When building my latest HTPC, I decided that I would want to use the Apple Magic Trackpad as the mouse. The Magic Trackpad is small, stylish and works well as a pointing device to navigate HTPC menus. Personally, I use a Macbook Air 11″ daily so I am accustomed to using the trackpad and thought it would be a great addition. Apple’s lack of Blu-ray support turned me off of the Mac Mini idea and pushed me to build a Windows 7 HTPC, but I still wanted to use a nice trackpad. This guide will show you how to setup the Bluetooth Apple Magic Trackpad on a Windows 7 PC and get things like gesture-based scrolling working. Be warned, this is ever so slightly more involved than installing a normal mouse on a Windows PC.
Today I am using a new test system based on an Intel Core i7-3770K with the enhanced Ivy Bridge GPU and the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe which is a small form factor motherboard, very popular with users looking for a powerhouse Z77 HTPC. I am going to be featuring the setup in a few reviews and decided to make this my first.
I do want to point out that since I want this to be a bit more generally applicable than to just those with the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe, I decided to use a Medialink USB Bluetooth 4.0 adapter. This can be applied to just about any PC out there, and as a bonus is one of the best adapters for compatibility with Windows 7. For $20 is is on the pricier side, but it has consistently good reviews and I really do not like worrying about compatibility. I think all you actually need for this to work is a Bluetooth 2.1 EDR transceiver but for $20, I decided to just get a Bluetooth 4.0 device.
Also, it should be noted that you will need an Apple Magic Trackpad for this sure that seems obvious, but it is expensive, with the Magic Trackpad around $70.
The first step in all of this is to get Bluetooth installed. A lot of machines these days will have the Bluetooth drivers pre-installed if the machine comes with Bluetooth as a feature. For example, the ASUS installation media comes with Bluetooth drivers on the installation media so if your Bluetooth stack is already installed, you can skip this portion.
The Medialink USB Bluetooth 4.0 adapter comes with an installation CD. Simply pop in this media and run the installation wizard. This is a very important step because you want this installed before you try installing the Apple Magic Trackpad driver under Windows 7.
Getting the Apple Magic Trackpad Windows 7 Driver
Once the Bluetooth stack is installed, the next step is to get an Apple Magic Trackpad for Windows 7 driver. There is good news and bad news on this front. The bad news is that the driver is not as simple to get to as many other drivers out there. This is not going to be similar to installing a Logitech mouse for example. The good news is that there is no need to hack a driver, go to a site of ill repute or something like that. Instead, one can simply go to http://support.apple.com/downloads/ then search for the appropriate Boot Camp update for the version of Windows they are using, for most this will be: Boot Camp Software Update 3.2 for Windows 64 bit and for others this will be Boot Camp Software Update 3.2 for Windows 32 bit. Note, there is a v3.3 of the Boot Camp update out there, but I had an issue using this with an older setup and v3.2 works fine.
You will notice that double clicking the archive does not work. This is fine. After you download the appropriate Apple Boot Camp version, you next need to extract using 7-Zip.
There you will see BootCampUpdate64.msp again, extract this file with 7-Zip which will give you a directory full of files and sub-directories
There are a lot of options here but I usually open the BootCamp3200aToBootCamp3200 directory (without the # in front) directory which has the key driver we are looking for
Look for the Binary.AppleWirelessTrackpad_Bin and rename it appending .exe to the file. That will make it executable so you can then simply install the drivers through the executable. At this point you can turn the Apple Magic Trackpad on and have the wireless trackpad pair with the Windows 7 PC (if you need a passcode it should be 0000.) After you are done, the Apple Magic Trackpad will show up as a mouse.
With the drivers installed, there are a few limitations to the Apple Magic Trackpad versus some other wireless trackpads. First and foremost, not all of the gestures we are used to in Apple OS X are available in Windows 7. You can right click, left click, two finger right click and two finger scroll up/ down but other gestures are not available. One other major disadvantage I see with the Apple Wireless trackpad over a conventional trackpad is that the batteries cannot be recharged easily. For all of Apple’s industrial design prowess, it seems odd that there is not a small magnetic charging station like the Mobee Magic Bar (I want to try one of these.) I have been using this setup for a few weeks now and am still on my first battery, so this is not a daily recharge proposition, but it is something to think about. With all that said, I have very much been enjoying the Apple Magic Trackpad with my Windows HTPC.