Add multi-finger functionality to your Windows trackpad

Get in on the multitouch trackpad fun with these free downloads

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Don't let MacBook owners keep all the convenience of multitouch scrolling and gestures for themselves. Crash the trackpad party with free downloads that add a whole lot of usefulness to your Windows laptop.

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Chances are, your laptop's trackpad is made by Synaptics. Synaptics has a new tool out, Scrybe, that adds multi-finger functionality to seemingly vanilla trackpads. Scrybe itself is an application that allows for drawing gestures on your trackpad to launch applications or web sites--an "I" for ITworld.com, or a question mark to search

Before you jump in, you'll need to make sure you have the latest drivers installed from Synaptics--which might also be a branded version installed by your laptop manufacturer. Open up your Control Panel, find your Mouse settings, likely under the Hardware and Sound menu, and open them up. In the window that pops up, look for a tab on the far right with a red badge, likely labeled "Device Settings." If you see it, and you see "Synaptics TouchPad" listed as a device in that first "Buttons" tab, you're likely good to go. If not, head to Synaptics' web site to download the latest drivers. You will have to restart after installing the drivers, and probably restart one or two more times after this. Soldier on, though--it's worth it.

Now it's time to download Scrybe and install it. You'll notice, among the usual prompts and license agreements, that Scrybe installs an even newer batch of drivers with gesture support, which is just what we wanted. Finish the installation, restart your system, and check in your system tray, down by the date and time, for a red icon that looks like an upturned arrow. From here, you test, configure, and activate the gestures that Scrybe wants to set up. They're not too intrusive--you have to hold Control and Shift by default to make them recognizable, so you won't accidentally launch sites with your pointer motions. If they're not your cup of tea, though, feel free to head to your Control Panel, open "Add/Remove Programs" or "Uninstall a Program," and wipe away Scrybe--just don't remove your Synaptics drivers.

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