Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows natively supports a lot of hardware. For hardware not directly or completely supported you'll need to take a couple of additional steps.
I am currently using a Dell Latitude laptop that I purchased second hand. It had no OS on it at the time (and therefore no documentation) and I installed all software from scratch. Currently running Windows XP pro.The machine has the traditional dual stick and touch pad combo. What I would like to know, is there a way via the software to disable the touch pad? I find it gets in the way more often than not and the stick is far more convenient to use. It is especially annoying when I use an external mouse. If I bump the touch pad, I loose mouse control for a few moments.
I have tried going into mouse settings via the control panel, but there is nothing to show that it recognizes more than one pointing device.
Windows supports an amazing amount of hardware right out of the box, but it can't support everything. That may mean that some hardware works, but not all the features are available.
The solution's typically fairly easy.
The stock answer is to go to the manufacturer of the hardware you're dealing with, and see if they have drivers specifically for it. Normally those drivers will include additional functionality not present in the generic drivers that come with Windows.
In your case I would search the Dell website for drivers specific to your laptop. Dell does a good job of keeping drivers on their web sites for most of their models. I'd expect that they will add the functionality you're looking for. Start here at at the Dell Support Site.