Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"Fixing" the Toshiba Sattelite touchscreen

The problem:
As much as I love my Toshiba, it has its quirks. My first major problem (some months ago) with the Toshiba was what I would be inclined to call "touchscreen spasm". The problem with touchscreen spasm is that when it occurs not only the touchscreen, but the mouse, too, becomes basically useless (because the mouse cursor position is affected by the touchscreen). I forced a hard restart to temporarily alleviate the problem; however, the problem kept returning. One time it happened in the middle of some unsaved work, and after having "a bit of a moment", I endeavoured to fix the problem.

The "solution":
Being ostensibly a work machine and equipped with a mouse, it was inevitable that the touchscreen had to go, and my "fix" basically involved disabling the touchscreen drivers. This is actually a fairly easy job, you simply go through the device manager and disable the touch screen from the "Human Interface Devices"; however, if you too are caught in the middle of work, you can easily do the same thing without using the mouse:

1) Windows+X  - brings up a small admin menu
2) Select Device Manager by pressing M, or by using the up key on the keyboard and hitting ENTER.
3) (Once Device Manager has started,) press TAB to switch focus to the device list
4) Scroll down to "Human Interface Devices" and expand it using the right key
5) Select HID-compliant touch screen and press ALT+ENTER.
6) Press TAB to highlight "Disable Device", then  hit ENTER.

Note: When researching the problem, I noticed that for some touchscreens the name of the touchscreen might not be "HID-compliant touch screen". Hopefully it will be something equally straight-forward, if not, then you'll have to turn off/on interface devices one-by-one making sure that you don't turn off the keyboard (although, the keyboard should be listed under "Keyboards" not "Human Interface Devices" - still, things might differ depending on the device).

The conclusion
I would have expected Toshiba to build their hardware somewhat more robustly, but for the price and specs of my machine, I still feel I got a good deal; there seems little requirement for a touchscreen on a laptop which doesn't even fold flat, and while it was cool for a while, Windows 8 software is rarely touch-friendly enough to be worth the hassle.