Getting Touchpad to Work with Windows 7

I’ve been using Windows 7 on my Toshiba M700 Tablet since the RTM was available on MSDN a couple of months ago. And it’s been great! No kidding. There were a handful of drivers I needed to download from Toshiba, but everything just works, except for the mouse.

Well, that’s not entirely true. The mouse works just fine. It’s all the special features that don’t work. And that’s not the fault of Microsoft, it’s the fault of Toshiba for not having the needed drivers.

Today though, I got sick of it. One of my biggest issues is that while I’m typing, my hands are very near the touchpad, practically on top. And more often than not, I’ll ever so gently catch the touchpad with my palm, and reposition the cursor. It drives me nuts. Fortunately it hasn’t been an issue because most of the time my tablet is docked at home. However, now that I’m on vacation and using it on the go, it’s been a huge issue.

The solution was easy though. After searching through some forums, several people noted that version 7.2.303.107 of the Alps Pointing Device Driver was working for people using all sorts of laptops with Windows 7 (including Dells).

The best place I found to get it was from the Toshiba Drivers Download Site for the Portege A600. Select “Touchpad” from the categories and click “Alps Pointing Device Driver (32/64bit) (v7.2.303.107; 10-06-2008; 7M)” from the results. It’s designed for Vista 32-/64-bit, however I’m using it on Windows 7 64-bit just fine.

Problem solved!

Daedalus: My New Tablet

As I mentioned last month, I was looking at getting a new Tablet. Well, I ordered it a couple weeks ago and it is now safely in my arms!

Daedalus is a Toshiba M700 Portege and I purchased it as originally spec’d: 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo with Intel Turbo Memory; 2GB RAM on a single DIMM; 120GB 7200RPM hard drive; Windows Vista Ultimate.

Some thoughts:

  • Even with the removable disc drive in, the machine is light and feels light.
  • The volume dial is a digital control that just freely spins. Thus, there isn’t a physical point that is the minimum or maximum volume.
  • The screen needs to be perpendicular to the keyboard in order to turn.
  • When I’m typing, I sometimes accidentally tap the touch pad which moves my cursor. There is a setting buried several layers in which allows you to disable tapping while typing.
  • The Windows key moved from the upper right-hand corner (on the M200) to the lower left-hand corner (in the M700).
  • There is not a physical latch for the screen.
  • The USB placements seem odd, but acceptable.
  • The screen resolution is crisp and I like it better then the previous resolution.
  • You can save about 10% by paying with a Visa credit card.

Looking at Getting a New Tablet

Forward: Many people ask me for my help in purchasing a computer. Here’s a sort of a behind the scenes of what I go through when purchasing a computer for myself.

In October, it will have been four years since I got my Toshiba M200. I think for most people, four years for a laptop would be pretty good. For me, that’s an amazing amount of time to have the same laptop. In face any laptop that survives four years with me should be nominated for some sort of award.

Originally, I wanted to wait until I graduated before I got a new computer. However, there have been some tell-tale signs that my current system is on it’s way out the door. Faced with that impending doom and reality that technology has bettered itself significantly in the last few years, I’ve spent the last couple of months looking for a replacement.

I’ve had a Toshiba for the last 8 years and there is a strong incentive to stay with them. I’m pretty apt (and comfortable) with opening up their systems, I have several Toshiba accessories (including no less then four power cords), and know for a fact there is a certified Toshiba Repair center with 45 minutes of my houses (both in Seattle and Colorado). However, the game was was open to all and in addition to Toshiba, I looked at Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Gateway.

There were some basic things that were pretty non-negotiable. Fortunately, every manufacturer was able to meet them: Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM installed.

I was appalled by Dell’s offer: $2880 for a basic system with a 1.33GHz Core 2 Duo and 2048MB of RAM, max. HP’s bid was a much more reasonable price, $1749, but only 1.2 GHz and still 2048MB of RAM (although I think you can get up to 3GB in the HP).

Gateway offers a pretty reasonable system, however I’ve had issues with them in the past that I still haven’t gotten over yet. They were also the heaviest system and the lowest ranked tablet by Laptop Magazine. So Gateway was out too.

This basically left it between Toshiba and Lenovo. Between the two, Toshiba wins on the processor and price. Battery life is a bit tricky to gauge, however I believe that Lenovo has . Lenovo has a 3-year 9×5 next day on site warranty while Toshiba I’d have to bring to Lone Tree to get it repaired.

While not a huge downside, the Lenovo does not have an internal optical drive (which Toshiba does). The Toshiba also has a 7-in-1 media card reader, which is nice because I transfer quite a bit of photos via CompactFlash and Secure Digital.

Both PC Magazine and Laptop Magazine gave the Toshiba M700 4/5 and the Lenovo X61 4.5/5.

I’m leaning pretty heavily toward the Toshiba and I’ll probably make my final decision within a month. I gotta also figure out money.

Trade study after the jump…
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