/ergonomic_touchpad.php
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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38788073
I had already floated the idea of a separate touchpad to the end-user...even mentioned securing it in some way (tape? Velcro?) to the existing keyboard...maybe centering it on a snap-on keyboard  palm rest...answer came back NO...needs to be a keyboard with a built-in touchpad...WITH TAPS DISABLED.
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38788218
tap him on the forehead Joe...
i'll keep looking, but as  you know, not easy to dig one up
i hope to find one here in Europe
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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38788254
hehe...but "her", not "him".

Appreciate your looking over there...would not mind importing one to the States. Tks!
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 38788261
here a wide variety Joe- if you could list those you've looked into ?
http://www.beslist.be/products/computers/comp_toetsenborden/r/toetsenbord+met+touchpad/
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Expert Comment

by:hench01
ID: 38788314
Give her a "HP 1U Rackmount Keyboard" that may quiet her down... :)

The ones with the touch pad in the center all look like the generic ones I have used, and they all used pnp windows drivers.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38788337
arhhh ..woman...= trouble as they say, no?
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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38789768
> HP 1U Rackmount Keyboard

Only HP could charge $400-500 for a keyboard!

>  trouble as they say, no?

Yes, but worth it!

>  list those you've looked into

I've tried Adesso, Gear Head, and Perixx keyboards...and even called all three companies...they all said they have no keyboards that will accept a driver for the touchpad...and all of them are shipped with taps enabled. That is a HUGE selection, though, and I'll spend some time taking a spin through it. Thanks much!
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Expert Comment

by:hench01
ID: 38789807
Hm, maybe we should start a business called NoTap and build and sell keyboard/touch pads with tap to click disabled :)
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Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38790194
You jest, but I had the same thought! There's a market out there!
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38791975
Lets join - with crowd funding it must be easy...
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Expert Comment

by:hench01
ID: 38792083
Haha, I'm in!
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Accepted Solution

by:
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 0 total points
ID: 38812559
nobus,
I spent some time on that huge list, and some look interesting, but the problem is that I can't really tell if any of them have taps disabled and/or have a driver...I'd be shooting in the dark.

hench&nobus,
In the meantime, I ran across this guy:
http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?DocID=DS004171

It clearly indicates that it has a TrackPoint/TouchPad driver for Vista. They wouldn't lie, would they?! :)

I downloaded the latest driver at that link (29-Aug-2012) and unzipped it. Turns out it has a driver for the hotkeys but not for the touchpad. The good news is that the "Previous versions" of the drivers lower down on that page do have the touchpad driver in it (Synaptics, btw). I downloaded the 14-Mar-2007 driver and ordered the keyboard here:
http://www.codemicro.com/store/product/Lenovo-31P949101-New

I hope to know by the end of this week or early next week if this is successful. Will let you know as soon as I hear back from the user. Regards, Joe
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38813310
i hope you find what you are looking for; you sure do a hell of a job for it
i saw the driver is for Vista - is that a problem?
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LVL 51

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38814550
> is that a problem?

Nope! Turns out that it's the solution! This user is one of only three people on the planet still using Vista. :)
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38814744
whow - at least one point easily solved
i must say i never had problems with Vista, and certainly not after SP1
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LVL 51

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38822674
hench & nobus,
I'm pleased to report success! The keyboard even came with a driver CD...contained the same 2007-March driver that I had downloaded from the Lenovo site. The user's IT folks installed from the CD and it worked straight-away...installed a Synaptics tab in the Mouse applet, allowing complete control of the touchpad...including disabling taps! The good news is that the driver is for 32-bit Vista and worked for this user. The bad news is that this user's organization is moving to 64-bit W7 in the not-too-distant future...I doubt if the 32-bit Vista driver will work on it and I also doubt if Lenovo will create a 64-bit W7 driver. There's a chance that the general Synaptics driver (available at their website) will work, but I'll cross that bridge when the time comes (Synaptics claims it's good for 32-bit and 64-bit XP, Vista, and W7...and even W8).

I still think there's a market for the NoTap keyboard...a plug-n-play device that uses the standard Windows mouse driver but has taps disabled at the hardware level.

Thanks to both of you guys for jumping in to help – much appreciated! Regards, Joe
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38823600
ah - good to hear about your success  - you have a nice list now for future uses..
as for the upgrade to 64 bit, that's not your problem - since they requested one for vista 32.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 38838895
IBM/Lenovo keyboard did the trick, but am awarding points to hench and nobus, as I found their comments very helpful.
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38839109
it was a pleasure to help you Joe!
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Expert Comment

by:hench01
ID: 38850338
Thank you Joe, glad that you finally found what you were looking for!

100% support if you decide to start a kickstarter Project :)

Cheers
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