I have a laptop (a Samsung Series 9) with a Synaptics trackpad, and I have Windows XP on it.

One of the nice features of this trackpad is that it allows you to scroll by placing two fingers on the trackpad and then dragging them up or down.

But the really annoying thing is this: Instead of acting like any other scroll wheel in existence and sending scroll wheel events to Windows, for some reason the Synaptics trackpad has special logic for scrolling. It changes the mouse cursor to a drawing of a scrollbar, and then scrolls the window itself using a seemingly proprietary mechanism.

The problem with that is that this scrolling doesn't work on all apps. For example, it doesn't work on GTK-based apps, which I use a lot.

I really have no idea why the Synaptics developers chose to reinvent wheel-scrolling, at the expense of their users...

Anyway, is there a way to make my trackpad send standard scrollwheel events, so it'll work in all apps?

  • Does the Synaptics driver have any configuration under Control Panel - Mouse? – grawity Jan 6 '12 at 21:21
  • Sure, that's the first place I looked, but found nothing helpful there. – Ram Rachum Jan 6 '12 at 22:31

From Scrolling in GTK+ apps with synaptics driver :

When using a Windows laptop, you might be stuck with a synaptic touchpad.

Those crappy drivers with their so-called virtual scrolling create a fake window below the cursor to display their custom scrolling icon.

That window interfere with the signal sent to the application under, and GTK for some reason can’t detect that (most likely the devs don’t care about us). The result is being unable to scroll in popular GTK apps like Wireshark or Pidgin.

After playing with Spy++ and Procmon for some time, I found an interesting registry key that solved my problem. This setting will disable the custom cursor when you scroll, effectively fixing the scrolling problem in GTK apps.

First you have to open regedit. Navigate to
and create a new DWORD called UseScrollCursor with a value of 0.

Restart SynTPEh (or reboot).

Scrolling should work in GTK apps now, but you won’t see the scrolling cursor anymore.

  • Thank you so much, I had the same problem and it was very annoying! – Laurent le Beau-Martin May 11 '12 at 11:54
  • This works a treat as well for apps like Zune, thanks! – unrelativity May 28 '12 at 0:13
  • works with Synaptics 17, but not with version 15 (atleast on my Dell XPS L501x). Good advice though, as I installed the version 17 even when Windows said it might permanently mutilate my hardware :P Works like a charm! – kumar_harsh Aug 12 '15 at 7:28

Let me explain it this way. The touch-pad itself has absolutely 0 concept of scrolling. it senses a touch... and reports back an X and Y. The driver takes that information... and determines how to interpret it as various mouse-ish gestures. So... in short... it's up-to the driver to determine WTF a scroll is. So the problem here is the driver... or the driver configuration. And since you didn't specify what flavor of linux... your results might be rather mixed. Synaptics did create a suite for common flavors of Linux... but what you need to acquire them... or if it's available for your distro... is beyond me.

  • 1
    It's not Linux, it's Windows XP. Does that help? – Ram Rachum Jan 6 '12 at 21:13
  • GTK isn't native to windows... there may be issues in translating windows-scroll messages to something GTK understands. – TheCompWiz Jan 6 '12 at 21:14
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    The same scroll messages are used for touchpads and mouse wheels, and GTK2 works just fine with the latter (in fact, I've tested with both). – grawity Jan 6 '12 at 21:20
  • 1
    Try updating drivers in windows for your touch-pad. synaptics.com/resources/drivers You might have better luck. – TheCompWiz Jan 6 '12 at 21:23
  • I checked the drivers page, and weirdly I have a more advanced version. I have while the drivers page offers 15.2.20. – Ram Rachum Jan 6 '12 at 22:34

There is a pinchzoom option for my synaptic mouse which emulates a wheel scroll. Look under mouse>device settings>settings. You place two fingers on the mousepad and bring them closer together or further apart and it will scroll one way or the other.

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