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Tablet, Touch, and Windows 7 RC



With Microsoft’s release of Windows 7 RC to the MSDN and TechNet community, lots of folks have been busy downloading, burning, and installing. Immediately after coming home from the hospital yesterday, I skipped a much needed nap and much more necessary shower to get Windows 7 RC installed on my recently repaired Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC.  I had to send my XT in (twice!)  to get repaired due to the digitizer firmware getting all messed up as a result of some messed up driver installs and beta testing Windows 7. Tip: Don’t go back and forth between official and beta digitizer drivers. Stick with one or the other, otherwise you risk seriously messing up the firmware on your digitizer. Needless to say, that experience did nothing to improve my overall impression of the Dell Latitude XT and N-Trig digitizers.

So what is the touch experience like under Windows 7 RC? I wouldn’t know because N-Trig has yet to release Windows 7 RC multi-touch digitizer drivers yet. Their current build for Windows 7 Beta 1 offered a great touch experience (while I had it working), although it did not support pen.

Once N-Trig releases their new multi-touch digitizer drivers for Windows 7 RC, I’ll take a look at their release notes and make a decision about whether to go down that road or wait for another build. Until then, I’ll be using the official N-Trig Multi-Touch digitizer drivers from Dell’s support site. On a related note: Hp, Dell, and N-Trig, I’m counting on you to make your multi-touch digitizer drivers for the tx2, XT, and XT2 Windows 7 logo compliant. Early adopter owners like me  are expecting the FULL multi-touch experience that Windows 7 is offering – nothing less will be accepted. I want pan scrolling, zooming, rotating, and a cherry on top of that sundae, ok?

Regarding my Windows 7 RC install the Dell XT: I did a clean install, which, like Warner, I always recommend. The only thing I had to download was Dell’s Quickset, which enabled rotation. Other updates like video drivers and tablet buttons automatically came down via Windows Update. I have not noticed any new stuff, except the new awesome desktop themes – I love the new art. Boot time is really fast, inking is as smooth as ever, and overall program launching is pretty darn snappy. Windows 7  simply rocks and feels like a system I will want to implement for all of my business clients. My business clients are still running Windows XP Professional.

Personally speaking, I have moved over all of my files from my MacBook Pro to the Latitude XT, and will be using Windows 7 RC full time until the official version comes out. It will be nice to go back to a thin and light mobile computer. Microsoft is really hitting their stride and looks to reclaim a lot of credability.



  1. Antimatter

    05/01/2009 at 8:46 pm

    Rob, can you comment on where touch scrolling went in windows media center? I was enjoying that in the beta, but it doesn’t seem to work in the RC. Did they turn it off by default or remove it entirely?

    Also panning options are still locked and hidden as before. I thought this was supposed to be feature complete.

  2. Rob Bushway

    05/01/2009 at 9:28 pm

    I’m not sure about media center.

    I believe panning is a Windows 7 logo compliant feature. If it isn’t panning, then that digitizer driver isn’t windows 7 logo compliant. doesn’t mean it won’t get logo compliant, just that what we are experiencing now on said device isn’t.

  3. Alex Danvy

    05/02/2009 at 7:33 am

    Hi Rob,
    I installed Windows 7 on my Dell Latitude XT and did not get the video driver from Windows Update. Obliged to get it Dell Support. I sometimes get black flicker just like early Windows Vista drivers.

  4. Adam

    05/02/2009 at 10:00 am

    drivers messing up a firmware? please tell me youre joking!
    its probably just a defective digitizer that was never fixed properly.
    its either that, or you meant firmware all along, because yes, constanly screwing with firmwares can mess things up if the update fails (like in a BIOS)

  5. Rob Bushway

    05/02/2009 at 10:19 am

    @adam – I’m not joking at all. With N-Trig driver updates, they also update the firmware on the digitizer to turn on / off functionality.

  6. AP

    05/02/2009 at 2:38 pm

    Dell gave me a new XPS because if failed after 3 repairs. I remember reading somewhere that there is rule that if computer is not fixed after 3 repairs it is considered lemon and you are entitled for a new one. So if your XT goes in for one more repair and its not fixed you might get a new XT. If you complain loud enough they may give you a new or an outlet XT2.

  7. Adam

    05/03/2009 at 12:51 am

    N trig is so at fault here. if their ‘drivers’ also update firmware… they should have some kind of dual bios.
    N-trig just made my list. bad bad bad BAD design!

  8. bluespapa

    05/03/2009 at 10:42 am

    N-Trig was counting on early adopters to spread the word about their new system, and their lack of support while working with the largest computer companies, Dell and HP, seems pretty inexcusable.

    I also have to say that my experience trying to get Vista up on a Samsung Q1 was an exercise in exasperation. That wasn’t even a beta. Having lost work on betas in the past, and lost endless time and most of my mind on upgrading an operating system, I can no longer think of myself as an early adopter. Good luck, brave souls.

  9. Alex Danvy

    05/04/2009 at 5:19 am

    I actually have two problem using Windows 7 RC on my Dell XT :
    – Mouse cursor frequently disappear. I have to touch the screen to get it back
    – I can’t use up and down key on some web pages. Page up and page down work

  10. Aaron

    05/04/2009 at 2:31 pm

    I have the beta Windows 7 RC Drivers :) The difference is like night and day. I wish I could give them to you but I would get in lots of trouble. I can’t wait for this platform to go mainstream. Win7 plus multitouch drivers pretty much fix every complain I’ve had about the XT.

  11. Jeff

    05/05/2009 at 6:54 am

    If you have the drivers, do you also know when they might be released?

  12. Aaron

    05/05/2009 at 7:07 am

    I wish I knew myself. I’m not part of the group that deals with this. I only have access to download. Even if you had them right now the only apps that support multi-touch are a few that come with windows. My guess is that developers won’t start to release anything until around the time that Win 7 goes commercial.

  13. Colm

    05/05/2009 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve done a clean install of the RC on my Latitude XT, and installed the N-Trig Beta drivers- they don’t do anything at all! No tray applet, no touch of any kind, and they install a service that points nowhere (<\srvany.exe). Given the danger descibed, what do people suggest I do to get back some touch functionality? What is the N-TRIG position on this? Are they aware that these drivers appear to not work at all on the RC? Very frustrated, especially since touch was working, and I’ve been putting up with no pen for the duration of the Windows 7 testing.

    I second Alex Danvy’s post about the arrow up and down keys, though I have yet to install today’s KB970858, not that I think that will be relevant.

  14. Colm

    05/07/2009 at 4:41 am

    Proper N-TRIG drivers, pen and multi-touch experience working well for the first time since I tried Windows 7. Enjoying it so far.

    Still having the issue with up and down keys in IE- am investigating further.

  15. speckery

    05/09/2009 at 1:52 am


    i just installed win 7 rc with the latest drivers from ntrig site (duo sense multitouch) on my XT…
    the pbm is that it doesn t work at all on the media center…
    i saw the fantastic demo of the new mce touch interface, but on the xt with latest ntrig drivers: it s crap!

    perhaps i forgot something?

    before drivers install, in my system parameters page, it was specified: pen and single touch, now it is specified pen and multitouch for ten points.

    why the mediacenter doesn t work in touch mode???

  16. speckery

    05/09/2009 at 2:35 am


    i had to uninstall previous version of ntrig, reboot, and re install last drivers, as it is specified on this site.
    and now it works very well!

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